Computer Help forum

General discussion

deleting duplicate files

by bob per / June 4, 2009 1:01 AM PDT

Have windows xp pro and when I run ccleaner it shows quite a few duplicate files.My question is do I check all and remove or will that create any problems?

Discussion is locked
You are posting a reply to: deleting duplicate files
The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Please refer to our CNET Forums policies for details. All submitted content is subject to our Terms of Use.
Track this discussion and email me when there are updates

If you're asking for technical help, please be sure to include all your system info, including operating system, model number, and any other specifics related to the problem. Also please exercise your best judgment when posting in the forums--revealing personal information such as your e-mail address, telephone number, and address is not recommended.

You are reporting the following post: deleting duplicate files
This post has been flagged and will be reviewed by our staff. Thank you for helping us maintain CNET's great community.
Sorry, there was a problem flagging this post. Please try again now or at a later time.
If you believe this post is offensive or violates the CNET Forums' Usage policies, you can report it below (this will not automatically remove the post). Once reported, our moderators will be notified and the post will be reviewed.
Collapse -
more info
by jeff_windows_team / June 4, 2009 2:47 AM PDT

Well for starters what files are showing up duplicated? If you are uncertain Bing the file types and find out if they are safe to delete or ask the Cnet community.

Windows Outreach Team

Collapse -
Duplicate file names . . .
by Coryphaeus / June 4, 2009 4:37 AM PDT

can appear in different directories. Be sure they are not used by different programs. Especially .dll files. Deleting them can cause major problems.

Collapse -
Duplicate files
by Rose80 / June 17, 2009 12:44 AM PDT

I use a programme to delete duplicate files, which is called Clone Remover. How to choose a good duplicate file finder? ( To my mind the main thing is efficiency of it. It must do its job. That's why I clean my PC with the help of such one. And I now I have no problems with checking and removing the duplicates on my PC.

Collapse -
by msgale / June 19, 2009 11:34 AM PDT
In reply to: Duplicate files

1. The names may match, but the versions may not.
2. Some programs look for certain files in specific locations.
3. If you really need the space the duplicates use, get a bigger disk.

Collapse -
Never Use Check All !
by Zouch / June 19, 2009 10:44 PM PDT

As others have cautioned, deduplication carries some risk. NEVERsimply Check All and delete - you need to check each duplicate and if you are sure you know which the duplicate is and KNOW that you don't need it, go ahead on a one by one basis. "quite a few" doesn't seem like worth the effort but your call.

This applies to system files, personal data files are much less risky.

Do use the built in Disk Clean Up routine in disk properties, do defragment at least when advised by the defragmenter to do so and do check your temporary directories for junk lying around, which may not be duplicate.

Collapse -
If it ain't broke, don't fix it!
by alswilling / June 20, 2009 4:15 AM PDT

I assume that you're talking about duplicate dll or other files related to software function and not duplicate images of you and your uncle Joe showing off the "big one" that you caught on your last fishing trip, or a duplicate of that nasty letter you wrote but never delivered to your boss telling him just what he could do with your job and how far he could shove it.

Occasionally there can be duplicate files on a machine due to upgrading a particular software program to a newer version--or reverting back to an earlier version. New versions don't necessarily put the same files in the same locations, usually by design; but poor design if you ask me. More often than not, though, there are duplicate files on your computer because more than one program uses that particular file but in different versions. Sometimes the duplicate files are to avoid stalling, freezing, or crashing that can happen when more than one program is using the same file at the same location at the same time. That was once an aggravating issue when running two MS Office applications simultaneously or when two or more documents were open in Word, Excel, or FrontPage.

The best rule of thumb to follow when it comes to computers is, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!"

Another rule that would serve you well is don't delete it if you don't know what it is or why it's there! DLL, SYS, EXE, CAB, and other such files are each associated with specific software programs or operating system functions. If you don't know which software programs are using them, then do yourself and the person who repairs your computer a huge favor and leave the files alone.

There have been four separate incidents where I have had to spend days tracking down and repairing problems on my wife's computer because she deleted one or more duplicate software or system files.

Unless you have upgraded a program or have uninstalled a lot of software that have left a lot of unnecessary files on your machine, odds are that both files are being used.

