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Finding Duplicate Image Files

by Alan German

You probably have lots of duplicate files scattered over your hard disk. However, today’s hard disks are huge and so retaining a number of duplicate files isn’t necessarily a major problem. The problem is more likely to be that, because your hard disk is so big, tracking down the duplicates in order to delete them is quite difficult.

This can be especially true for digital image files (each of which can be several MB) since you may well have the same image stored in different folders and under different file names. Wouldn’t it be nice if a software utility would search the content of images rather than just the file names? Well, if this is what you want, give VisiPics a try.



Implementing a scan is simply a matter of navigating to a disk or folder, pressing the “Add folder” key (the right-arrow with the plus sign), and pressing the “Start” button (the green forward arrow). After a few seconds, thumbnails of prospective duplicate images are shown in the left window.

By default, VisiPics starts up with a “Loose” setting for its image comparison algorithm; however, a slider lets you quickly make the comparisons much more strict and hence limit the number of false positives.

Note for example, in the above screenshot the loose comparison has identified many “duplicate” images. A review of a few of these hits proves to be quite instructive as to how the program can be useful, and why using a tighter file comparison is likely desirable.

The first pair of images selected were inspiron_installed_01.jpg and inspiron_installed_02.jpg. Note that these have different file names, the reason being that they are screen captures of the list of installed programs from “Uninstall a program” in the Windows’ control panel. Since the list would not fit on the screen, I captured two (different) screen images to record the two halves of the list. So, while the two images do have the same general format, the actual content (the files listed) are in fact quite different.

In contrast, while the second pair of images also has different file names – img_3084.jpg and img_3084_small.jpg – these are actually the “same” photograph. However, in this case, the “small” version has been resized for use as a thumbnail on a web page.

Finally, note the three “under construction” signs near the bottom of the left window. Two of these are copies of the very same file, with the same file name, but located in different folders. Thus, these two files are true duplicates (albeit deliberately stored in different folders for different purposes). The third is the original image, with a different file name, a larger file size, and stored in yet another folder.

If the VisiPics’ slider is set to “Strict”, all of the near-comparisons noted above are removed from the list of hits and only the two, true duplicate, construction signs remain. So, this slider becomes a powerful tool for drilling down to the level of image duplication that suits an individual user.

VisiPics also includes an image viewer. Hovering the mouse over any thumbnail displays the underlying image in the lower window and shows the path, file name, image size and date. Left-clicking on any thumbnail “marks” the image for future action – either delete or move. Using this feature multiple duplicate images can be quickly marked and sent to the Recycle Bin.

So, if you think your hard drive is full of duplicate image files that could readily be removed to save space and keep things tidy, why not give VisiPics a try?

Bottom Line:

VisiPics (Freeware)
Version 1.31
Guillaume Fouet

Originally published: September, 2014

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