Duplicate File Finder
Duplicate File Finder allows you to quickly find and remove duplicates, and then organize your files and folders properly to avoid cluttering the disk space with useless data. There are four steps to remove duplicate files and folders from your Mac:
1. Scan folders or disk volume
When you launch the application, you will see the first dialog window that invites you to drag and drop the folders you want to scan. Just move individual folders to the window or click thebutton to choose folders or whole disks (it supports both external and internal volumes). You can also scan your Home folder or Photos Library in one click right from this window. Then click the button.
2. Preview the results
When duplicate scanning starts, an animated chart is displayed to reflect search results. The entire search process takes from one to five minutes.
After the scan is complete, Duplicate File Finder will display the Overview tab. Here you can view your duplicate files and folders. You can choose to preview the details in either a bar chart or pie chart. In addition, if you have similar folders (folders that contain a mix of duplicate and unique files), this tab provides information about their size. Cleanup Hints are an added bonus, which help make the selection of the duplicates easier and more efficient.
3. Select the duplicates
At the top of the window you will see different tabs. Click onto preview duplicates within different file types (music, video, documents, etc.) There is also an All Files category, where you can preview duplicates of all file types.
Preview the files and select those you want to remove. If you have thousands of duplicates and need quick ways to select duplicates, use the
4. Remove the duplicates
The last step is to delete duplicates by clicking thebutton. You will see the list of all selected duplicates. Preview them and confirm by clicking on . If you want to keep some of the files, just uncheck the checkboxes by the names of the files and they will not be deleted.
Hints & Tips
Duplicate File Finder provides the Cleanup Hints option for a better user experience. For example, you may want to remove the largest duplicates, remove duplicates in Similar folders, or remove duplicates with the most copies. You can find these Cleanup Hints in the Overview tab. They indicate which files to remove in order to free up as much disk space as possible.
Three hints are given at a time. Each time you click the Pointer button you get new tips. In the screenshot below, you can see three types of tips for a fast and thorough cleanup.
To use the hint*, click it to view the preselected items. Preview the details and confirm removal.
*Please note that the Cleanup Hints option is only available in Pro mode.
Duplicate File Finder allows you to find not only duplicate files and folders, but also Similar folders. Similar folders are nearly identical, and contain both duplicate and unique files. They are presented in a convenient way for you to quickly compare them and identify unneeded copies.
What are Similar Folders?
Imagine you have several folders on your Mac or drive that contain identical and unique files. In this case, these folders are not duplicates, as they keep different data. The folders on the screenshots below keep 2 duplicate files and 1 unique file. In the Duplicate File Finder program such folders are called similar folders.
If your folders keep only file copies, then they are duplicate folders. Note, the duplicate files may have different names. The program compares the files and identifies them as duplicates if they have absolutely similar data and byte-to-byte sizes. It doesn’t matter what their names are. Take a look at the screenshots.
To see similar folders, switch to the
Here you will find a visual representation of duplicates in two folders. The orange section of the two intersecting circles shows how many duplicates they have, while the blue section represents unique files.
Below the chart, you can see the list of copies and non-repetitive files.Please note that the app prevents the removal of unique files, so you don’t have to worry about unintentionally removing files you need to keep. Only identical files are able to be selected for removal.
If the folders keep mostly duplicates and only one or several unique files, then the visual view would be like on the screenshot example, where one circle is located inside another one. This means that the first folder (orange circle) contains 6 duplicate files, while the second folder (large blue circle) contains 6 duplicates and 1 unique file.
It may happen that one folder has several similar folders at the same time. The app shows all similar folders in one list, so it’s easy to review them and decide which files to remove and which ones to keep.
Once you’ve decided from which folder you want to delete the duplicates, tick the checkbox near the appropriate folder. On the screenshot, the number in the red circle shows how many duplicates are selected in the folder. The number in the white circle shows how many duplicates will be kept.
Once you select all unneeded files, clickin the bottom right corner. You will be switched to the preview screen of all selected duplicates. If you are sure you don’t need them anymore, do the last step – confirm by clicking the button.
If you like to make many pictures to get the best one, then you may have plenty of unnecessary similar photos. Apart from finding absolutely identical photos by size and binary data, Duplicate File Finder also finds and displays similar photos. Here’s how to manage your similar photos, quickly sort them, organize, and remove unwanted pics.
- Switch to the Similar Photos tab.
