According to experts, the world will generate 463 exabytes of data per day come 2025. So you know, 463 exabytes is equivalent to 463 billion gigabytes.
A massive chunk of all that data, in turn, gets stored in media devices, including disk drives and the cloud.
So, unless you’re careful, you could quickly deplete your computer’s hard drive space. That’s especially true if you have tons of duplicate files.
Fortunately, a duplicate file finder can help you locate all those unnecessary copies. Some of these programs can even delete unwanted replicas stored in your drives.
To that end, we created this guide detailing what you need to know about duplicate file finders. Read on to discover what these apps are and why they’re the fastest way to find duplicates.
What Is a Duplicate File Finder?
A duplicate file finder is a program that uses an algorithm to look for duplicate files. Its core function is to scan for exact replicas of original files. After the scan, the software then displays all the originals with their duplicates.
From there, you can choose to delete all the duplicates or keep at least one copy.
Where Do Duplicates Come From in the First Place?
According to a 2019 study, 92.7% of consumers backed up the data in their computers. Unfortunately, though, 65.1% of them still experienced data loss. Such losses occurred due to accidental deletions, hardware issues, or software problems.
That’s why experts recommend creating at least three versions of data for backup. That means you should have three copies of each of your most important files. The two duplicates should then be somewhere else other than your primary disk drive.
Creating backups of your backups, however, can result in a multitude of duplicates. Forgetting to overwrite old backups can also be a culprit behind these replicas. The same goes if you choose to keep previous copies of backups you created.
It’s also possible to create duplicates by downloading files several times. You may have also moved the same files from an external source to your computer twice or more times.
Duplicates can also arise from creating one or more copies for edits. For instance, suppose you made copies of original image files so that you can edit them. If you forget to delete the replicas, then they’ll remain on your computer as duplicates.
Why Should You Delete Duplicate Files?
Always keep in mind that a duplicate file mimics the exact size of the original one. As such, the more duplicate files in your computer, the less available storage space you have.
Either way, those duplicates can add up to megabytes, even gigabytes of used storage. That, plus all the other data you have in your computer, can deplete its available storage space. If that happens, you can expect to encounter error messages about your drive being full.
From there, your computer may fail to download and install critical updates. After all, operating system updates and patches do require a lot of storage space.
That failure to install OS updates, in turn, can make your device lag or crash. Worse, it can make your computer vulnerable to malware. That can also heighten your risk of becoming a cyberattack victim.
For those reasons, it’s imperative to delete unnecessary duplicates on your computer. That can help free valuable space on your drive.
If you have a hard disk drive (HDD), make sure there’s always about 10% to 15% space available. If you have a solid-state drive (SDD), experts say it’s best to ensure 25% of it is accessible at all times.
Why Use Duplicate Finders Then?
A duplicate file finder is the fastest way to search, organize, and delete duplicates. It eliminates the need to search your entire drive for copies manually. Instead, all you need to do is launch the program and then make it scan your drives for duplicates.
At the very least, you can expect the program to show you files with the same names and sizes. It’ll also give you the exact location of the originals and the duplicates. You can then go into those folders or drives to delete the unwanted copies.
However, some finders are more powerful, displaying possible duplicates based on their content. For instance, you may have loads of text documents with the same content but different file names.
In that case, the file finder will compare their content to see how much of their content matches. If it meets a certain percentage threshold, the app may deem the other files as duplicates. You can then check the copies to confirm if they’re duplicates with a different file name.
Some file finders can even scan not only text-based files but images too! Meaning, you can delete similar-looking photos while keeping the best shots. Burst-shot pictures are perfect examples of such photos that look almost the same.
The more innovative file finders also work on audio, video, or audio and video files. So, if you have duplicate tracks or videos on your computer, these apps can locate them for you. Moreover, duplicate finders let you delete unnecessary copies right from the apps themselves.
Which Duplicate File Finders Should You Try?
Some of the top duplicate finders Mac users can rely on are Gemini 2, dupeGuru, and Duplicate Sweeper. You can check out this guide with new, fresh information and reviews of these apps.
As for duplicate file finders for Windows, these include CCleaner, AllDup, and dupeGuru. There’s also Auslogics duplicate file finder, which lets you restore accidentally deleted files.
Remove Duplicates to Free up Precious Space in Your Drive
There you have it, your ultimate guide on using a duplicate file finder on your Mac or Windows computer. Now you know that these apps offer the fastest way to locate and delete copies of files.
So, as early as today, give these programs a well-deserved try. The sooner you do, the sooner you can reclaim storage space that all those duplicate files only waste.
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