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I have two large folders of music on my Windows 7 machine, each with many subfolders. What is the best way to combine the folders into one, keeping only one copy of duplicate files?

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4 Answers 4

Short version: It depends.

If you're sure that the duplicate music is going to be identical, then you can use a duplicate file finder to eliminate the duplicates. Once that's done you can consolidate however you want.

If you might have done things like tagged some songs and not others, then AllDup will help you out. It's a duplicate file finder that's smart enough to ignore tags on MP3 files. It might ignore tags with other audio types too, I've also heard that the author is pretty responsive, if you need an extra feature or two.

If you've got the same music in possibly different formats, (like some MP3, some FLAC, some AAC/MP4) then you'll need music library software that can help you organize all that music and find your best quality audio out of what's available. You might have to do some listening to see what sounds best to you though, there's no good standards for measuring audio quality*. MediaMonkey is one such program -- this isn't an advertisement that it will be any good for you, just an example of what you're looking for.

Finally, if your music collections are a mess with files of varying quality, some tagged, some not tagged, some named or tagged incorrectly, then quit downloading junk from LimeWire and copying crap from your friends and buy your own music. :-P For real though, at this point you'll need software like MusicBrainz Picard that can take an audio fingerprint of your songs, identify it against a music database, and then tag it correctly. Then go up to the previous option of getting some kind of library software to get everything organized.


*I've heard of things like EAQUAL, but they still have failings compared to real humans listening.

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+1 for the MusicBrainz Picard link alone (though the rest of the answer is good, too). I'm gonna use that! –  DCookie Feb 23 '11 at 23:27

Well maybe this is a too simple way but why don't you rename the second folder to the same name like the first one. Windows will merge the folders and you can overwrite double files.

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What you want is some kind of duplicate file finder :-) Do a Google search, there are lots to choose from. The one I use is this one http://www.afterdawn.com/software/desktop/misc_desktop_tools/fast_duplicate_file_finder.cfm It's freeware, so you don't have to pay. I use it very successfully for tidying up, and it copes with any file type.

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If you want something more sophisticated, try WinMerge.

WinMerge is an Open Source differencing and merging tool for Windows. WinMerge can compare both folders and files, presenting differences in a visual text format that is easy to understand and handle.

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How's that going to work for music files? WinMerge is for text files, no? –  DCookie Feb 23 '11 at 23:54
    
WinMerge can tell you if binary files differ. –  afrazier Feb 24 '11 at 0:11
    
Ahh. Never used it that way... –  DCookie Feb 24 '11 at 0:25

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