When you use your Mac you generate files and folders worth of content. Unless you have a keen sense of keeping things in perfect order, once in a while you will find duplicates and copies of the same file. This wont just be the same file name, but the exact same file repeated in different places. It is acceptable to have one or two duplicates of the same file, but sometimes an entire folder or directory full of duplicate files can be a bit of a problem. Hence, I am going to demonstrate to your Araxis neat little app, Find Duplicate Files.
Lets assume you have a folder with 10,000 files in it, to make matters worse you know there are duplicates and you want to get rid of them to shrink the size of the folder. To make matters even more complicated the file names have no order to them (so you can’t quickly scan the list to find files with a one appended on them to indicate a duplicate file). So you have a massive folder with random file names and you want to remove the duplicates. To do this manually would take you a long time, as luck would have it someone developed an application to do this for you.
Comparing files to see if they are the same can be tricky. You would obviously start with comparing the file names, this only gets you so far. The next step would be to compare file sizes, this would probably work on very large files where the probability of the file size being exactly the same would be small, however you would being to have problems with smaller files. The final option, which Find Duplicate Files uses, is to produce a hash of the file. Wikipedia has a good article on the subject. In essence the program will use a certain algorithm to computer a number for the file, known as a hash. This takes into account the size of the file but the order of the 1′s and 0′s in the file. This hash value (which is unique to the order of the 1′s and 0′s) can then be compared to other files. Only if the files are exactly the same on the bit level, will the has function be the same. Therefore, it is a quick and accurate way in finding exactly the same files.
Find Duplicate File app, is really simple to use. Using either the button on the toolbar or by dragging folders in to the scanning area at the top of the app, you can select the files you want to search. Then you simply press the go button. Based on your preferences it will scan every file, compute a hash function, and then compare these hash functions to other hash function in the hopes that it will find a duplicate file. Depending on your needs you can restrict the files it looks for, so it can be useful if you want to compare images, videos or text documents.
When the app has done its thing, which is rather quick, but will slow down with large files, the application will then display all of the duplicates. At this point you can either go investigate the files by revealing them in Finder, or let the application do the hard work and select and delete the duplicates. The handy colour coding of the results box allows for easy differentiation between the types of files.
This app costs £10.49 (or equivalent) which is a good buy if you have to do this sort of thing frequently. It does have a 7 day trial which allows you to try it out and see if it right for you. I found it easy to use, although the buttons on the toolbar could have been more clearly labeled.
If you have found this interesting to use, and would like to leave a comment, please use the form below.