Duplicate files and managing them.

by Captain Walker

Categories: Technology

Well, for most people I know they don’t care much about this. People often don’t know and therefore don’t care about duplicate files on their computers. I’m not here to cure them – they can remain blissfully ignorant.

duplicate filesThose who want to know can read on. Duplicate files happen – that’s a matter of fact. Over time they can accumulate and soak up much hard drive (aka hard disk) space. In brief, duplicates happen simply because at some point you (or ‘one’ if you prefer such language) will forget that you had a file and you’ll file it again, in a different folder on your computer. That’s if you’re as organised as me, and have many folders and subfolders on your computer. On one day you may have thought that a file should go under BUSINESS>PURCHASES>INVOICES but a few weeks later you download the same file – having forgotten that you downloaded it before – and you then think it should go under ACADEMIC>CONFERENCES>RECEIPTS. And that’s fine if you want to duplicate it like that, taking up say another 100KB of drive space. However when it comes to photos and video files similar scenarios, can add up easily to 10GB of drive space over a few months. Of course if you don’t take many photos or video material with your ditsy un-smartphone  (because you can’t afford it, don’t want to afford it, or only ‘need’ a phone to make voice calls or whatever), you can take off now. For those who remain interested, read on.

You only discover how much space is wasted, if you happen to check. But how do you check? To start off, keep in mind this is not a tutorial – which would normally cost £400/hr. That means you’re getting this on the cheap and will have to find your own initiative to check. There are several duplicate file finders out on the internet (GIYF). However, I’ve found Duplicatefilefinder to be the easiest and most reliable. It has features to recover stuff if you accidentally deleted something. Some software out there is free but they come with no guarantees of good levels of testing. Errrh.. somebody wants to know – I’m sure – why is this a big issue, the whole hard-drive space thing. Ok – I’ll distract myself a little to explain the bleeding obvious i.e. if your hard drive becomes too full with duplicates, then your computer may slow down and/or you’re simply gonna run out of space one day. And that’s fine if you don’t care and have sufficient funds to just buy another bigger drive or purchase another external drive or sumik.

Over the last few weeks I’ve been using Duplicatefilefinder to weed out loads of files that have been duplicated over the years. I’ve now deleted some 500GB of files on a 4 TB hard drive. I’ve discovered that part of the problem was caused by my not using Robobasket efficiently. On some occasions I sorted files by ‘Date Modified’ and at other times I’ve sorted them by ‘Date Created’. So for most of my photos I’ve decided to sort on ‘Date Taken’ to avoid confusion. Yes – I know there are applications that will weed out specifically duplicate photos only. I’m not interested – thank you very much.

A bit of a warning and disclaimer:  if you mess up  and lose files permanently using the above or any other similar software out there, kindly sue yourself or the people who created the software. This above tip comes with no warranty or responsibility to you, or your property.


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