How to Find and Weed Out Duplicate Files

With all the music, photos, and other media checking in and out of our computer we're bound to run into some file management issues. Somehow and some way, duplicate copies of the same file end up scattered across our disk and start cramping our hard drive space (and style). Here are some affordable solutions for both PC and Mac users...

Mac

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Gemini
Price: $4.99
Details:This just released product, from one of our favorite developers Macpaw, features graphics so sweet it makes finding duplicates fun. You simply drag and drop a folder into the app window and then Gemini does his magic — finding duplicate files and folders. It's always a little scary deleting files, but Gemini assures that its scan algorithms makes sure at least one instance of the file is safe after duplicates are shredded. The app also has a data visualiser that lets you see what files are taking up the most space, so you can take care of the heavy hitters first. The program will not remove files present only within your iTunes, iPhoto or Aperture libraries however, to avoid possible corruption.

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Photo Sweeper
Price: $4.99
Details: This utility is a little less comprehensive than Gemini, but will do the job if your main issue is photo management. The Photo Sweeper app has a slick interface with photo browsing functionality. Use the speedy Duplicates Only mode to just find duplicates photos lurking on your Mac or even in your iPhoto or Aperture libraries. Or take your searching a step farther by finding not just exact duplicates, but photos grouped by similarity to help you with editing or proofing. We like how the interface has a clear picture of the file path when doing comparisons.

Windows PC

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Fast Duplicate File Finder
Price: FREE
Details:Another popular option for PC is Fast Duplicate Finder. The free version of this product can quickly find exact duplicates and allows for files to be moved, or renamed directly in the results list. We like the option it has for saving search results and projects so you can more quickly rerun checks for hard drive maintenance when necessary. This program also prevents system files and folders from showing up in the search fields as a safety net for disk corruption. There is a PRO version available that is a more fully featured if you like the experience with the FREE version.

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Duplicate Finder for Lightroom
Price: ~$13 (FREE trial)
Details:If you use Lightroom, one of your main gripes may be the lack of support for finding duplicate photos. Check out this free plugin that finds duplicates with EXIF data so photos that have had edits or scaling adjustments, but are otherwise identical, can also be found. You can search as much as your entire catalog, or as little as a single image.

Have any other favorite duplicate finder programs? Let us know in the comments.

(Images: 1. Chris Perez, 2. MacPaw, 3. Chris Perez, 4. Mindgems, 5. MAG)