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date 1.Dec.2013

■ How do I get rid of the duplicate files?

I thought I had said everything there is to be said about duplicates in a series of posts, covering where to search for duplicates and how to remove them. So today's question sounds banal and trivial: just delete the duplicates and you will get rid of them, no? Yet, before you can delete first you need to select, and how do you select in a list showing say 70000 duplicate files discovered, which includes the originals?

Sometimes selection is easy. If for example duplicates are found in a different partition, then you can select using a rule on the drive letter, as explained in the aforementioned article. But what if the folder names are mixed and you can't come up with something robust to tell them apart? Then just tell the duplicate checker command to select them automatically for you (see picture). This automatic selection is good but has a couple of issues:
  • Which file is duplicate and which is the original? If two files are identical, even in terms of modification date, it's hard to tell which one you want to keep. However if you just want to clear up space then this question is of no importance so you are fine with deleting whatever xplorer² selects for you automatically
  • You must tick the auto-select option before you discover the duplicates. What if you used Tools > Check duplicates menu command, discovered 70,000 of them and then realized that you forgot to tick "Select all duplicates" box? Bummer, do I have to repeat the command waiting another hour or two?
select duplicates beforehand

There is a way out of sorts. Although you must repeat the search, you can speed up the second pass checking only the duplicates already discovered — instead of your entire hard disk! So open up a new scrap container from Window menu, hit <Ctrl+A> to select all then drag-drop the duplicate files to the new window, and in there repeat the search for duplicates — and this time make sure you tick "Select all duplicates" in advance <g>.

The final gotcha: don't press <DEL> key to delete the selected duplicate files, use File > Delete menu command. You may remember that pressing <DEL> in all scrap container windows merely removes the items from the window, and doesn't delete anything.

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