Compare Folders in Windows 10 for Redundant Data

Sorting through and comparing your folders for redundant data can be a complex, tiresome job. Thankfully, there are ways to curb the digital junk and fix disorganization. Read on as we discuss the nature of redundant data, how our computer related activities contribute to it and how to fix redundancy in detail.

What is redundant data? Why do I have so many redundant files?

Redundant files are the identical copies of your original files. They can be found in any format. For example: If you’re a music addict, you might be downloading a lot of songs online and converting them to other formats to be able to play on other devices. This simple file conversion activity can cause a lot of duplication. At the end of the day, you’ll have two versions of each song you’ve downloaded- an originally downloaded music file (for example: a .wav file), and another converted one (let’s say, .mp3). Keeping both the versions of hundreds of downloaded music files will consume a substantial amount of your storage space for no good. What should you do? Just delete all the originally downloaded files and keep only the converted versions.

How to identify redundant data manually?

Redundant files are typically fragmented across different drives and folders. If your original file is located in a folder, the redundant version happens to be elsewhere. The question is: Which file is the original one and which one is the dupe? It could be quite tricky to decide.

The general rule of thumb is that a redundant file is possibly newer than the original file. For instance: If you’ve created a Word document (Project.docx) and copied it to some other directory (Project (2).docx) as a means to backup in the event you lose it, the oldest copy Project.docx is considered as the original file and the backed up copy (Project (2).docx) is considered the redundant version. However, this is not always true. Sometimes, the contents of the redundant file can vary to a great extent. In that case, you’ll want to preserve the redundant copy which contains the new changes that you’ve made.

How long it shall take to compare folders in Windows 10 for redundancy?

In earlier days, the only way to find duplicate files was to browse through each folder on your hard disk, open a file and look out for other files with the exact same content. Since there can be thousands of files stored across your hard drive, it was a very long, tedious and complex procedure. Besides, there were many challenges of false positives and accidental data loss.

Thankfully, things have changed now. Some brilliant minds in the industry have developed an algorithm-based technology of finding redundant files. Yes, we’re talking about Clone Files Checker.

CFC supports scanning different sorts of redundant files- documents, music, videos, archives and images. Besides, it fully protects you against unwanted loss by backing up duplicate files before deleting them (this feature needs to be activated from the program settings). Identifying and deleting duplicates regularly will boost your computer’s performance and stability.

Is it safe to delete redundant files? How to delete them?

Redundant files can occupy higher storage space compared to any other type of junk files. It is typically safe to delete redundant files located in non-system directories and drives. While there is an in-house functionality in Windows to delete temporary files, no such native functionality exists to find and delete redundant files. Finding redundant files is not easy, especially if done manually.

Step 1: Select Drive/ Folder

First and foremost, you will need to specify the drives or folders that you want to scan for redundant files. Select any drive except the drive that contains your Windows installation. To scan the Documents and Downloads directories for redundant files, add the C:\Users\User_Name\Documents and C:\Users\User_Name\Downloads.

Step 2: Select File Type and Size

If you want to restrict the scan to only fewer file types, the results shall come up much faster. However, with fewer files scanned, there’s little chance of reclaiming any significant storage. If your aim is to reclaim as much storage as possible, go for the All Files scan.

Next, choose your desired file size lower and upper limits (Optional). Setting an upper file size limit can help you get faster but again, fewer results.

Step 3: Start Fix Wizard

The scan shall start and take a few minutes depending on the size of your data and the total number of files. Once it is finished, Clone Files Checker will display the total count of redundant files besides the storage space wasted. Click on Fix Wizard.

Step 4: Select File Version

After clicking Fix Wizard, CFC will prompt you to select a file version to retain in each redundant group. To retain the newest version, select Newest, or click on Oldest.

Step 5: Take Action

Do you want to permanently delete the redundant files? Use Permanent Delete to automatically delete your redundant files. Or select Move to Folder to move your redundant files to just another folder so that you can review them later.

Searching & Deleting Empty Folders

While browsing through your files and folders, you might occasionally come across empty folders. As these folders don’t contain any files, it’s safe to delete them. Deleting empty folders will help you better organize your files and get faster search results.

CFC supports deleting your empty folders. Besides cleaning your redundant files, Clone Files Checker can help you find and delete any empty folders. You don’t need to search for a separate utility.

  1. Open Clone Files Checker.
  2. Click the Remove Empty Folders link located next to the scan modes.
  3. Add your desired folder in the new dialog using the Add Path button. You can add as many folders as you want.
  4. To start deletion, click on the Delete Empty Folders button.

Added Bonus

Clone Files Checker is much more than a duplicate files scanner. Not just local files, you can search for redundant files on the cloud as well. The supported scan modes include OneDrive, Google Drive and Dropbox. 

After finishing the scan and fixing the duplicates, you can view previous scan results under the History tab. You can restore a particular scan backup from that scan’s entry in the History tab. If you’re using iTunes, you can search your iTunes collection for iTunes duplicates with the right music tags. Use one or more tags such as artists, albums, track, bit rate, title to define how you want to scan. It’s that simple!

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