Free Disk Cleanup – Find Duplicate Files and Large Folders – Recover Lost Sapce

folder_size_logo_100In our digital era the capacity of storage devices is increasing exponentially and while that leads to the thought that you will not ever need to perform a disk cleanup again after purchasing that 2 TB monster, it turns out not to be quite true. The high definition multimedia files provide stunning graphics and audio quality, but that comes at the price of larger files that can quickly fill up even the largest storage device on the market. Luckily there are free tools that can solve this issue and help to get rid of unnecessary large and duplicate files.

Identify Largest Files and Largest Folders

One of the easiest ways to free up disk space is to remove large files that you have stored in some hidden corner of your drive and do not even suspect that they are there. A free tool named Folder Size by MindGems Inc. can reveal this information quickly. All you have to do is to select the drive to be analyzed and the tool will list all files and folders together with their sizes and detailed information about various file attributes. The results can be quickly sorted by size for easier navigation. There is also a report that will list the top 50 largest files and folders inside a folder and all its sub-folders. The occupied space is visualized using nice pie or bar charts that can also be used for navigation. The tool resembles the Windows Explorer interface and is so intuitive that you will not ever need to open the user manual which nevertheless is present.

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Removing Duplicate Files

While removing duplicate files can recover a lot of disk space I would not recommend running such tool on your entire computer unless you are well aware how your operating system and programs work. The other option you have is to use a reputable free tool like Fast Duplicate File Finder (Recently included on the PCWorld Windows CD) that has an option to Protect System Files and Folders which is turned on by default and will not include any files used by the operating system in the results. In all cases it is best to run such tools over your personal files and folders rather than scanning a system drive. FDFF for short, provides options to find exact duplicate files and files with similar file names in its free version. The second one is quite useful when you need to identify multiple revisions of the same document named like: My CV.doc, My CV 2013.doc, Copy of My CV.doc and so on. Using the tool is pretty straightforward and a short tutorial with screenshots is presented after installation to quickly get you started. All you have to do is to add the folders to be scanned, select the scan method and start the scan. Some folders can be excluded from the scan or excluded from “auto-check” in order to be set as “source”. After the scan process is complete the duplicates are listed in groups of two or more files. There is an internal preview for images, video, audio and document files that is very helpful while reviewing the results.

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MindGems Inc provides freeware and commercial, end user and corporate solutions that are recognized on the market for their quality. The company provides also specialized Duplicate Photo Finder andDuplicate Songs Finder tools that perform real audio and image analysis in order to find similar photos and music. MindGems’ tools are used by more than a million users around the globe and are reviewed and published on all major software websites and magazines including ZDNet, CNet, PCWorld and PCMagazine. The company’s products come preinstalled on several brands of desktop and laptop computers.