Choosing the best duplicate file finder is not an easy task as there are many free and commercial tools. A good duplicate file finder should be present in the toolbox of every computer user as even the best kept system gets cluttered with data over time. This not only wastes valuable disk space, but also leads to a complete system slow down. Removing duplicate files can free up to 50% of disk space and improve system performance.
Which is the best duplicate file finder?
Choosing a duplicate finder software is a risky task as if you use a terrible one you might end up deleting valuable data that should not be removed. To remove redundant files with confidence you should carefully choose the proper tool first.
I will guide you here which critical elements you should look for when comparing different duplicate file finders in order to choose the one that will do the best job and help with the disk cleanup process.
File Comparison Method
The duplicate search algorithm is the key factor in judging the quality of a Duplicate File Finder. Make sure that the tool of your choice does not rely on file names or file size which is not a reliable measure. Make sure that the tool supports multiple search modes. It should be capable of identifying duplicates by checksum like CRC, MD5 (preferably as it is more accurate), byte-to-byte comparison, file name or similar file names, similar file content. Not all tools support searching for similar files and some of them are quite poor in that so make sure to test them on your files first.
Filtering Duplicate Files
Make sure that the tool of your choice supports filtering. You may decide to search only for .doc files for example or only for image files. You should be able to include or exclude certain types of folders and files based on type, location, size, name and so on.
Duplicate Files Report
Not all duplicate finder finder tools provide a detailed information about the duplicate files. A tool should be able to list file name, location, file size, dates, and similarity (if a similar file search mode is supported). The tool should be able to group files by two or more items that are duplicates.
A built-in preview is a big plus as it helps a lot to judge whether to keep or delete the file. You should choose a tool that provides a detailed report after the scan is finished as the report is where you will spend most of your time while reviewing results.
Duplicate File Resolution
Many duplicate file finders provide only the option to delete in order to get rid of the duplicate files. Make sure that there are more options to deal with the duplicate files that are located during the scan. You should look for a flexible one with options to move duplicate files in order to make a backup in other folder or disk until you decide whether to remove them permanently or not. Other options that you should require are in-application rename, open with the associated program, explore file location, moving files by preserving folder tree and so on.
After a thorough comparison using the guidelines above you should be able to choose the best duplicate file finder tool that suits your need. It is as simple as that.
If you still can not make up your mind you can try try the duplicate file finder that I am using for years now. It meets all the guidelines that I have pointed above and even more and I use it on removable drives and devices and network locations in order to keep files and folders organized.
If you have found another tool make sure that it also has protection for system files and folders as messing with those can lead to irreversible system failure. The company that develops that tools – MindGems is specialized in duplicate finders development more than 10 years and provides also dedicated duplicate image finder and duplicate mp3 finder tools that can find similar or duplicate image and audio files based on content comparison. I strongly recommend you to check them out during your research. There is a feature comparison table on every product section.