How to find duplicate video files with free software on Windows
There are two main situations where you may want to search your system for duplicate files. You try to free up disk space in the first, and make file lists more manageable in the second.
Many duplicate file finders can also find duplicate video files provided that the videos have the same size or name.
These programs fall short as soon as videos are available in different formats or resolutions, as they identify those videos as unique in this case.
That's the main reason why you need specialized software instead, as it will yield better results. This is especially true if you have hundreds or even thousands of video files on your system.
Don't let the name Similar Images confuse you; the program can detect duplicate images and videos. Unlike regular duplicate file finders, it won't simply compare file sizes or names, but do the following instead.
It generates a thumbnail for each video file that is stored in one of the folders that you want processed. It then compares the footprint of those thumbnails to find the duplicate video files.
What this means is that can it can find duplicates even if the video files in question use a different format, compression levels, resolutions, or other defining factors.
To speed things up, results are cached on the drive.
The first thing that you need to do is to add at least one folder that you want processed to the folder pane. You can add more folders if you like, and restrict the processing to files of a certain age if you want.
Then you can pick a processing option. The most common ones are:
- Normal Search compares all files against each other.
- Inclusive Search compares only files that reside in the same directory.
- Exclusive Search only compares files not in the same directory.
- Reference / Target Search compares files that are stored in a reference directory to files from other directories.
Here you can also change the match threshold using the slider at the top, or configure automatic deletion rules that will delete files automatically based on a priority list (for instance the smaller file, the lower resolution file, or the older file).
The processing is surprisingly fast but chance is that you will run into unknown errors during the process. The program supports several video formats but not all of them, which means that some formats won't be processed.
This should not be the case if you install FFThumb which is included in the install or corresponding codes, but that did not work for me either. It is possible that this is only a problem on 64-bit versions of Windows but I cannot say that for sure.
All duplicates are displayed as preview images after the initial scan. Each file is listed with its name, parent directory, file size, dimensions, type, CRC32 value and modification date and time.
Here you can delete one of the files that is displayed to you, or simply browse all duplicates before you start doing so.
If you have troubles running Similar Images on your system, you may want to try one of the following alternatives.
- Easy Duplicate Finder is a free traditional program that will scan directories for identical file sizes or names. It won't find identical videos that are available in different resolutions or formats, but can be used to sort out the most glaring duplicate files.
- Duplicate Video Search is not free, but it uses a video fingerprinting technology to detect video copies even if they are stored in different formats, resolutions or qualities. It supports a wide range of formats including avi, mkv, flv, wmv and mpg.
- Video Comparer is another commercial program. It too can detect duplicate videos even if those videos have been scaled, cropped, rotated or modified in other ways. All versions with the exception of the pro edition are limited in the number of videos that can be compared with each scan.