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by JB Burke

Q. I've used my photos for various projects like slide shows, folders to share with friends, etc. Now I have duplicate copies of many photos, some with different names. How can I clean this out and reduce the storage overhead on my disk?

A. There's a free program that does that, for photos and other files as well. It's called Fast Duplicate File Finder, and can be found here. Download and save it somewhere you can find it, such as the desktop or your Downloads folder.

Double click the file to start installation, accept the agreement and click Next. Select Next on the next 3 screens, and then click Install. Click Finish to start the program. Click on the New Project icon at the top left. This will open a Browse for Folders list. Go through that list and select the folders that contain photos. If your photos are all in the My Pictures library, click on the box next to that.

There are choices to make at the lower left. Do you want it to automatically tag the older or newer versions of duplicate photos? Tagging makes it easy to get rid of the dups after the scan completes. Do you want to send the dups to the Recycle Bin, delete them outright, or move them to a different folder? After you've made those choices, click Scan in the lower right hand corner. You will get a Warning box, letting you know that the program's default is to protect system files and folders, so you don't accidentally delete those. Click OK.

When the scan finishes you will be presented with a window that shows how many duplicate groups and files were found. It compares file content – not file names. There could be more than one duplicate of a particular photo, so the files number may be higher than the groups number. Click OK and inspect the list of files names. The older ones will have a check mark next to them. When you're sure all is well, click on either Move Checked Files or Delete Checked Files. Problem solved.

Published: Courier 8/18/13 - Page 3C