One exception is when you have uninstalled software that has left behind its directory and a lot of files inside the directory after rebooting. Even if you are planning to upgrade to the newer version or reinstall the software, there is no reason for the directory of an uninstalled program, or the files that it contains, to still exist. In that case, the directory and files within it may be safely deleted, particularly if you are reinstalling software that has begun to malfunction. Most malfunctions are due to corrupted (or missing) files. The file that is corrupt may be one of the files left behind after the uninstall process. In any case, all the remnant files should be deleted so the installer will have to install fresh copies of everything.

I don't care what helper software you use to aid you in the task, deleting duplicate files is not a good idea unless you know beyond question that the particular file and file version that you are deleting is no longer needed by any program on your computer.

If you have a sudden attack of Adrian Monk's Syndrome and just MUST delete one of the duplicate files or die trying, ALWAYS delete the OLDER version of the file. The exception to that rule would, of course, be if you have reverted back to an earlier version of the software that uses the earlier version of that file. Then the earlier version of the duplicate files would be the obvious one to keep. The wise thing to do, though, would be to uninstall the software that uses the file in question and see if the uninstall process deletes one of the duplicate files. If so, your problem of determining which version to keep is solved.

In order to avoid all kinds of possible problems caused by deleting the wrong file from the wrong location, deleting files from a computer, other than uninstalling a software program that you no longer want, is best left to someone who knows what he or she is doing.

Likewise with editing the registry.

Just because you don't know what it is or why it's there doesn't mean it doesn't belong.

It's true that you can't have duplicate files in the same directory, because the computer's OS won't allow it; but that doesn't mean that there can't or shouldn't be duplicate files in different directories. Sometimes that's the way it has to be for everything to be able to work correctly and work together.

Collapse -
by porsche10x / June 20, 2009 4:42 AM PDT

While I can't think of any specific examples, sometimes an apparent duplicate system file in an unusual location is actually a disguised virus. As mentioned, I wouldn't delete anything unless I was sure of what it was.

Collapse -
It's not an either/or choice
by DangMI / June 21, 2009 9:35 AM PDT

Lots of good points and cautions already made, including if it ain't broke...

But, the deleting is not the only choice--move the possible duplicate(s) to a folder called "Possible Junk 6-09" and see if you have any problems. Safest is to do this one file at a time and make sure you use your favorite and mission-critical programs in between. If there's a problem, move it back. Then, when a few months have gone by, and you've had no problems, delete the folder--that's why putting the name in the date is handy. If you suspect location might be important, rename the file in place by adding something standard to its name--you don't want to forget the real name in case you have to change it back--I usually just add "junk" to the end of the file name. All of this takes advantage of the fact that, as far as Windows is concerned, if it doesn't have the same name and isn't where I left it, then it doesn't exist. Use that blindness to your advantage!

Collapse -
duplicate finder 2009
by joh201 / June 29, 2009 9:52 PM PDT

If you are running low on hard disk space, the best thing to do before you start deleting files is to eliminate duplicate files saved in your hard drives first.

An example of software that locates files and documents is the Duplicate Finder 2009. You download it free from

Collapse -
Duplicate Finder
by wonn1377 / August 2, 2009 9:15 PM PDT

having duplicate files in a system always be a problem for the users. so u have to remove the duplicates from ur pc, i always use a programme called duplicate file finder it will remove duplicates with accuresy.

Download Free :

Collapse -
Directory Report
by AllanBraun / August 2, 2009 11:06 PM PDT

Hi Bob

When searching for duplicate files you should skip over the windows directory. I would only delete data files - music, photos, video. Best to delete to the recycle bin just in case you need the files back. This all can be done with Directory Report

Collapse -
Rose80, Your Post Was Removed
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / August 22, 2009 6:26 AM PDT

Digging up old threads to continually post a link to your personal favorite blog is considered SPAMMING and is against forum policies..

Thank you for considering our forum policies in the future.


Popular Forums
Computer Help 51,912 discussions
Computer Newbies 10,498 discussions
Laptops 20,411 discussions
Security 30,882 discussions
TVs & Home Theaters 21,253 discussions
Windows 10 1,672 discussions
Phones 16,494 discussions
Windows 7 7,855 discussions
Networking & Wireless 15,504 discussions


The most beautiful phone ever has one wildly annoying issue

The Samsung Galaxy S8's fast speeds and fantastic curved screen make it a top phone for 2017, but the annoying fingerprint reader could sour your experience.