Finding and removing duplicate files is a great way to organize your hard drive and free up some space. You can make this process easier with a utility that scans your entire hard drive to find these duplicate files. Ashisoft Duplicate Finder is one option you can try, and with its $30 (£19) price tag, sits comfortably between the free Auslogics Duplicate File Finder and the more expensive Easy Duplicate Finder by WebMinds (pricing lists in US Dollars, but you are charged in Sterling). See all Software reviews.
Ashisoft Duplicate Finder is free to download, and you can use it for free indefinitely if you don't mind giving up most of its features and making do with basic scanning abilities. In the $30 Pro version, you'll find filtering abilities, more scanning options, advanced marking of duplicates, the ability to protect important folders, and more. The program comes with four scanning options: Byte by Byte, Same File Names, Music Duplicates, and Non-Duplicate Unique Files. According to the program's own manual, Byte by Byte should be your go-to option if you really want to get rid of those duplicates. See all software downloads.
The interface is easy to use, but not the most intuitive. To add a folder to scan, click on the "Add Path" button. You can add any folder from your hard drive, and from the filters tab, choose to include or exclude subfolders. While the folder display acts like a regular text editor, you can't actually edit it manually, but you can paste a path using a dedicated button. To delete a path, you need to highlight it with your mouse or place the mouse cursor next to it, and click the "Remove" button.
When put to the test, Ashisoft Duplicate Finder scanned my entire hard drive in a matter of seconds, and came up with only 67 duplicate files, making a total of around 13MB. Compared to the 2GB found by the Auslogics product and the 6GB found by the WebMinds product on the very same hard drive, this is not very impressive. However, when I pointed the program to my photos folder manually, it managed to find 750MB of duplicates, despite this folder being located withinthe previously scanned drive.
Despite its confused showing when it comes to duplicate finding, Ashisoft Duplicate Finder does include several very useful features. To start, you can fine-tune your scan to look for files with customized name similarity, same file size, same date, same extension, etc. When it comes to music, you can have the program bore into your music files to find title, artist and album similarities. You can easily set up filters and exclude whole folders, and even mark folders as important so you don't delete files from within by accident.
When scanning your results, the preview panel can come in very handy. If it's images or music files you're looking at, Ashisoft Duplicate Finder will show a preview of the duplicates side by side, helping you decide which one to get rid of. With music, you can double-click the preview to automatically launch your default music player and listen to the song in question. If you need some help deciding about your duplicates, you can use the Easy Marking feature, which can help you automatically mark all duplicates or all duplicates in a certain folder, or the Advanced Marking feature which automatically marks all older (or newer) files, smaller (or bigger) files or files with shorter (or longer) names.
Compared to similar programs, Ashisoft Duplicate Finder's interface feels relatively modern and easy to understand. It's abundant with useful features, and once your duplicates are found, can help you delete them, move them, copy them to another folder or rename them. The only serious downside is the program's inability to properly scan subfolders, forcing you to manually add specific folders in order to find all duplicates, but there is a chance this bug is unique to my system. The safest option is to try the free option first and make sure it does a good job of scanning your hard drive.