- Here you will see photos grouped by similarity.
- Review each group of similar photos and select unneeded ones. The green frame and violet frames indicate which photos from the list are displayed in the Preview section.
- You can also use the Auto Select feature to automatically keep one picture in each group and select all other files.
- Once you have selected all unwanted photos, click on Review & Remove and confirm their deletion.
Select Duplicates in Folder
If you have a large number of duplicates, it might take a significant amount of time to review each file and select unneeded copies in a specific folder. That’s why Duplicate File Finder provides a special feature, which will help you to complete this task much faster.
Go to the Select Duplicates in Folder tab.
You will see a new window with a list of your folders and detailed information about how many duplicate and unique files each of them has.
Here you can also preview the duplicate files. For this, click on “Show Files.”
You will see the folders’ content.
To select all duplicates in a specific folder just mark the appropriate checkbox near the folder’s name. You will see how many duplicates were selected in this folder – the number is marked by red color in the second column.
If you want to allow duplicates to remain in a specific folder, you should click on the Star icon near its name. The Yellow Star means that duplicates in this folder will be kept. Duplicate files in other folders will be selected for removal. The number of files to be kept is shown in the third column. So, if you want to select duplicates in a folder for removal – tick the checkboxes near the folder’s name.
If you want to keep all files in a folder, and select their duplicates in other folders – click the Star icon near the folder’s name.
There is one last step to remove all duplicates from a selected folder. All you need to do is to click the Review & Remove button. The application will let you preview the files once more and, if everything is in order, confirm your task by clicking the Remove button.
Note that when you remove duplicates in the “Select Duplicates in Folder” window, you can be assured that you will not remove all copies by accident. At least one duplicate will be kept because the application makes it impossible to select all folders and duplicate copies.
Read more about the “Select Duplicates in Folder” option.
Duplicate File Finder allows you to merge scanned folders. This option is helpful if you need to quickly organize your duplicate files and folders. When you merge folders, the application moves unique files from one folder to another. Here are the steps on how to merge folders:
- Scan your folders or disks and switch to the Merge Folders tab. You can also click the
button in the tab.
- Select the source and destination folders to move or copy the content.
- Before merging folders, you can specify the preferences for the action. Click the gear icon in the top right corner or go to
Once you have set up all the necessary preferences, click on
If you still have questions, read the article How to merge folders with Duplicate File Finder or drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will be happy to help you.
Restore Removed Files
By default, the application moves all these files to the Trash when you remove duplicates with the application. If you have removed some files by accident and would like to restore them, follow the steps below.
- Go to the Menu Bar → Duplicate → select Restore Removed Duplicates or use Command+Y shortcut.Also, you can just click the Show Removal History button in the removal window.
- Select the files you want to restore using the checkboxes for files and groups of files. Then click the Restore button.
Note, to be able to restore the duplicates, the option Log Removed Duplicates has to be enabled. You can check it in Preferences → Remove tab. Tick the checkbox to always save your duplicates’ removal history.
Also note, if the duplicates are deleted from the Trash, you will not be able to restore them. It is only possible to restore files in the Trash folder or have duplicates in other folders. You can see next to each file name whether it is Restored, Restorable or Not Restorable.
How to find the original files of the previously removed duplicates
Usually, we have a lot of duplicates in different folders. That is why it can be challenging to remember where the original file is located. Fortunately, the Duplicate File Finder application can show you the original data of the previously deleted duplicate.
To manage this, you should open the Duplicate File Finder’s removal history. You will see the list of all deleted files grouped by the date of removal. Select the necessary file in your list and click on the icon called.
This option will open the Finder window with the path to where the original file was stored.
Duplicate File Finder can be finely-tuned for a quicker and more efficient duplicate search process by adjusting its settings or by using its helpful options.
To open Preferences, use the Command(Cmd) + Comma sign (,) key shortcut or go to the Menu bar → select Duplicate File Finder → click Preferences.
Here you will find six tabs:
- Skip list
- Auto Select
Let’s take a closer look at each section of the settings.
The application allows you to even scan hidden folders. To enable this option, just tick the Scan Hidden Folders checkbox. Please note that this option may slow down the scanning speed, depending on how many hidden files you have.
The Full-scale duplicates scan option means that the application will perform an extra check when comparing duplicate files.
