Find duplicate image and data files with Anti-Twin

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Anti-Twin is a great freeware program that, quite simply, searches for and helps manage duplicate files on your computer. It’s very easy to use, and can help free up tons of space on your hard drives.

When you first get a new computer or first install Windows on a fresh drive, your computer is clean, in a manner of speaking. As time goes by, however, you put more and more files on there. Whether they are applications or images and songs, eventually the computer’s storage space gets filled up. At that point, you begin to realize how important it is to keep an organized system that is bereft of duplicate files. With things like MP3s, for instance, I can quite often wind up downloading the same song more than one time from different locations. If I get a song on a greatest hits album I buy and then later on wind up getting it as a single, I’ve got two copies of the same song, all of which means I am taking up storage space with that duplicate that could be much better used for something else.

Enter: Anti-Twin, one of the best and most powerful free tools out there for cleaning up your hard drive or drives. The basic concept of Anti-Twin is pretty simple: scan your system to identify duplicate files and then decide if you want to delete the dupes, rename them, move them, whatever you want done. Anti-Twin’s main job is finding those pesky duplicates and letting you know where they are, what files they are duplicates of so you can make your decision about what to do with them. While Anti-Twin does offer you some specific options to manage those extra files, the area it really shines in is finding and identifying them in the first place. Whether you want to scan just file names or the content of the files or both, Anti-Twin can handle your query.

With all the software I have seen over the years, especially more recently as I have been exploring the world of freeware, there are a few gems that really stand out as being well-done in one specific way or another, and Anti-Twin is one of those. A long time ago I had a program (that I cannot recall the name of now) that would scan file names and search for matching variables to seek out duplicate files. For instance, if a file named “Song Number One.mp3” was found by the program along with a file named “Song One.mp3” it would note the similarity and then add it to a list for me to peruse at a later time if I so chose. This was a neat idea at the time, but rather cumbersome in most ways. Specifically, with music files, there are tons of songs that have somewhat similar titles but are, in fact, completely different songs by different artists. So while this forgotten program was interesting at the time, it was never really as useful as one might hope and it could wind up taking more time wading through the resulting text lists of file name comparisons than it did to just manually scan for them with nothing more than File Explorer and my own eyes. Therefore, when I first read about Anti-Twin I was more than a bit skeptical.

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Thankfully, Anti-Twin is a whole new concept for a whole new generation of computers, users and software. Rather than simply scanning file names, Anti-Twin goes so far as to scan each file’s bits and bytes, taking a kind of digital fingerprint of it. Once a file’s “digiprint” (as I call it) is recorded, it can then be compared to every and any other file on your system and it’s digiprint, thereby providing a true and accurate picture of what files you have duplicates of on your storage devices. That means that if you have the same song in two separate files, with totally different file names, Anti-Twin will not be fooled and will let you know that the file’s content is a duplicate, ignoring the file name and tag information completely. So, you might have a file named “The Beatles – Come Together.mp3” and a duplicate of that file named “TBCT.mp3” and Ant-Twin will note the duplicate’s existence because the bit for bit comparison shows that the file’s content is the same.

Anti Twin Screen 3So, once, you have scanned your system and discovered those duplicates (remember, it scans for everything, not just music or video!) you will then have a few options as to what to do with them. Anti-Twin will offer you the option to delete, move, or rename those duplicates in whatever way you choose. It will even let you work with them in batches, using the standard checkbox method to select which items to take action on before pressing the button. When you first do a search for those files, you may be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of search options, but I can assure you that the program is very easy to use even the first time. For basic searches, just select the folder you want to scan for dupes, and click the big Search For Duplicates button. For more specific searches you can add a second folder for comparison, include or exclude subfolders, or even select a specific file to look for duplicates that match only that file. Additionally, one of the coolest things Anti-Twin does is to do a pixel by pixel comparison of image files the same way it does a byte for byte comparison of other kinds of data files.

The Verdict: For searching and managing duplicate files on your system, whether your aim is to clean up your disk space or just find a specific copy of a file, Anti-Twin is one of the best solutions out there. Add to that the fact that it has no cost, a robust documentation and help system on their website, and a whole host of languages supported, and it’s the only program I will be using for duplicate file detection and management.

Until next time, my friends!

Get Anti-Twin for all Windows (32 und 64 Bit) and also for Wine on Linux or Mac, and for ReactOS  here.