Find Equal Files: duplicate file finder with symbolic link feature

Martin Brinkmann
May 24, 2013

Duplicate files can take up quite a bit of storage space on your hard drive, especially if you happen to download in bulk from the Internet. You may end up wasting hundreds of Megabyte or even Gigabytes of storage space, and while you can go through all the files and folders manually, it is not really a practicable solution.

Find Equal Files is on first look another duplicate file finder for Windows. The program has a few aces up its sleeve though that make it stand out of the bulk of programs.

When you first start the program, an installation is not required, you are asked to pick a directory that you want the program to crawl. It will automatically include all folders in the directory structure, unless you disable that feature in the main interface before you click on the search button.

Here you can also change the wildcard file search *.* to match specific file types or names only that you are interested in. You can use it to only include image types, e.g. *.jpg, or audio files, e.g. *.mp3 in the search.

The search may take a while depending on the number of files stored in the directory. The program starts to display duplicate files even while it is still crunching numbers.

find equal files

Duplicates are automatically grouped in the lower pane. When you select a group here, all files that have been identified as equal are listed there. Depending on the file type, you may get a preview on the right. For some file types, only basic information such as the path, size and data are displayed in the interface.

You will notice right away that the program is not well suited to go through a huge list of duplicates. The main reason for that is that there is no option to deal with duplicate files automatically.

You have to go through the listing one by one to delete files manually or skip the deletion of files entirely for the group. An option to automatically delete all but one of the duplicate files would have been useful though.

What may be interesting on the other hand is the ability to create shortcuts, symbolic links or hard links to replace a duplicate file in a folder. While this may not be useful for image duplicates, it can help you save some space where applications are concerned.

The program does not explain the difference between the three options, and the help file appears to be in no working order at the time of writing.

  • Shortcut: replaces the duplicate file with a shortcut pointing to the original file.
  • Hard link: a mirrored copy of a target file that does not take up additional space on the hard drive. Cannot span across partitions or drives. Will still work if the original file is moved or deleted.
  • Symbolic link: Like a shortcut that points to the original file, but with the difference that it automatically redirects requests to the source file. It can span across partitions, drives and even network shares. Will break if the original file is moved or deleted.

This can be an interesting alternative to deleting files outright as you may use hard or symbolic links instead to retain any functionality without keeping physical copies of the files on the drives.


  1. You can right-click on files to execute actions on them instead of using the buttons on the right.
  2. F10 opens the native Windows Explorer menu that you can use to open the file or display its properties among other things.


Find Equal Files is a useful program if you want to remove a low to medium amount of duplicate files on your system, especially if you want to retain the functionality that the duplicate files have to offer. While that is usually not important for image or media files, it may come in handy where program files or important operating system files are concerned.


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  1. bardy said on October 16, 2014 at 6:38 pm

    You can use DuplicateFilesDeleter, it is a fast way to find and delete all duplicate files.

  2. Flyer said on May 26, 2013 at 2:39 pm

    “there is no option to deal with duplicate files automatically”
    Frankly speaking such working with found duplicates is at least as important as finding them.
    This is why I prefer NoClone software over few others. There such feature is called “Smart Marker”

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on May 26, 2013 at 3:14 pm

      I agree with that, but it is quite disheartening if the program returns thousands of duplicates that you have to go through manually. Most users prefer a one-click solution to issues like this. Hope you are well Flyer.

  3. xetal said on May 25, 2013 at 8:48 pm

    doesn’t work on xp :/
    needs at least vista

  4. Crodol said on May 25, 2013 at 4:33 am

    Thanks for explaining shortcuts, symbolic links and hard links but
    in which situation should each of the three options be used?

    1. blue_bsod said on May 25, 2013 at 12:19 pm

      For that matter, what is it’s method of finding files? By name? or other criteria? I suspect by name only as I have not come across a free program to do what I need it to do. I have a tonne of images I often bulk download and sometimes I get duplicate, triplicate or more copies of the same file each with a different name, and in some cases different sizes and even colour palettes.

      The program I currently use, “Duplicate Photo Finder”, by and it not only finds files according to the criteria I listed, it also finds files of different extensions and has options to swap the duplicate with the original (it automatically selects the largest best quality image in the best format as the original). It can work through multiple directories at once and has options to copy, move or delete duplicate files.

      But here’s something it has that makes it special. We can set the percentage (1% to 100%) of similarity for it to find. Lowering the percentage and it tends to group similar poses with slight differences in movement together, raising the percentage and it will find exact file duplicates by content and not limited to size, colour palette, file name or extension.

      On the results panel it will show the files with the percentages it matches if your range set includes that percentage.

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