By default, Duplicate File Finder skips scanning small files.This helps to speed up the scanning process by finding only the largest duplicates. However, you can set the minimal file size you want to be scanned. Choose from the options in the General tab, depending on your needs:
- Skip small files
- Skip files smaller than… and select the file size on the size line.
- Check all files
The last option in this tab is Save and Restore Scan Results. This means that if you close the application, the history of scanned folders will be saved. When you run the app the next time, you can quickly view the results of the previous scan.
Skip List Tab
In this section you can select the folders, files or extension types to be skipped from the scan. Click the Plus button to add items or use the Minus button to remove items from Skip list.
Auto Select Tab
Using the Auto Select button, you can define folder settings to be selected or never selected. It’s a convenient option when you need to remove duplicates from particular folders. In this case, add the folders you want to the Never Select list to exclude them from selection, and add the folders to the Always Select list to remove them when the Auto Select button is used.
Also, you can add prefixes and suffixes used in the file name.
And finally, you can enable or disable other rules for the Auto Select option by marking the appropriate checkboxes and by choosing the preferred option for each.
It may happen that when you remove copies of files, some folders may become empty. So if you want to remove the empty folders automatically, enable the option Remove empty folders.
By default, when you remove files with Duplicate File Finder, they are sent to the Trash. Here you can enable the option to remove your files permanently without moving them to Trash. Generally, you can select one of the following options:
- Move to Trash
- Move duplicates to a folder
If you select the third option, you will be asked to choose the folder from Finder.
Besides finding and deleting duplicates, the application allows you to merge the scanned folders. In the Merge tab you can set up the preferences for this option:
- Move unique files when you merge Similar folders
- Copy unique files when you merge Similar folders (in this case the source folder will automatically be removed)
- Set Finder color tag to merged files
If you have used Duplicate File Finder and know all the app’s options quite well, you may wish to disable some confirmation messages in order to make the duplicate cleanup process quicker. In the Advanced tab of the Preferences window, you can enable or disable the following messages and options:
- Show the Overview tab after scanning
- Show confirmation window when using the Auto Select option
- Show confirmation window after successful removal
- Allow removal of all duplicates (if you enable this option, you allow the app to remove both the duplicate copy and the original file)
There are a lot of quick navigational shortcuts in the app that make your duplicate cleanup process even faster and easier.
|Cmd+↓(↑)||navigate through duplicate groups|
|Enter||select the checkbox|
|Space||QuickLook preview of the selected file (press arrow down or up to switch to the next file preview).|
|Opt+↓(↑)||select the last (first) item in the current list.|
|Cmd+F||search in the search field|
|Esc||reset search results|
|Cmd+Opt+O||open the Finder window to select the folders for scanning|
|Cmd+R||rescan the current folder|
|Cmd+O||switch to Overview tab|
|Cmd+1||switch to Duplicate Files tab|
|Cmd+2||switch to Pictures section|
|Cmd+3||switch to Movies section|
|Cmd+4||switch to Music section|
|Cmd+5||switch to Documents section|
|Cmd+6||switch to Archives section|
|Cmd+7||switch to Others Files section|
|Cmd+8||switch to Duplicate Folders tab|
|Cmd+9||switch to Similar Folders tab|
|Cmd+P||switch to Similar Photos tab|
|Cmd+Opt+S||switch to Select Duplicates in Folder tab|
|Cmd+Opt+M||switch to Merge Folders tab|
|Cmd+↑||switch to upper file group|
Similar Folders tab:
In the Similars you can see 3 sections:
- A list of all similar folders.
- A list of similar folders to a folder you have selected from the first section.
- A comparison of two lists of folders selected from the first and second panels.
