How do I Remove Duplicate Files?

Rhonda Rivera

There are essentially two ways to remove duplicate files: manually and automatically. Removing duplicate files manually involves searching for and deleting the files one by one. Automatic removal is performed by a duplicate file finder software program, which most operating systems do not have pre-installed. Sometimes, instead of automatically deleting all duplicates, duplicate file finders allow the user to pick and choose which files to remove, making the process both automatic and manual. Many duplicate file finders are advertising-supported adware, meaning installing the program might result in unwelcome pop-ups or frequent requests to purchase the program in full.

Removing duplicate files manually involves searching for and deleting the files one by one.
Removing duplicate files manually involves searching for and deleting the files one by one.

If there are few files to delete, it likely will not take long to remove duplicate files manually. When using a Microsoft® operating system, simply drag the file to the Recycle Bin to temporarily remove it. If you are certain the file is a duplicate that must be deleted, choose the Empty Recycle Bin option under File to permanently delete its contents. When using a Mac OS® computer, the process is similar but there is a garbage can icon instead of a recycle bin. No matter what operating system is being used, a temporarily deleted file can usually be recovered if the garbage or recycle bin was not emptied.

To automatically remove duplicate files, download and install a reputable duplicate file finder. There are a plethora of these programs available, especially for Windows® operating systems. Running the program will scan your computer for duplicate files. Depending on the complexity of the program, it will ask you to delete all duplicates or let you choose which to keep before removing the rest. This is the quickest way to find and delete a lot of duplicates, but there are some drawbacks; for example, the program might be advertising-supported software, or it must be purchased before deleting duplicates.

When looking for a file finder that will remove duplicate files, consider choosing one that is well-reviewed, especially if you have decided to purchase one. Also ensure that the program is compatible with the operating system you are using before downloading it. If you have chosen to purchase a duplicate file finder, try it before buying to avoid being stuck with a program you do not find helpful. While some programs come with a 14- to 30-day money-back guarantee, not all do, nor are they legally required to do so. You might also want to print the receipt, in case the program must be downloaded again later.

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Discussion Comments


Nice! I also use DuplicateFilesDeleter, which is super effective.


I'm on a Mac now, but I've been a Windows user before that. I used to manage my duplicates with Easy Duplicate Finder back then and was very pleased that it had a Mac version too.


I'm using the Duplicate Files Deleter and have recommended it to my friends through the years. It's a fast and easy fix to remove duplicates. --markbun


I have checked several duplicate finder programs, and the only one that works for me is easy duplicate finder. It found the most duplicates and surprisingly, also was the easiest to use. You don't often find a utility that is both easiest to use, and the best for the job. It has this Music tag mode that let me search my music library for songs by metatag you know that data that media players use to tell you song title and artist etc. I was surprised at how many copies of the same songs I had. In the end, I saved a ton of space, and reorganized my music.

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