©2021 Donald R. Snow - Last updated 2021-02-21
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This is Part 3 of a series about searching for files on your computer and will discuss finding duplicate non-image files.  Another class will deal with finding duplicate image files.  After you find them, you can eliminate them since they clog up your hard drive(s) or you may want to save more than one for a backup; but then you can decide.  Methods and free programs will be discussed to help with these tasks.  File maintenance takes time and effort, but needs to be done.  The notes for this class and related articles, all with active internet links, are on Don's webpage .


  1. Instructor is Donald R. Snow ( ) of Provo and St. George, Utah.
  2. These notes, with active internet links and other related articles, are on Don's website .
  3. Tips:  (1)  Easy to put an icon on your desktop for these notes or any other webpage; just drag the icon from in front of the address in your browser to your desktop.  (2)  To open a link from here in another tab, but keep your place in these notes, hold down the Control key while clicking the link.
  4. The problem for today:  How to find and eliminate duplicate non-image files on your computer..

  6. Part 1 of this class series discussed finding files with specified words in the file names.  Part 2 dealt with finding files with specified text inside. 
  7. This class, Part 3, deals with finding duplicate files and these can have the same name or different names. 
  8. Consistent file-naming simplifies most file search tasks, so you can tell what's in the file without opening it; my file naming system was discussed in other classes  
  9. To be sure your computer shows the file extensions, e.g. .odt, .doc, docx, .txt, .jpg, etc., see the notes for Part 1 of this series.
  10. Be careful of deleting files and, if in doubt, don't delete it; it may be better NOT to use a program that deletes files automatically; the programs discussed in this class find the dups, but then allow you to select what to delete or save  
  11. Computers work faster when the hard drive(s) are not full; File Explorer in Windows 10 can show the % your hard drive(s) are filled  
  12. WinDirStat -- -- free program to analyze your hard drive(s) and show you what's taking up the space
  13. For files you want to keep, but don't use very often, you can move them off your computer and onto a large external harddrive; these ares like big flash drives and plug into USB ports and are not expensive

  15. Programs in a later section find all dup files, regardless of file name, but for those with the same name, the method described here is usually easier and faster 
  16. EVERYTHING is free and available from  -- it finds all files anywhere on your computer with the search characters in the names that you enter 
  17. To use it to find and eliminate duplicate files with the same name, enter the search terms and highlight the files it finds that you want and drag them to a single folder; as they are moved, if any have the same names as ones already moved, it asks what you want to do; for those click "Let Me Decide"; since you know the name is the same, check the size, date, etc., and if it is the same file and you only want one file, put the check in left box and it will overwrite the file already there; if they are different or you want to save both, put checks in both boxes and it saves both and adds (2), (3), ..., etc., to the other file names
  18. This also helps get related files in the same folder, but don't use this method if you don't want to move the files  

    2. Reasons for the same file with other names are things like renaming one, but not the other, or copying a file to use elsewhere and renaming it; for example, I sometimes form folders of sample files for classes and rename the copies, so I don't destroy the originals.   
    3. The programs here will find all such dups whatever their names; these are just a few of the many such programs and have features that I like
    4. Running one of these programs on your entire hard drive(s) may take too long and give too many dups to work with, so start small on only one or two folders
    5. DUPLICATE CLEANER FREE -- available from -- the free version is a "lite"version of their Pro version, but works well for most of us; allows  selecting the folder(s) to search; shows the duplicates in groups, regardless of names; has boxes to check to save or delete dup files and a very helpful file selection panel with many ways to select what you want to delete or save including a check to see if you have inadvertently marked all files in some group so you don't eliminate all copies; can move deleted files to Trash or to another folder before trashing them; takes time and effort to select what to delete; good file names help immensely in file selection for deletion or retention; very helpful program 
    6. Auslogics Duplicate File Finder -- -- Many people seem to like and recommend this one; easy to use, but slow, and groups are not highlighted; if it's taking too long, click Stop (button is on right) and click "Search Again" (at top) and start with fewer folders checked; has boxes to check by hand to delete or save files when finished finding dups, but only has a few selection methods to mark these to save or delete   
    7. Glary Utilities -- -- we will discuss this whole program in another class on keeping your computer healthy; includes a dup finder that works OK, but only shows one dup group at a time with boxes to check to save or delete files; program is very useful for other things  

    9. Be careful when deleting files and, if in doubt, don't delete it.
    10. File maintenance takes time, but need to be done.  It's like cleaning out all the "stuff" we have accumulated, so our kids don't have to go through it all.
    11. See other class notes and articles on my website for more info about this.
    12. The last class in this series will discuss duplicate image files, photos, etc.

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