Duplicate Cleaner 1.3 is a tremendously helpful program for anyone wishing to tidy up a PC by identifying and deleting duplicate files. Though simple to use, we don't recommend this for novices, because of the potential damage from mistakenly removing needed files.
Duplicate Cleaner's interface is all business. Although fairly straightforward, some odd interface choices may throw you, such as requiring you to click Select in order to see the types of available files rather than including those types in the drop-down list already visible. The program gives you three basic options for searching: folder(s), file type(s), and filter criteria. We scanned a single drive (about 12,000 folders), looking for audio files and using the CRC Checksum method for comparison. The scan took just under 6 minutes and found 19 groups of duplicates comprising 43 individual files. You can also search for files with the same file name, size, or date--or any combination thereof--and limit the search to files within a particular size range.
Once the application returns a list of results, you then have to decide what to do with the dupes. The application allows you to tick the boxes of the items you want to modify and perform an action-- Delete/Delete the Recycle Bin, Move to Folder, or Create Hardlinks (on NTFS systems only). Duplicate Cleaner can also clean up orphaned files and empty folders if you so desire. A Selection Assistant allows you to select and deselect files en masse using various criteria, such as a file name pattern match or file size.
Here is where the user interface may trip up novices or even cautious advanced users: you must first select the files you want to modify, then click a button that says Remove Selected. Files aren't deleted at this stage, however; the program opens a new window giving you the Delete/Move/Create Hardlinks options. In the end, the application tries to be safe: whatever your choice, it will ask you to confirm. If you seem to be doing something odd--such as deleting all files within a group rather than just the ones that are duplicates--the application will again ask you to confirm.
The application offers a few safety measures directly accessible from an Options file menu. Items such as Protect C\Windows and C:\Program files, etc., are selected by default. Such files will still show up in a duplicate list, and you will not see this in action until you go through with confirming the deletion of such a file. We would have preferred that protected files didn't show up in the search results at all. Still, we found that, overall, Duplicate Cleaner is an excellent optimization tool for intermediate to advanced users.