6
Apr

Double Double, Lots of Duplicate Trouble!

   Posted by: HystoryByts   in Genealogy, Research, Software, Technology

One thing I discover is I’ll often have to clean up after myself on the computer. And that can be really tedious. You know what I mean, we go out and shoot a bunch of digital gravestone photographs, and the camera names them DM308393.jpg, DM308394.jpg, DM308395.jpg, etc. Once I get home, I save and scan through them for the best ones for my personal use, and will then rename them JohnPaulJones1831-1898.jpg so I can see what each photo is easily. Sometimes I resize them down to smaller images. But the end result (besides some great documentation!) is that I end up with multiple copies of the same file on my computer.

Have you ever downloaded your pictures one weekend, then the next time you use the camera, it downloads the old ones again along with the new ones? Again, another easy way we end up with multiple copies of the same file.

Normally, I want to keep just two: the original, which is stored in folders sorted by date the image was taken, and the renamed one I’m using as my source within my research. Invariably, I end up with three or four copies, and that can really clutter up your hard drive.

Along with the other regular maintenance I do on my computer (yes, you SHOULD be doing computer maintenance!) I’ve been checking out duplicate finder software, which does just what it sounds like: it scans your system, looking for duplicate images. Not only can it search and compare by file name or size, but also by visual similarity. But a word of warning: DO NOT run these programs expecting them to scan your system while you wait! The scan can take quite some time, especially the first time you run it. These is an excellent tool for someone who takes a ton of pictures and wants to easily find the best ones to keep or print. WARNING: if you take three or four photos of the same headstone, just at a slight angle of difference or distance, these programs may tell you each photo is a duplicate, when they are actually slightly different. These programs allow you to choose the best one for your purpose and remove the others, if you want to. Easy to use, and they certainly free up disk space on your computer. Simply search on Google for “duplicate photo cleaner” or “find duplicate photos” – be prepared to sort though quite a few. Just remember there is no “right” program for everyone – other than the one you will actually USE!

But, you’re asking, what if I have duplicate files on my computer that are not photographs? Can I do anything about those? You might want to look at WinMerge, another free open source program. WinMerge can compare both folders and files, and it shows you the differences in a visual text format that is easy to understand and handle. When it compares files, it can actually show you the differences within the files – so it’s showing you line by line what’s changed. This may be more than you want to know, but it may also help you not to delete that file you worked on and found all the typos in last week! WinMerge will also allow you to merge changes between different file versions. This program provides a little more than just finding extra copies of files – and it’s free! There are othr

Ever copy emails from one folder to another in your computer and discover you have two or three copies of those as well? If you use Thunderbird for your email, there’s an Add-On called (strangely enough) Remove Duplicate Messages.

I strongly recommend that you consider adding duplicate files to something that you include in regular maintenance on your computer.

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This entry was posted on Friday, April 6th, 2012 at 12:44 pm and is filed under Genealogy, Research, Software, Technology. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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