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How to remove music duplicates?

Introduction.

A collection of digital music inevitably contains duplicate files. Some of them can be useful (like remixes, album vs. live version, etc.), others just occupy disk space and clutter playlists. Sometimes you may simply want to go lossless and replace your MP3 music with FLAC or APE. In such case you will need to delete MP3 duplicates. Doing it manually may take quite some time, so it would be nice to be able to apply some automatic solution. However, most duplicate finder tools will not be able to detect that some MP3 file is a duplicate of another FLAC file.

In general deleting duplicates will free up precious disk space without losing any useful information. We will see how to remove duplicates of music files with Music Duplicate Remover. The program supports all most popular formats of audio files and can recognize duplicates in different formats, with or without ID3 tags etc.

Step 1: Download and install the program.

Download Music Duplicate Remover to your computer and start the file. Follow on-screen instructions to install the duplicate remover.

Step 2: Start the program. Adjust duplicate search settings.

Start Music Duplicate Remover. Its main window will be shown:

Select folders to search for duplicates

You can easily notice that the interface is similar to Windows Explorer: on the left panel, there is a tree of folders on your computer. To scan a folder for duplicates, just tick the corresponding checkbox.

The right panel is almost empty at this moment, but we can see the two tabs here: "Search options" and "Grouping options". The first one is selected by default. Here we have the "Compare" dropdown list. It contains three preinstalled duplicate search profiles: "By ID3 tags", "By sound", and "By sound and ID3 tags". These profiles are not final, they simply offer different combinations of search parameters. You can edit or delete the profiles and add your own ones.

Now let's click the "Show settings" link (shown on the screenshot above) to take a look at the complete set of search parameters:

Duplicate search parameters

Here we can see what is preinstalled for the "By ID3 tags" profile. Only the fields that have a checkmark in the corresponding box will be compared in your files. The numbers next to the fields allow assigning different "weight" for different fields, that is, we can make the title field more important than the album field by assigning 100 to title and 50 to album.

The "Ignore fields with empty values" box controls how empty ID3 tags should be handled. We played with it a bit and decided that it should be disabled by default, which is for some reason not the case. So, if you decide to search for duplicates using ID3 tags, try disabling this option. This should deliver more precise results.

On the right, there is a "Compare by sound" area. Luckily, there are very few options to adjust, and finding duplicates by sound works great in the program, so we would prefer this option.

The "Supported formats" area can be used to enable or disable scanning files in various supported formats. For example, we can uncheck the "MP3" box, and the program will not scan any MP3 files.

Now a few words about the "Grouping options" tab:

Duplicate grouping options

Here we can add folders where duplicates are to be kept and folders where duplicates are to be deleted. This will allow the program automatically sorting lists of duplicates as we want.

In just the same way, on the right, we can assign priority to file extensions by putting most important file formats to the top of the list and choose how to prioritize bitrate. In our example, FLAC will be preferred over APE, MP3 comes on the third place. This means that if the program finds similar FLAC and APE files, FLAC will be marked as the original file, and APE will be marked for removal.

Of course, we will still review the list of duplicates manually, but these options will make our life much simpler.

Step 3: Find music duplicates.

Have necessary folders selected? For our example, we will use the "By sound" profile. Let's click the "Find duplicates" button on the toolbar. Music Duplicate Remover starts scanning:

Scanning for music duplicates

After scanning we will get this message:

Search for duplicates is complete

Click "OK". Now the list on the right is populated:

Duplicate files found

We can expand the list to see the duplicates. On the screenshot above, we can see files highlighted in green and red. These colors come from the "Grouping options" tab: we added one folder to the list of folders where duplicates must be kept, and the other folder is in the list of folders where duplicates must be deleted. Here we can see that the program has sorted all files correctly, marking unwanted duplicates for removal. However, we can also see that for the first pair of duplicates, both files are highlighted with green. This means that both of them are in the folder where duplicates must be kept. The program lists the duplicate anyway, but if we want to remove one of them, we should mark it for removal (check the corresponding box) manually. This option makes sure that we will not delete important files by mistake.

Finally, click the "Delete duplicates" button on the toolbar to remove the marked duplicates.

Remove music duplicates

The trial version of Music Duplicate Remover will delete up to 20 duplicates. If you like the program and its features, you can register it and remove all limitations.

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