How do I use CCleaner for Windows’ Duplicate File Finder?

This page focuses on how you can use the Duplicate Finder tool. If you don't already know, we can also help you to understand what the Duplicate Finder is

Where you can find Duplicate Finder:

Open CCleaner, go to Tools and then select the Duplicate Finder to start the tool. This presents a list of options in the Match by part of the Duplicate Finder user interface, allowing you to search for duplicated files via these categories:

  • Name
  • Size
  • Date Modified
  • Content (this also requires you to select the Size checkbox)

Duplicate Finder only searches for files via the categories you select:

Everything you select in Match by has to match with two or more files on your PC for CCleaner to identify a file as a duplicate of another.

1. What do we mean by this? See this example:

If you select both Name and Size, this instructs CCleaner to find two files that are precisely the same name and size. In this case, these requirements have to be met by the files stored on your PC for CCleaner to find something for you. 

How to use Duplicate Finder's Ignore function:

You can select which files to ignore using the checkboxes in the Ignore section of the user interface (see screenshot). Similarly, files must match none of the selected Ignore settings for CCleaner to identify them as duplicates. For example, if a file is marked as hidden in the computer’s file system and you've selected Hidden Files in Ignore (see screenshot for reference), CCleaner won't consider it a duplicate. This still applies even if it does match the criteria.

The Include and Exclude tabs:

You can then specify extra drives and/or folders to include or exclude using the Include and Exclude tabs. To start the finder, click Search.

CCleaner Professional, Tools, Duplicate Finder window. See information above.

Note: If you set an Include setting to Include files only, it only Includes the specific folder you select. Please select Include files and subfolders to have it check subfolders as well.

You can delete files by ticking the checkbox and selecting Delete Selected. Please note it is not safe to removeall the duplicates CCleaner finds.

Which duplicates should I delete?

The Duplicate Finder can search for files with the same file Name, Size, Modified date, and Content; however, it cannot determine which files are needed and which can be safely deleted.

How do I know which files are safe to delete after running a search? 

We recommend you review the file path and, if necessary, the file itself to ensure that it is, in fact, a duplicate and not needed by a program on your computer. You can open a file from the Duplicate Finder screen by right-clicking the file > Open Containing Folder, then double-clicking the file in the window that opens.

1. Duplicates of media files

It is normally safe to delete duplicates of your personal pictures or films, but as before, ensure that you verify the file path and the files' content before you delete anything.

2. Select duplicates in a specific folder

You can do this by side-clicking a file from the Duplicate Finder list (see screenshot), choosing Select duplicates in from the menu, and selecting the folder you want.  Doing this allows CCleaner to check for duplicates in that location.

CCleaner Professional, Tools, Duplicate Finder window. Results page.

Can you delete duplicate files located in C:\Windows or C:\Program Files?

We recommend that you don't delete any duplicates located in C:\Windows or C:\Program Files; some programs on your PC are likely to need these to run properly. 

What other options are there with Duplicate Finder?

You can find additional selection options by right-clicking on particular files. Here are some examples of these options:

  • Excluding duplicates in a location
  • Restricting the list of results to a particular location
  • Selecting all duplicates of a particular type in a duplicate group
  • Saving the list of detected duplicates to a text file (for looking at later)
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