[Important] 10 Things to Keep in Mind While Removing Duplicate Files


Duplicate files have always been a popular topic of discussion. It is because it is an issue that’s never-ending. Sometimes it is a bug that causes multiple files to be duplicated independently; other times, it happens due to the user’s carelessness. In both cases, tools like Duplicate Files Fixer come to the rescue. 

However, there are times when users start deleting files thinking that they are duplicates, while they are not. This happens majorly while removing duplicates manually, i.e., without set criteria.

Every game has rules; deleting clone files to filter out originals is no less. One mistake and you may lose crucial files, and if done correctly, you get efficient file management and extra storage space as the ultimate prize. 

So how to remove duplicate files properly? Well, there are certainly a few things that can help you make the best choices. By the end of this post, you’ll find 10 important factors to take care of while dealing with duplicate files. 

So without any delay, let’s jump straight to the essential things one must remember before removing duplicate files.

10 Must-Know Things Before You Start Removing Duplicates Files on a PC

1. Files Saved at Different Locations in the Same PC Do Not Count as Backup Files

Many users keep multiple copies of their documents, files, etc., to ensure they do not lose them. There’s nothing wrong with keeping backups, as it is one of the best practices for anyone dealing with data.

However, keeping the backup files on the same PC as the original data makes no sense. If you are doing so, you are extending the number of duplicates on your PC on purpose. It is better to use the 3-2-1 rule of backing up your files if you have crucial data that you want to protect. According to the rule, you should –

– Create 3 copies of your data,
– Save 2 backup copies on different storage devices, and
– Store 1 backup away from other backups.

2. Sorting is Not Always the Best Way to Filter Duplicate Files

Many users simply go to the folder with duplicate files and use the sorting filters in File Explorer. While these filters are good at grouping files and delivering a sorted view of all the files, they are not efficient in highlighting or sorting duplicate files.

Sure, if you mistakenly copied files multiple times while trying the drag and drop, sorting by name or by time may help you get a better view to removing duplicates. However, that is it. That is where the potential of sorting ends. You can learn which files were created later. However, what if they were opened later?

Identifying which one is original is still a big question that sorting cannot answer. Hence, you should not simply depend on using it as your primary strategy.

3. Duplicate Files Can Exist in Multiple Formats

The best example of these factors can be a song or a picture. Your PC may have a song in the MP3 format and simultaneously have it in WAV or aac.3 formats for editing purposes, similar is the case with images. You can have a simple JPEG, and then there are advanced RAW formats for editing.

Duplicate Files in Multiple Formats
While these have different formats, they are the same files. It happens a lot with musicians and photographers as the first file they create is an original heavy version in the raw format, while the final product is more usable and shareable. So what do you do in that case?

Removing derived files is always a better choice than removing the original. However, it depends on your usage and your choice.

4. Not all Duplicate Files are Bad

As shared in the above point, sometimes you need to decide on your own. Not all duplicate files are harmful to your PC. Always keep in mind that it is the excess of anything that causes damage. When you have a controlled number of duplicates and know they exist, you have nothing to worry about.

Duplicate files used by the system, such as DirectX archives and other crucial documents, should not be removed. Hence, it is better to understand a file’s severity and remove it accordingly.

5. It is Not Necessary that Duplicates Exist at the Same Location

When you are trying to remove duplicate files, you must keep in mind that duplicates don’t need to exist at the same location. The best example of such files is game files in the game directory (local folder) and the source folder (from where the game was installed).

searching duplicates in computer
Duplicate files may exist anywhere on your PC. Hence you may need to search for them multiple times. Sure, you can opt for a duplicate files finder tool that searches your entire PC, but then again, you need an efficient tool as a regular application may take a lot of time and even skip a few folders.

6. Removing Duplicate Files is a Lot More Than Just Recovering Storage

For many users, removing duplicate files is a regular practice they prefer whenever they need storage space for other files. The thinking is apt, too, considering duplicate files take up a lot of storage. However, sometimes, when the number of duplicates or the size of similar files is not substantial enough to free up space, users tend to ignore them. This is wrong!

You see, files that may harm your PC need not be heavy. A file whose size is in bytes can cause havoc on the system. Hence, you should permanently remove duplicates, no matter if their size is significant or not, as removing duplicate files is not just about freeing up storage. It’s a lot more than that!

7. Manually Removing Duplicate Files is a Time-Consuming Process

If you plan to remove duplicate files from your entire PC manually, you need a lot of free time on your hands. Finding duplicates, shortlisting the ones to delete and keep, checking the selected file, and removing it appears to be a 4-step process but takes a lot of time.

Sometimes you have to search for the lengths of a drive just to realize there are no duplicates. All the time spent finding these files for removal is significantly more than you should have. However, that is a manual process. Your best bet is to use an automated tool like Duplicate Files Fixer. Here’s how it works –

– Download the application from the link below

– Scan your PC for duplicate files using the tool. You can choose formats accordingly or simply go for a complete scan.

Duplicate Files Fixer
– Once the scan is over, you can analyze the duplicate files.
– Check which ones to delete and remove them using the remove option.

DFF_removing duplicates
The tool does all of it in a matter of minutes. Saving you a lot of time and effort, this application is surely the ultimate solution to all your duplicate file problems.

8. Files with the Same/Similar Names are not Always Duplicate

Keep in mind that if you plan to remove files based on the similarity of their names, you may be in for some trouble. Files with similar names are not always duplicates. If you have a lot of files of any format with a similar name, you must open and check them all before you start deleting them. That is because sometimes names can be similar, but the contents are not.

9. It is Always Better to Avoid Shift+Del While Removing Duplicate Files

If you habitually use Shift+Del as your go-to command for deleting files, avoid it while dealing with duplicate files. That is because the probability of removing a useful file is higher. When you are asked to make a choice, it is possible that you end up choosing the wrong file, and it is completely fine.

So, to avoid regretting what you have done, keep the option of restoring files from Recycle Bin open. The developers of Duplicate Files Fixer have thought this through as all the files you scan and remove through it first go to the recycle bin for you to have second thoughts about them.

10. A PC is Never Duplicate-Free on the First Attempt (Unless You Use a Tool)

You are wrong if you think spending a few hours removing duplicate files will get the job done. Duplicate files are termites. You need multiple layers of protection and treatment to eliminate them. Deleting files manually might not get the job done on the first attempt.

However, if you use the duplicate files finder tool, you have a chance. But that, too, depends on what sort of algorithm your tool uses. 

These 10 things indicate the general practices and things every individual must know before filtering similar files from the PC. 

Diligence & Intelligence is the Key to Removing Duplicate Files

For any user looking from a surface level, duplicate files are not an issue, considering they appear harmless when they have not exceeded a certain threshold. However, things start getting worse when these files start extending their presence. Things can get out of hand if such files are not properly removed. 

However, as you can see, when you try to get rid of duplicate files from your system, there are so many things you need to keep in mind. Hence, it is advised that you use your intelligence and let a tool, Duplicate Files Fixer, to be specific, simplify the entire process. 

Always remember, it is better to be diligent than to be sorry! Thanks for reading! Good luck.

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About The Author

Dishank Sharma
Dishank Sharma

A creative tech-writer who loves to explore latest tech-trends & convey them to his readers in the simplest way possible. He loves to blend the crispness of technology with a pinch of creativity while curating best practices for the readers. In his free time, he likes to scribble poetry, listen to rap & travel.

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