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I have a dozen of folders that are duplicates. Within them are a few dozen folders that are duplicates so i have a few thousand copies of the same files and folders. Many of them are exactly the same while others have changes in a few files.

What utility can i use to delete folders that are copies of others with no changes? if one or more files in that folder have been changed i dont want it deleted (and i'd like the subfolders to have a shortcuts to a copy but thats not required). Is there a utility to do this?

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Perhaps OS/2? Maybe Plan 9? There are lots of operating systems to pick from. –  Dennis Williamson Jan 7 '11 at 18:23

3 Answers 3

re: automated

WinMerge is not totally automated, but you can delete whole sets of duplicate folders at once by control-clicking on them.

You can limit your search to only folders by changing the Filter: field from "." to "*".

You can control-select all the duplicate folders and then delete the ones from the right or left side, or both.

More: my problem is an inherited PC; the previous user downloaded hundreds of zipped folders, extracted them in place (in the Users/*/Downloads folder) then either copied or re-extracted them into folders one level up.

It's still a rather tedious combinatorics exercise: I have to compare each of 20 or so folders against the other 19, but I can control-select the whole set and delete the unwanted ones.

-steve

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Don't know that there's going to be one tool to accomplish what you want. But by combining, you may be pretty close. Directory tools, comparison tools, duplicate file tools ...

Take a look at Altap Salamander (shareware) & in particular it's Compare Directories utility. Compare can use various methods or combinations; size, date/time, attributes, contents, & subdirectories.

So if you have two similar trees that you are looking at, it can quickly filter out those sections of the tree that are identical (based on your comparison method) & then start comparing the different trees that are left.

Two top level dirs. R: & S:. R: is kind of the Source, & S: is kind of the Backup. Originally they were the same, purposely duplicated, but over time there were additions to R: & otherwise rearranged & cleaned up.

The highlighted (red) directores are not identical (per my comparison method), so deleting any of the S: directories that are not highlighted will only remove duplicate directory trees.

A#1, _from_USR, beat, bla, black ... all can safely be deleted.

Now, _from_C is different (highlighted in red).

enter image description here

So if I jump into the _from_C directory & run another Compare, again the difs are highlighted & those not can be deleted. So again I can safely delete from S: _ecclectic, _Instrumental, 12 Girls Band ... Now some directories are entirely new in R: & not in S: at all, like _flv & 10cc. And again some directories are different. So if I jumped into the corresponding _metal directories & Compared from there, I would come up with more diffs. In some cases I may have added an m3u or a screenshot (jpg) that didn't exist before, causing the diffs. So essentially the same, but a thing here or there that makes them not actually compare. And once you got into the bottom level directory in a particular tree, what the differences are becomes clear (usually). (With MP3, MS, WMP has a habit of messing with MP3 tags, which will both change the file date/time & contents, but not necessarily the size. I never use WMP because of that.)

enter image description here

Anyhow throwing a tool like Salamander into the mix (of various tools) I feel can be worthwhile. (Not to mention that Salamander is an excellent file manager too.)

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+1 but just noting i need the tool to find the directories for me. This one allows me to browse to both and ask it to check –  acidzombie24 Jun 4 '11 at 9:06

I duplicator tool will identify duplicated FILES. I would then use the folder's they are in as input to a DIFF. WinMerge is good for finding any difference in two folders. n-way Folder Diff will compare multiple roots but has much less friendly output.

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I use duplicate cleaner but like i said i have thousands of these folders. I'd need something more automatic –  acidzombie24 Jan 7 '11 at 18:06

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