Zap dupes with Duplicate File Finder

Find and remove duplicates without deleting critical system files with this free tool.

Once upon a time, duplicate files were so evil that no expense and effort was spared to hunt them down, terminate them, and erase every trace of their existence. Hard drives grew, and duplicate files became less of a problem. Then came digital cameras, MP3s, and video, and suddenly duplicate files are once again threatening to take over the world, but today's duplicates are sometimes bigger than entire hard drives were back when dupes were space-sucking villains.

Fortunately, the duplicate file finders have kept pace, and today's tools are far better than yesterday's at identifying and filtering duplicates without removing the wrong files. Duplicate File Finder from AshiSoft not only does its job well, but it's also easy to use. It works with 32-bit and 64-bit Windows versions and requires Microsoft .NET Framework 4.

When Duplicate File Finder's installer finished, the program's quick start Web page opened in our browser. This page offers step-by-step instructions illustrated by clear, annotated screenshots. Duplicate File Finder's interface is attractive, with lots of Aero touches, but all business, too. We started with the Search Options tab, specifying how we wanted to configure our search. Next we added a Path on the Location tab and then added those folders we wanted the tool to skip to the Exclusions tab. A Protected Folders tab let us protect specific folders from accidental deletion--a good idea, especially if you use a system cleaner or other tools that delete files. Our search finished quickly, and the results appeared in the Results List with location, date added, size, and other file information. We could also view duplicates in a preview pane to make sure they were in fact duplicates and not just similar in some way. Once we'd selected all our duplicates, we could take several kinds of action, including marking, moving, copying, and deleting files.

Duplicate File Finder searched not only our hard drives but also removable drives, so it can find duplicates on a memory stick or thumbdrive before you transfer them to your PC. It also searches networked PCs. It's easy to use, fast, flexible, and offers lots of help.

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