Here are the shortcuts for these panels:
|→(←)||show the next or previous picture of the list in the left section of preview window|
|→(←)+Opt||show the next or previous picture of the list in the right section of preview window|
|Enter||select or deselect the picture in the right section of preview window|
|Enter+Opt||select or deselect the picture in the left section of preview window|
|Enter+Shift(⇑)||keep the picture from the left section and select all other pictures for removal|
|Enter+Shift(⇑)+Opt||keep the picture from the right section and select all other pictures for removal|
|Space||open the picture from the left section of preview window|
|Space+Opt||open the picture from the right section of preview window|
|Double click on the picture||open the picture|
Selecting the files
|↵||select (deselect) file or folder|
|1…9||select items for removal by a number|
|↑+1…9||select all items except one with a number|
|Cmd+A||select all duplicates|
|Cmd+E||select newest duplicates|
|Cmd+L||select oldest duplicates|
|Cmd+K||select any duplicates|
|Cmd+D||deselect all duplicates|
|Cmd+A+↑||select the duplicates in active group|
|Cmd+E+↑||select newest duplicates in active group|
|Cmd+L+↑||select oldest copies for removal in active group|
|Cmd+K+↑||select any copies in active group|
|Cmd+D+↑||deselect duplicates in active group|
|Cmd+S||show a list of selected duplicates|
|Cmd+O+↑||reveal file in the Finder|
|Cmd+I||show file information|
|Cmd+O||open the file|
|Space||preview the file|
|↓ or ↑||preview the next file from the list|
|Cmd+,||open Preferences window|
|Cmd+Y||open Removal History window|
|Cmd+W||close Preferences window|
|Cmd+M||minimize the application window|
|Cmd+F+^||enter fullscreen mode|
|Cmd+/||show the context hints|
The algorithm for searching for duplicates
Before checking files for identity by their data, the algorithm for finding duplicate files uses two main characteristics – sizes and extensions of the files. This means that if two or more files with the same extensions have the same size, they are then compared by their data. The filename is not taken into account. Users often rename files, so identifying duplicates by name is not reliable. Furthermore, different files might often have the same name.
For example, If there are two identical files with img.png and myphoto.PNG, they will be displayed as duplicates. However, if two files differ from each other in size – even by one byte – they will not be displayed in the application.
With the app, you can find duplicate files in several different folders or even hard disks per single session.
Specify a folder for duplicates removal
Imagine you have two folders with a huge number of duplicate files. You want to choose from which specific place to remove the duplicates and where to leave them untouched. In other words, you need to remove them from one folder but keep them intact in another. It may be inconvenient to go through each file and flag it manually. That’s why Duplicate File Finder provides you with the possibility of skipping this operation and making duplicate removal super fast and easy. There are 2 scenarios for this task:
Compare folders for duplicates with the Autoselect Button
- Launch Duplicate File Finder.
- Open the app’s Preferences and switch to the “Auto Select” tab.
- Add folders from which you want to remove duplicates to the “Always Select” list.
- Add folders you in which want to keep files to the “Never Select” list.
- When the scan is finished, click the Autoselect button. You will see the selected duplicate files in specified folders. Review the selected files and click Remove.
Compare folders for duplicates with the Context Menu
- Drop to the Duplicate File Finder window your folders and start scanning for duplicates.
- After the scan has completed, switch to the All Files tab, where you can preview the duplicates of all the file types. When you click on each file you can see which folders contain them.
- Now make a right click on the file from path representation and call the context menu. Use the “Select All Copies in …” command for the specified file.
*Please note, this command does not select duplicate files recursively in the subfolders. So if you have some subfolders you should repeat the command for them.
Upgrade to Pro
Duplicate File Finder is free to download from the App Store and allows you to find and remove duplicate files. It also has a PRO mode that provides even more features and is available with in-App Purchase. Let’s take a look at the added benefits.
- Finds all duplicate files and folders
- Finds similar photos
- Deletes duplicate files
- Scans all drive types
- Finds duplicates in hidden folders
- Provides a Quick Look of duplicates
- Searches quickly among duplicates by category type
- Skips scanning certain folders, files, files with specified extensions
- Uses Autoselect option
- Quickly open duplicates in Finder
- Regulates minimum and maximum file sizes for scanning
- Uses Smart Cleanup hints
Includes all the features of free mode and even more:
- Removes duplicate folders
- Removes duplicates from Similar folders
- Merges folders
- Uses Select Duplicates in Folder option
- Restores removed duplicates
- Includes the option to remove duplicates to a specified folder instead of moving to Trash
Thus, if you want to do a deep cleanup, you should upgrade to Pro. Let’s learn how to upgrade:
- Click the green Get Pro button from the top right corner of the app’s window.
- You will see a pop-up window. Click the button with the price.
- In the window that appears, enter your Apple ID username and password, and click Sign in.
That’s all. As soon as the in-app purchase is completed, the green button and lock icons next to the features disappear. If no changes occur after purchasing, then reboot your Mac → launch the app → click Get Pro again → click Restore.
Full disk access
Duplicate File Finder is a software tool that optimizes and cleans up your Mac from unneeded duplicate files, folders and similar photos. All the duplicates you decide to delete with this app will automatically go to the Trash.
