Duplicate file finders were critical back in the pre-gigabyte era, but in some ways, today's terabyte-capacity drives make the problem just as bad. Not for space reasons, obviously, but because duplicates clog up your file system with redundant data that your computer still has to process. Duplicate files can make your searches take longer and return confusing or contradictory results. Enough duplicates together can even cause your system to run more slowly. And if you boot from a solid-state drive (SSD), particularly a smaller one, you're probably just as concerned about duplicates as users were back when hard drives were measured in megabytes. InDeep's Exact Duplicate Finder is portable freeware that searches your system for duplicates and compares them byte for byte to make sure you remove only actual duplicate files and not near-misses.
Exact Duplicate Finder is portable, so we extracted the executable file and clicked it to start the program. A compact user interface is anchored by a button labeled Paths and a tree view displaying all our drives. Creating and saving Paths tells Exact Duplicate Finder where to search. We used add-and-remove arrows to add Paths to the main view for searching. We could also browse to add paths and search by file type. Of course, you can search entire drives, too, but being specific saves time when you're pretty sure where duplicates are lurking.
We added our C drive's Music folder and the similar folder on our USB drive, and then pressed Search. Exact Duplicate Finder is thorough, and our scan took several minutes (another reason to be specific). Sorted results appeared in the Paths view under Groups; clicking on a Group displayed selected files. We just needed to click a file to preview it and verify its contents, and click Remove to delete any actual duplicates.
Maybe you boot from an SSD and need to reclaim disk space. Maybe you're careless with your MP3 collection and don't need four identical copies of "Surfin' Bird." Maybe you're like us, and the thought of duplicates irritates your sense of order. For all those reasons and probably many more, tools like Exact Duplicate Finder remain essential.