Keeping iTunes free of duplicates and dead links is much less painful with help from tools like MarkelSoft's Cleaner for iTunes. Cleaner's job is to search quickly through your iTunes installation, library, and links and automatically delete duplicate files and dead links. It saves deleted files in a folder for review, too. Cleaner is configured to be the fastest and easiest way to clean up your iTunes library, and its scanning process certainly lives up to the billing. But the free trial version of this shareware that we tried is limited to five file deletions, so we can't say if it deletes files as quickly, though common sense suggests the hard work is in the scanning. If you remove Cleaner, the trial limit leaves your music library intact. Cleaner for iTunes runs in Windows XP to 8 and requires Apple iTunes to do its thing.
We had iTunes up and running when we launched Cleaner for iTunes, but you can run Cleaner without iTunes running first and Cleaner will open it. Cleaner's trial version includes a nag screen and an optional splash screen followed by a scan progress bar. Per user request, the latest release of Cleaner now prompts users before deleting files and dead links; an improvement, but we'd still like the ability to deselect items prior to cleaning. Still, Cleaner's program folder includes a subfolder for deleted files so you can restore any items you want to. Our music folder holds just under 4GB of (mostly) MP3s, with duplicates here and there due to past mergers, backups, and other activity; but Cleaner's scan took little time. As we noted, we can't really comment on the deleting phase in the limited trial release. We haven't mentioned Cleaner's graphical user interface because there doesn't seem to be one; it works in the background, apparently (but it does have Command Line options). Cleaner keeps log files in its program folder, too.
Cleaner isn't expensive, but freeware duplicate file finders that can do much the same job aren't hard to find. But if you have a large, unruly, and ever-changing iTunes library, Cleaner's fast, automatic, behind-the-scenes housekeeping might be exactly what you need.
Editors' note: This is a review of the trial version of Cleaner for iTunes 1.1.