Tidy Up!, Find Duplicates and More

very good
key review info
application features
  • search for duplicate folders
  • (6 more, see all...)

I've been seeing the duplicate scan applications for some time now, but I have always been firmly convinced that I have no duplicate files. After all, that sort of thing only happens to people with messy computing habits and those who download everything they see. It turns out that I was quite mistaken, each one of my hard drive having heaps of duplicate files. Furthermore, the applications for dealing with these, such as Tidy Up! turned out to be far more complex than I envisioned.

What it does

Tidy Up! is an all around computer cleaning application. It helps you locate duplicate items, regardless of their kind and gives you lots of choices when it comes to dealing with them. Very flexible in both aspects of the task, it also has great integration with Apple's lifestyle applications and special functions for them.

Working in Tidy Up! is done in two phases, first locating files and then deciding what to do with them.

Find it

When it comes to locating files, Tidy Up! is not simply a one-minded tool that will only search for duplicate items. In fact, it is one of the most comprehensive search applications that I've seen.

First order of business is to decide where you're looking. Here you can simply make big selections such as hard drives, or you can go in specific places by selecting multiple smaller folders or a big one and telling the application to omit certain subfolders. Also, you have the choice of special locations such as iTunes and iPhoto libraries as well as Mail mailboxes, not to mention caches, logs and various other things that need pruning from time to time.

Once you've established where you are looking, it's time to decide for what. Like many other applications, Tidy Up! lets you create complex rules by mixing various criteria. The big difference here is that the program ads several options that you won't see in other places. The first is the 'same', which will look for items that match in terms of that specific criteria, the second is the 'not' which will exclude items that match that specific criteria. Moreover, Tidy Up! also adds special criteria that you can choose from things such as the information found in the ID3 tags of MP3 files, or the more exotic preferences with no parent application, documents without creator applications, as well as compressed files.

All in all, the search options are simply marvelous and should help you locate just about anything, not just those pesky duplicates.

Deal with it

Once the search has begun, Tidy Up! will start showing the results. From here, you can view the culprits in various ways, as well as decide what to do with them.

Much like the locations in the search window, the left pane of the results window can help you narrow down the results by location, as well as other criteria that you might find useful. You can create both simple and smart baskets to use in order to sort out the results and you can also decide to keep these around for any future searches that you might make. The results themselves are smartly handled, with each of the up to eight locations having its own different color label and duplicated, being ordered into groups to better see them. Furthermore, items can be flagged and they can be ordered according to the Finder label.

The bottom of the results list shows the location of the file, similar to the way the find in the Finder behaves.

It is important to note that while you can move files to and from baskets, nothing will actually happen to them outside the application. This gives you a virtual sandbox where you can mess around with the results before actually having to commit any changes to the files themselves. Afterwards, you can move, copy, delete, burn or export these baskets. The export is particularly nice since it will output everything in a nice table that you can view anywhere and you can customize exactly what information will be exported to your heart's desire.

Small things

Tidy Up! is full of small things, some that are great, some are a pain.

Amongst the good things, we have the tight integration with the lifestyle applications such as iTunes and iPhoto and the way the program will interact with these to complete tasks such as removing duplicates not only from your hard drive but also from the libraries. Also here are the smart basket options that let you easily select the songs with higher bitrates or the files that are older and the large preview.

Amongst the bad things is the inability to jump to a part of the result list by starting to type item names, the fact that you cannot easily locate the duplicate of a file if it is on another hard drive and the fact that the program is quite slow when working with big lists. In fact, the result list is the least likable aspect of the application, being slow and unwieldy.

The Good

Great for fining stuff, whether it's duplicates or just lost files. Also perfect for keeping iTunes, iPhoto and Mail clean.

The Bad

The results list is slow and hard to work with if you have a lot of hits, making general searcher unpractical.

The Truth

Good for far more than just finding duplicates, Tidy Up! is simply a great find and clean utility. The results list drags it back, as it practically forces you to work with small searches, but other than that, it works like a charm.

Here are some screenshots, click to enlarge:

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user interface 4
features 5
ease of use 5
pricing / value 3

final rating 4
Editor's review
very good
NEXT REVIEW: Tangerine!