It is hard to avoid accidentally creating duplicate files on the PC’s disk and often we do not know they are there. These Windows 10 apps find and remove them to recover used disk space.
I am sure Microsoft would like us to get all of our software from the Microsoft Store app in Windows 10 and in fact, Windows 10 S, the cut down version of the operating system can only run Store apps and it cannot install and run regular desktop software.
Are Windows 10 Store apps up to the task though? Some apps are excellent, but this is not true of all of them and there are plenty of trivial and poor apps in the Store.
Here I take a look at utility apps that enable duplicate files to be tracked down on the disk and deleted to recover the space they are wasting.
If you are still using a big mechanical hard disk drive then you probably have plenty of space, but modern PCs have solid state drives (SSDs) and these are often quite small. When there is only 128 or 256 GB of storage, you cannot afford to waste space with duplicate files.
Duplicate File Remover
Price: Free | By: Videopix | Size: 26 MB | Rating: 2/5
Duplicate File Remover aims to clear the disk of duplicate files that are cluttering up the file system and wasting space. It is an advertising-supported app and adverts appear in vertical bars at both sides of the window and at the top. It gives it a sort of web-page look, but a small payment ($1.99) will remove the ads.
There are buttons to search for videos, photos or music, and these search the default media folders, which are most likely where you keep your media files. They could be stored in the OneDrive folder and those are not searched, but the Browse button enables the disk to be browsed and any folder selected, which is the best option.
The results are displayed after searching and a list of files is shown with checkboxes next to them. Duplicates are automatically selected for deletion but the list can be modified. However, it does not show file paths, so you don’t know which duplicate is selected for deletion. This could be important.
Duplicate file remover is visually unattractive, but is easy to use and it finds and deletes exact duplicates. It could be and should be much better.
Price: Free/£2.39 | By: Kaeros | Size: 24 MB | Rating: 3/5
Duplicates Cleaner made a good first impression with its range of features and functions, but you do have to get the paid version and not the freebie, which has problems finding duplicate files under some circumstances. More of that later.
In the settings are options to delete files or send them to the Recycle Bin, which provides an opportunity to recover files if you change your mind or delete something you shouldn’t. Files can be considered duplicates if they have the same name or the same content, which is the better option.
One final option is to choose between single and multiple folder mode. The free version is limited to single folders and the paid version (£2.39) offers both options. I tried the free version and it would only find duplicates within the same folder, not if the files were in different folders.
This makes the free version quite limited and not worth it for me even for free. The paid version should be fine though.
The search results screen uses a bright colour scheme, which is a bit too bright for my taste, but it has useful information, like the display of filenames and sizes, and the path to the file. A View button enables files to be viewed, which is useful when you are not sure which version of a file to keep.
The free version of this app should be avoided, but the paid version is quite good – the 4/5 rating is for the paid version.
Find Duplicate Files
Price: ??? | By: Magik Hub | Size: 22 MB | Rating: 3/5
Find Duplicate Files is a great app that has a good range of features, but it also has flaws that are irritating. It could be a useful app for cleaning up duplicates on the disk, but then again, maybe not.
The problem is that it the app looks like it is free in the Store, but you only get a 15-day trial. The price is not displayed in the Store or in the app. There is a Buy button in the app, but you cannot see the price without going through with the payment, which is something I am reluctant to do without knowing how much I would be charged.
It is actually quite a useful app and on the home screen you can choose the type of file to search for, such as documents, pictures, media, all files and so on. You can also choose the match type when looking for duplicates, such as date, size, name or content.
The search results are nicely displayed and duplicates are preselected for deletion, but checkboxes enable you to modify the list. Individual files can be deleted or the whole lot cleaned. Files can be viewed when you can’t decide which version to delete.
I like the app, but I don’t know the price and the link in the Windows Store to the developer’s website does not work, so you won’t find it there. The app also looks like an improved version of Cleaner Master Boosters by Photocoders. It’s confusing and off-putting.
Duplicate Cleaner Free
Price: Free | By: Digital Volcano Software| Size: 10 MB | Rating: 5/5
This is available as a free lite version for non-commercial use or as a Pro version costing $29.95 (£23.95). The lite version looks pretty full-featured and is probably all home users need for personal use.
This is not a Windows Store app and it installs from the Microsoft Store as a traditional desktop application – the Store can be used to install regular software as well as modern apps. Is this why the interface and features are light years ahead of the other apps tested? Possibly.
Search filters can be created that enable you to select the type of file to be searched for, such as by filename or extension, within a date or size range and so on. The search can be for the same name, date, size or those attributes can be ignored and only identical content is matched using a hashing algorithm. One or multiple folders can be selected to be included in the search.
The results are displayed in a table that shows the filename, folder, size, created and modified dates and more.
The best feature is the selection assistant panel that provides quick and easy ways to select duplicates. For example, you can select the newest or oldest files, biggest or smallest, longest or shortest filename, most recently modified or oldest date, and more. Deleted files can be moved to the Recycle Bin for safety or deleted directly.
This is the best of the duplicate file finders by far and it has an excellent range of features and worked well.