It doesn’t matter how much storage you have on your computer, there comes a day when that storage becomes full. And though you can always upgrade the storage system on your computer, the smarter way would be to efficiently organize your files and folders.
The first step to organizing your files and folders is to make sure you get rid of any duplicate files. Duplicates can exist due to multiple downloads of the same file, editing a file and saving the edited version separately, or you create a copy on the Desktop for convenience and it is present at both locations.
Thankfully, finding and deleting duplicates is not a hassle and can be easily done. You can either use Windows Search, Command Prompt, or third-party software to do the hard work for you. For your ease of convenience, we have listed all of the methods so you can choose the one that suits you the best.
1. Using Search in File Explorer
This is the most simple and straightforward way to identify duplicates on the computer. Though it requires a little bit of extra work from your side, it’s preferred as it doesn’t require a third-party app.
First, open the File Explorer by double-clicking on the ‘This PC’ icon or by pressing the Windows+E keys together on your keyboard.
After that, if you wish to scan your complete storage at once, type the name/ part of the name for the file you believe might have duplicate copies in the search field. Once the search results are generated, you can compare the info for all the files that have the same name, date of creation, date of modification, and size.
If you wish to see more info for the files, click on the ‘View’ option and select the ‘Details’ option from the pane. The changes will reflect immediately. You can also try various other display styles that suit you the best.
In case you are not able to see files from a particular drive or folder, they might not be in your indexed directory. This basically means that your computer is not instructed to search in that location.
To modify indexed directories on your computer, click on the ‘Search Options’ and click on the ‘Change indexed location’ option. A separate window will appear on your screen.
After that, click on the ‘Modify’ button to proceed.
After that, if any of the drives is not selected, click on the checkbox preceding it. Otherwise, expand the drives by clicking on the ‘chevron’ and make sure all your folders are checked to ensure a thorough search.
Note: Indexing is a resource-hungry process and if you feel your PC has slowed down after adding folders/drives, revert to the original settings and head to the next step.
In case you are experiencing a PC slowdown after indexing or generally want faster results, you can opt for a targeted search where you simply search folder by folder so your PC has to sift through less number of files and in turn produces results faster.
To do so, navigate to the specific folder and repeat the search process as showcased above.
From the search results, you can compare all the files’ data. Then, right-click on the file and select the ‘Delete’ option.
2. Using the Command Prompt
The command prompt method can be useful when you know exactly where the duplicate files reside along with the part of the name of the file that has to be deleted. Though the Command Prompt method requires very specific prerequisites, it is one of the fastest methods to delete files.
Before you proceed, navigate to the folder using File Explorer and then right-click on it. Next, click on the ‘Copy as path’ option. Keep this path handy as it will be needed in the upcoming steps.
Now, head to the Start Menu and type Terminal to perform a search. Then, from the search results, right-click on the ‘Terminal’ tile and click on the ‘Run as administrator’ option.
After that, a UAC (User Account Control) window will appear on your screen. If you are not logged in with an admin account, enter the credentials for one. Otherwise, click on the ‘Yes’ button.
Now, on the Terminal window, click on the ‘chevron’ (downward arrow) and click on the ‘Command Prompt’ option. This will open the Command Prompt in a new tab.
Afterward, type or copy+paste the below-mentioned command and hit Enter to execute.
cd /d <copied folder path>
Note: Change the <copied folder path> placeholder with the actual path you copied earlier.
Then, type or copy+paste the below-mentioned command and hit Enter to execute. The first command mentioned below deletes files that have a particular suffix. The second command in the list deletes files with a specific prefix. The last command deletes files that have the predefined alphabet(s) in the file name.
del "* - <suffix>.<file extension>"
del "<prefix> *.<file extension>"
del "*<alphabet>*.<file extension>"
Note: Replace the placeholder(s) ‘<suffix>/<prefix>/<alphabet>/<file extension>‘ with the actual part of the file name and extension of the file.
Finally, press the Y key on your keyboard to confirm the deletion of the file from your system, if prompted.
3. Use a Third-Party App
If you do not like manually sifting through files using the Search option on Windows or when you do not know which exact folder contains duplicate files, using third-party software would be the most convenient option.
To showcase, we will use ‘Auslogics Duplicate File Finder’, the software that can scan your predefined areas or whole computer along with providing you the flexibility of categorized file types as well.
To download ‘Auslogics Duplicate File Finder’, head to www.auslogics.com/duplicate-file-finder and click on the ‘Download Now’ button.
Now, navigate to the directory where you downloaded the file and double-click on the .EXE file to run the installer.
Then, an UAC (User Account Control) window will appear on your screen. If you are not logged in with an admin account, enter the credentials for one. Otherwise, click on the ‘Yes’ button.
After that, click on the ‘Agree & Install’ button to commence the installation. If you wish to change the installation directory, click on the ‘ellipsis’ button and select the directory using File Explorer.
Then, click on the ‘Next’ button to proceed. The installation will commence and it will only take a few minutes to be complete.
Once the installation is complete, click on the ‘Finish’ button. This will launch the software on your system.
Once you are on the main screen, select the drives/folders by clicking on the checkbox preceding each drive/folder. After that, if you wish to find specific file types, select ‘Look for these file types only’ and then select file types by clicking on the individual checkbox. After that, click on the ‘Next’ button.
By default, the software will omit files that are smaller than 1 MB in size. If you wish to remove these criteria or define your own, you can change the value or uncheck the checkbox to disable it. You can also omit files larger than a particular size using the option provided. Once done, click on the ‘Next’ button.
In the next step, set the additional search parameters, such as skipping hidden files and folders, or skipping the sub-folders of selected directories. You can also select ‘Ignore File Names’ that will ignore the file name matches in the search. Similarly, when you enable the ‘Ignore File Dates’ option, it will ignore the file creation or modification matches during the search. Then, click on the ‘Next’ button.
Afterward, if you have a file name or a part of it, enter it in the text box after clicking on the radio button preceding the ‘File name contains the following’ option. Otherwise, click on the ‘Next’ button.
On the next screen, select what happens with the files that are to be deleted. Select the desired option by clicking on the radio button preceding the individual option. Finally, click on the ‘Search’ button.
Then, you will be able to see all the results. Now, click on the file to preview it, and click on the checkbox preceding it to select the file. If you wish to select all files, click on the chevron (downward arrow) on the ‘Select’ button. Then, click on the ‘Select All Duplicates in each Group’ option.
Finally, click on the ‘Delete selected files’ button. If you wish to change the deletion method, click on the chevron button and select the suitable option.
That’s it, you have successfully identified and deleted all the duplicate files on your computer using third-party software. Though there are many third-party apps that allow you to do so, ‘Auslogics’ comes out on top as it is lifetime free without any cap on file deletion along with being a lightweight program.
There you go, folks. You can easily identify and delete duplicate files on your computer using the methods mentioned above.