Sometimes an important file may accidentally be deleted. Fortunately, you can easily recover deleted files and folders with Duplicate File Finder.
If you see this window it means that your application doesn’t have access to the Trash.
To let the App restore items from your Trash, complete these simple steps:
- Go to System Preferences → Security & Privacy → Privacy.
- Select the Full Disk Access section. Click the Lock icon to make changes and enter your user password.
Then click the Plus icon.
- Go to the Applications folder and add Duplicate File Finder.
- Click the Lock icon again to prevent further changes and close System Preferences.
- Now you can easily restore all the necessary removed items.
Compare 2 Macs for duplicates
Duplicate File Finder can help you even if you want to find duplicates between two Macs. For this, follow the steps below:
- Connect your two Macs using Apple File Sharing. For this, go to the System Preferences → Sharing.
- Enable the File Sharing option.
- Please note, if you use macOS High Sierra, we recommend that you use the afp connection option because High Sierra is unstable with the smb connection. For this, click the Options button to set it up there.
- After this, you will be able to select the whole disk or some folders from another Mac you want to compare.
- Now open the Duplicate File Finder application and add folders from the local Mac and from the connected one. Click to start scanning. Please note, if you select the whole disk, the scanning process could be very long.
- After the scan is complete, you can use the Select Duplicates in Folder option to easily select duplicates on one of your Mac’s folders.
Please note that you can remove duplicate files from both of your Mac computers. However, when you remove duplicates from the Mac on which the Duplicate File Finder application is launched, the files are moved to the Trash folder. If you need to, you can restore them later from Trash. However, if you remove files from the connected Mac computer, by default Apple removes them permanently, without putting them in Trash. This is true for all network disks. Thus, before selecting and deleting duplicate files, make sure you do not need to restore them.
Uninstall Duplicate File Finder
Follow these steps to manually uninstall the app:
- Quit Duplicate File Finder.
- Go to the Applications folder → remove Duplicate File Finder to Trash.
- In the Finder’s menu bar, click Go → Go to Folder → in the window that appears, type ~/Library, and hit Go.
- Within the Library folder find and remove Duplicate File Finder service files. Note, depending on the version of the app you use, you will need to find and remove different folders.
If you downloaded the free version of the app from the App Store, find and remove the following files:
- ~/Library/Application Scripts/com.nektony.Duplicates-Finder
If you purchased directly the PRO version of the app on the App Store, find and remove these files:
- ~/Library/Application Scripts/com.nektony.Duplicates-Expert
If you downloaded the app from the site, find and remove these files:
- ~/Library/Application Scripts/com.nektony.Duplicate-File-Finder-SII
- ~/Library/Application Support/com.nektony.Duplicate-File-Finder-SII
Once you removed all service files, empty your Trash bin to completely uninstall Duplicate File Finder.
Sometimes you may get a message that the app cannot remove duplicate files or the folders cannot be merged. There are several reasons for this:
- You are trying to remove files from an external drive which is mounted as Read Only. For example, you mount NTFS external disk and don’t have a special driver to make the disk writable on Mac. You should, therefore, install the necessary extension to allow removal of the duplicates.
- You are trying to remove files from the external volume that does not have the Trash folder as yet. By default, Duplicate File Finder moves files to the Trash. If no Trash folder has been created, the app does not have enough permission to remove a file. You should switch to Finder window and from there remove any unneeded file on that external drive/volume. The Trash for external volume will then be created, after which Duplicate File Finder can remove identical files.
- Your files might be locked. Check file permissions – select a file/ folder in the Finder, use CMD+I shortcut to verify the permissions.
- Your files might be used by another application.
Read detailed guides on how to troubleshoot situations when removing duplicates or merging folders:
- Troubleshooting the issues when merging duplicates
- Troubleshooting the issues when removing duplicates
- Troubleshooting the issues when moving folders
- Troubleshooting the issues when restoring files
- How to troubleshoot issues when scanning and removing duplicates in Photos Library
- Duplicate File Finder skips scanning the Time Machine backups
- What is duplicates searching algorithm?
- How to remove duplicates from Photos Library
- How to find duplicates in iCloud
- How to grant access to folders
Tips for quick duplicates removal
- How to use Autoselect
- How to set up the file size threshold to be searched
- Quick tips to select and remove duplicates
- How to scan two folders and quickly remove duplicates from one of them
The PRO version