Do you have any idea how many duplicates you have on your computer? How many times have you bumped into the same file over and over again into multiple locations on your drive? I do not know how other people create duplicate files, but in my case, the most frequent reason for which this happens is that I tend to press the wrong key when moving files from one location to another (instead of "Move" shortcut I press "Copy" shortcut). Of course that this is just one answer as in the case of music files the mistake is even more frequent.
A friend of mine asked me why should he hunt down the dupes on the drive if he has enough space to do whatever he needs to do and he does not feel disturbed by their presence? As unusual as it may sound to some users, dupes have the ability of bringing your computer down to a crawl. The reasoning is simple: they are files, so they participate to disk fragmentation. They can also affect the registry as the same file has a double location in Windows Registry. Not to mention that they influence disk read/write activity.
They may not seem like much, but sometimes they can really make a difference in your computer's performance. Not to mention that you can never say that there is too much space on your disks (well, maybe you can say this right before you get accustomed to that free space and little by little you start adding files and filling it up).
In this case, Easy Duplicate Finder comes to the rescue. This little freebie works the same either on XP or Vista, there is a release for Windows 98 and also a portable version. The version compatible with Vista and XP comes wrapped in a setup of about 700KB and installation will take less than 2MB of disk space, so there is no concern here.
The interface is not at all plain and simple as one would expect, but the developer did not exaggerate the colors either. Suffice to look at the images below and you will notice the full compatibility with Vista's good looks.
Easy Duplicate Finder works in three steps and these are marked in the interface as well. This way there is no chance to mess it up. First of all you will have to select
the folders you wish to be scanned by application's engine for duplicate files. Don't worry, adding an entire volume will work just fine, but the process will just take longer to complete. Simply select desired location and then use "Add" button.
Although the application is quite simple, it is not that simple. You can configure it to search for a certain file type, set a minimum size of the files to be scanned, enable skipping zero-size items and system folders and other system files (SYS, OCX, DRV and DLL). So you can relax as the integrity of the system will not be affected.
Step number two involves a bit of waiting from your part and a lot of work for the application. This is where the truth comes out and all the files, originals and their duplicates, are displayed. The moment scanning process is complete you will be displayed with a brief log file presenting the number of checked files, number of items selected and the number of originals and duplicates detected.
The middle window (Step 2) of the application screen shelters all the dupes and originals rooted by Easy Duplicates finder. Additional information on the items includes name of the file, complete path, size and modification date. You will also be showed the duplicate group number of each number, although you should know that originals and dupes are one after another.
The context menu available for detected files provides options for removing unneeded files easier. However, I do not recommend the automatic elimination of the duplicate files as the software may not make the right decision. More options in the context permit accessing Properties sheet of selected item, open it in the associated program, open the containing folder and preserve either the oldest or newest item version in each duplicate group. Of course, you have the possibility of interfering and select the items you want to be dealt with in Step number 3.
At the bottom of this window there is displayed the total number of scanned files, number of duplicates detected and the space they take on disk (the same info is available for original files as well). In case you have selected some items their size will be automatically calculated and displayed.
The last stage in the operation involves dealing with selected items. All the options available are limited to de-selecting the items, moving them to a user-designated folder, rename them and delete them. There is no advanced setting for any of these options and file renaming allows only adding a prefix or suffix. You will even be given a live example of how the result will look like.
During our testing the application behaved unexpectedly. Even if changing the name and extension of the tested files Easy Duplicate Finder still managed to extract all the originals and their duplicates with no problems.
There is one little problem, though. It cannot make the difference between duplicates and original files. But this is normal if the files are exactly the same. However, I wish it took sides and decide that all the files in one of the folders are duplicates and the others are the originals. My logic tells me that the oldest files are the originals, right? Well, with Easy Duplicate Finder you can choose whichever files you deem to be dupes or originals.The Good
Extremely easy to use, Easy Duplicate Finder provides a three-step process to find the duplicate files in user-defined locations on the computer.
It integrates perfectly with Vista and works great on XP. Scanning process does not take long and it can also find "triplets".The Bad
It cannot make a difference between dupes and originals and you will have to select the files. If you have the same files in two different folders, Easy Duplicate Finder will mix them up.
The application does not allow the user appending additional files to an exclusion list.The Truth
During our testing, it performed beautifully and no matter how hard I tried to trick it, it always matched the dupes and originals.
It is free and extremely easy to use and despite minor shortcomings, it really deserves a try.Here are some snapshots of the application in action: