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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Several hours ago I put CCleaner to work using the "Duplicate Finder" tool (listed under "Disk Analyzer" on the tools menu) with just one drive selected to search for duplicate files: my WD Passport 2 TB external drive. The drive is nearly full and I thought cleaning out duplicates would be a good start. The first folder on the drive is the "backups" folder, naturally as folders are listed alphabetically. The duplicate finder tool has been running now for a good 5 hours and A) it appears to have discovered hundreds if not thousands of duplicates, and B) after 5 hours it still has not gotten past the backups folder. I guess that shouldn't be a surprise as the backups folder holds 693 GB of data from various backups. The large number of duplicates already found is also no surprise as the laptops backed up would have had alot of the same data on them.
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At this point I see that the very long list of duplicates already found are listed in pairs or groups of 3 or 4 duplicates in some cases and the list goes on forever, in the thousands already and still in the backups folder. What has me trembling with trepidation is how those duplicates will be assessed as to which to keep and which to delete at the end of this search function, when I find myself staring at a list of 50,000 or more duplicate files. If it is going to be a manual task, evaluating every pair of duplicates and physically selecting which to keep and which to delete..... I shudder to even finish that sentence...

Can anyone tell me how the removal of duplicates works? Is there an automatic option with CCleaner? I have searched for that information but found no answer which is why I'm back here pestering you all. If it is in fact a manual process where I have to click on each file I want to delete, please someone tell me quickly and I'll abort the process now and only chalk up 5 or so hours of wasted time. Because manually clicking on each one to delete duplicates isn't happening in this lifetime I'm afraid.

Beyond that, though I remain hopeful CCleaner will have an automatic duplicate removal option, I remain equally frightened it may not... if it does not, can anyone recommend a free duplicate finder and removal tool that is not manual? If so I will write off the last 5 or 6 hours and start over. Help appreciated!!
 

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You do not need to keep all of your previous backups. Maybe just the latest one and one or two more. Anything older then 30 days is not going to be useful. You should delete them.
Here are instructions on using Duplicate File Finder in CCleaner.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Update: For years now, whenever I move from one device to a new/different one, I copy useful data from the old device and save it to an archive on an external drive. This has been my way of doing a "back up" for some years.

Since obtaining a 2TB external drive in 2013, every time I do one of my "backups" I feel so rich with abundant space, I'll save data with abandon, careless of size or whether it may include data already saved to the drive previously…. such concerns are tedious. I’m a wealthy owner of mass storage with room to spare, what does it matter? Today I learned precisely what, indeed.

After running for over 12 hrs CCleaner completed the search, and while it was clearly a long list, I couldn't see anywhere in the results how many duplicates were actually found. I learned earlier today that removing duplicate files has to be performed manually so I really wanted to know the magnitude of the job I was looking at. Beneath the search results, I saw an option "save to text file" and hoping a text file might shed some light, clicked on it.

Generating a simple text file is a usually quick process, so the time it took on this occasion was worrisome. And the document that finally appeared only confirmed fears when it crashed the system rather than open as requested. After alot of messing around I managed to get the beast to open in Word 2002 and promptly set out to do a little math...

Scrolling through a few pages, I estimated on average 10 files being displayed per page (ie., 5 pairs of duplicates, each file spanning several lines of the page with text). Now to just multiply that by the number of pages... a number not immediately apparent, apparently..... When I found it I was not prepared.

CCleaner found 28, 220 pages of duplicate files in my 2TB external drive. I didn’t know a text document could even be that big. No wonder it kept crashing the system.

So, back to the math... 28,220 pages averaging 10 files per page... Alrighty then, less than 300,000 files to sort through. No worries. I didn't have anything planned for the next few years. 🙄
 

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When you preform a back up try to save each one in separate folder and date it for easier reference
 

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So I would not use CCleaner for anything. Of the times I use it in the past if ended up removing files that I needed and/or registry entry's that the OS needed to operate correctly.

I've been miffed at Microsofts updated File Explorer since it went from a plus and minus sign next to folders to the 3 tier one it's been using as it makes file management a pain.

You really need to learn how to do file management or simply take the time to manually delete the oldest files on that 2TB drive.

It's a horrible task to use the file manager that's in the last several versions Windows. Explorer++ is a better file manager the the one in windows. It's also free.

I'd open up File Manager or Explorer++ and select the details view then reorder the displayed folders by date with the oldest displaying at he top (ascending) then simply delete the oldest folders first.

If you are having issues with Windows search, which is just as horrible as File Manager IMO, then download UltraFileSearch Lite, which is also free and use its advanced search capabilities to find the older folders.

If you where just saving backups then it should be an easy process to figure which folders are the oldest. If you like me also stored other things on that 2TB drive then your gonna have to spend some time going through the folders to determine what you want to save and want to delete.

I would never use a program that finds duplicate files as a means of clearing drive space. Been burnt too many times using applications that clear files for you. So manually delete them yourself.

How every you decide to proceed please DO NOT USE CCleaner to do it! It's not a virus or malware but it can do considerable damage to your OS, just like a virus, if you use it's default options.

You'll be better off deleting the old files or folders yourself. If you really trust yourself you can select the folder you want to delete then hold down the shift key then press the delete key which with permanently delete the folder and files. Holding the shift key down while deleting keeps the files from going to the recycle bin.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
OK thanks ya'll for the feedback. Any way I slice it, cleaning up that 2TB drive will be a chore. At this point I have to weigh up whether the time required to straighten it out isn't worth more than the cost of another drive. In that event I'll just note what all the drive contains in a document and shelve it, to be accessed as necessary (if necessary). Cheers, all advice appreciated.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
PS what I will do, though, is use more discretion with any new storage device going forward!!
 
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