Each year, more than 200 million personal computers (PC) get shipped worldwide. In fact, PC shipments totaled 275 million units in 2020 alone. That’s a whopping increase of 7.6 million from shipments made the prior year.
One reason for that growth is that many folks tend to replace devices at the first sign of poor performance. However, this isn’t always the smartest move, as there are ways to improve PC efficiency.
One such tactic is to eliminate all duplicate files taking up precious hard drive space. We’ll show you the ropes on duplicate file removal, so be sure to keep reading.
Look for Gigantic Duplicate Files on Windows
In Windows, the term gigantic applies to files with sizes of over 128 MB each. So, if you have 100 files of such size, that means they’re already using at least 13 GB of precious hard drive space. Unfortunately, it could be twice that or more if each of your largest files has a duplicate.
Fortunately, Windows File Explorer allows you to do a filtered search for these files.
To do that, launch File Explorer and choose a drive partition, such as Your PC or the C: drive. Next, click the empty Search box on the right side of the window, and the Search tab should pop up.
On the Search tab, click the All subfolders button and then the Size option. After that, select the field labeled “Gigantic (>128 MB)” on the drop-down menu. You can then narrow down your search further by clicking Type and then choosing a file class.
File Explorer should then display all the files in that drive containing over 128 MB of data.
Go through the list to see if any of them have duplicates. If so, simply select the unwanted copies and press the Delete button to send them to the Recycle Bin.
Use the Mac System Information App to Track Large Duplicates
If you own one of the 100 million + active Macs out there, don’t worry, as it also has a tool that lets you search large files. Known as the System Information app, it can give you a list of files at least 50 MB in size.
To launch the app, click the Apple logo on the upper-left-hand corner of your Mac screen. Then, select the About This Mac option, which should prompt a new window to appear. Next, maneuver to the Storage tab, then click the Manage button.
A larger window should now be on your screen; to its left is a pane listing all the data you have in your drive. Click on the Documents field to bring up more options, including the tab labeled Large Files.
Under the Large Files tab, a list of all your biggest files should appear. Go through the list to see if you have any large duplicate files. If you do, click the file name and then hit the Delete button on the lower right-hand corner of the window.
Your Mac would ask you if you’re sure you want to delete the file. Select the Delete option to confirm the file cleanup.
You can also remove multiple duplicate files simultaneously using the Command (⌘) button. However, you need to select one of the duplicate files first. Then, press and hold down the ⌘ button before highlighting another duplicate file.
Repeat until you’ve selected all duplicate files, then click the Delete button twice.
Empty Your Recycle Bin or Trash Folder
If you’re on Windows, your deleted duplicate files will remain in the Recycle Bin. If you’re using macOS, those unneeded files will stay in the Trash folder. So, you need to delete them from either location to remove them from your hard drive permanently.
The Recycle Bin and the Trash folder both have a button labeled Empty. However, before you hit that button, give the files one last look to confirm they all deserve to be in the trash. After all, the last thing you want is to delete important files you erased by accident.
After reviewing the list, you can then hit the Empty button to delete the files permanently.
Use a Third-Party Mac or Windows Cleanup Tool
If the steps above only clear a few GB of hard drive space, you likely have tons of small-sized duplicate files. Finding these duplicates can take hours, even days, as you’d need to check each of your folders. You also need to confirm they’re duplicates by cross-checking them with the originals.
So, in this case, your best bet is to download and install a duplicate file finder/remover app. These programs will look for all your duplicate files and then give you options to delete them.
What’s more, these apps work on file classes and sizes of all types. For example, they can locate duplicate documents, photos, and videos. Some can even track unnecessary copies of music files and entire folders.
If you work a lot with photos, these apps can help you detect similar-looking images, too. You can then choose to keep the best-looking photos and have the app delete the rest.
Some duplicate file managers also work not only on Macs and Windows but also on external drives. You only need to plug in the external hard drive to your computer and choose its partition when you run the app. The app will then detect the duplicates contained in that external drive.
Note that not all duplicate file finders are cross-platform, though. So, you may have to use different apps if you own both macOS and Windows OS devices. Still, most of these apps have free versions, so downloading them shouldn’t be an issue.
Don’t Let Those Duplicate Files Keep Choking Your Computer
Keep in mind that you need enough hard drive space to download OS and app security updates. So, if you run out of storage, your system or apps may fail to update. Not only could this make your OS and programs buggy, but it can also give rise to threats such as malware infections.
So, do yourself (and wallet) a favor; free up space in your hard disk drive by removing duplicate files ASAP. The sooner you do, the sooner your device can perform better.
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Also Read: How to Remove Duplicate Files in Windows 10