Even though many of us now use our smartphones and tablets for common tasks like exchanging emails or surfing the web, desktop and laptop PCs still have the edge when it comes to dealing with large amounts of information. Most importantly, it’s the huge variety of very elaborate and powerful applications available for PCs that make them so great. Fequal is a handy desktop application for Windows that allows you to find identical files on your system. It also allows you to swiftly remove duplicates from your hard disk with a click, and even replace them with shortcuts, symbolic links or hard links to the copies that you’re keeping. If you’re not sure what symlinks or hard links are, they are basically pointers registered on the file system to a specified location. Unlike shortcuts, symbolic links do not take your precious disk space, but are treated as files by programs.
The usage of Fequal (or Find Equal Files) is pretty straightforward. Click the Directory button and then specify the source directory that you want to scan for equal (duplicate) items. You can configure a few options prior to scanning the selected folder, such as whether or not to search in subdirectories, check links, include empty files, and check files completely or just a fixed initial part ofm them (specified in MB). In addition, you can specify a particular file extension next to the directory path, which forces Fequal to only scan for the specified file type. When ready, click ‘Search’.
The application will start analyzing the selected folder and present you with a list of all duplicates found based on your preferences. From there onward, you can directly open the folder that contains a duplicate, delete it, or substitute its shortcut. Similarly, you can replace a duplicate file with a hard or symbolic link to the original version (that you’re keeping). When available, Fequal displays a preview of the file (such as an image) in the right pane. This feature makes it easier to take a look at the file you’re about to remove or substitute with a link.
You can select a different set of equal files via the list at the bottom. The Next and Previous buttons let you navigate between these groups. Similarly, you can refresh this list, remove the selected group from it, or clear all groups in it in one go.
Overall, it’s an extremely useful app for quickly taking care of duplicate files on your computer. It works on Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8.