Last Updated: 24 September, 2020
- my laptop hardrive was almost full, I was down to 5Gb free out of 688Gb
- I was about to lose the bonus dropbox* space I got with my mobile phone two years ago so was over my limit
- I’m backing up my laptop to Crashplan* and the fewer files I have the soon it will complete
Where do duplicate files come from?
In my experience duplicates appear through a combination of laziness, and not having a consistent way of doing a task, for example, you downloaded a file and then downloaded it again a month later because it was easier than finding the previous one, or you transferred photographs from your camera to your computer, but left them on the camera so transferred them again with your newer photos.
The biggest culprit for me resulted from an external hard drive failure. I was able to recover some files through recovery software, then someone suggested connecting it to a different laptop and I managed to recover about 80% of the drive but with some overlap with the recovery software. I’ve also worked on a few projects which have involved shared dropbox folders that are downloaded to my laptop and often contain copies of photos I have filed elsewhere in my photo folder.
My priority has been to reduce the files on my laptop, although the duplicate files have often been on different devices:
- electronic hard drive
- desktop computer (this stores ours photos and I shouldn’t have any on my laptop, but unfortunately reality doesn’t match the plan)
Software to find and delete duplicates
This is my favourite software, although it is more of an app as it doesn’t install any files on to your computer and can be run from a USB stick. You select the folders you want to search and then it lists all the duplicate files showing where they are stored. Although it is a simple text display you can open the files or the storage folder to see more details on the files. You tick the files you want to delete and they are removed from your computer (they don’t go into the recycle bin, so if you don’t feel brave enough copy them to a different folder instead of deleting).
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links which means I earn some money (or space from dropbox) if you purchase something after using my links, however it does not cost you anything extra