How to Find Duplicate Files with Different Names on Windows PC and Mac

Rosa Reyes
April 09, 2024 Preview 7.9K Preview 1
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A set of duplicate files is two or more files that are exactly identical, regardless of their file names. (A “file name” is simply referred to as a “name” in the rest of this article.) It’s possible for these files to have the same name or different names. The name sometimes can give you a hint whether two files are duplicates and sometimes can’t.

Duplicate files can take up storage space and lead to disorganization, so you may want to find and delete them. But this can take time and patience, especially if they have different names. This article shows you how to find duplicate files with different names in two ways on Windows PC and Mac, including a very easy and quick way.


How to find duplicate files with different names automatically on Windows PC and Mac

The best way to find differently named duplicate files on a Windows or Mac computer is to use software like Cisdem Duplicate Finder due to the great efficiency and high accuracy. When comparing files to detect duplicates, this piece of software compares the content only and ignores the name.

Here are some of the benefits of this method.

  • Find duplicate images, videos, audios, Word documents, PDFs, spreadsheets, presentations, texts, ebooks, archives, etc.
  • Mostly automatic while allowing you to control and customize
  • Support Windows PC, Mac, external storage devices, and even cloud services
  • Easy to use for everyone

Below are the steps.

Step 1. Install Cisdem Duplicate Finder.

Download and install the software on your computer. Open it.

Free Download Windows 11/10/8/7 Free Download macOS 10.11 or later

Step 2. Add the location(s) to scan for duplicate files.

To find duplicate files in a folder/drive, add the folder/drive using drag and drop or the Add button. (The Add button is recommended on Mac.)To find duplicate files in and across multiple locations, add these locations.

two folders are added

To scan a location on an external hard drive or in a cloud storage service, please first connect the drive to your computer or install and set up the service’s desktop app.

Step 3. Click the Scan button.

Click the Scan button to start the scan. Before you click the button, you can customize the settings if needed.

Step 4. View the duplicate files that have been found.

When the scan is complete, the results window will appear, displaying all the found duplicate files, including the ones with different names. You can conveniently view, sort and search them.

the results window displaying seven sets of duplicate files

Step 5. Select duplicates for removal.

In each set of duplicate files, the software has already automatically selected all but one file for removal, saving you from manually selecting. But if you want, you can select/deselect files by hand.

In addition, there are selection rules to help you mass select. On the left side of the results window, highlight the sets that you want to apply a rule to. Next, choose a desired rule.

the results window showing that duplicates are selected

Step 6. Click the Delete button.

Click the Delete button to remove all the selected duplicate files. Confirm the deletion.

Tip: As with any other types of duplicate files, it’s possible to have duplicate photos with different names. You can effortlessly find and eliminate them by just following the steps above. In addition, the said software can identify photos that look the same to the naked eye but have different dimensions, file sizes or formats (regardless of how they are named). To set the software to do this, turn on the similar image detection in settings.

the settings window


How to find duplicate files with different names manually on Windows PC and Mac

The manual method can be time and patience consuming, especially when compared to the automatic method. But if there aren’t many files on your computer, the manual method is not unpractical. And there are also tricks that can help improve the efficiency.

Step 1. Open File Explorer on a Windows computer or Finder on a Mac.

Step 2. In this file manager, open the folder from which you want to remove duplicate files.

Step 3. On a Windows PC, enter “kind:” in the search field and then choose a file type (like Picture). On a Mac, press Command-F, highlight this folder (instead of This Mac) by clicking it, click the pop-up menu next to Kind and then choose a file type (like Image).

entering kind: in the search field of File Explorer bringing up Picture and other file types for users to choose from

Now the current File Explorer or Finder window is displaying only files of the chosen type.

Step 4. Choose a view mode, which depends on the file type you choose and the computer you use.

For example, to spot duplicate images more easily, you may want to choose the Large icons mode (on Windows) or the Icons mode (on a Mac). For non-image file types, you may want to choose a view mode that provides more file information, like the Details mode or List mode.

the File Explorer window showing six view modes and three sets of duplicate photos

Step 5. Choose a sorting order. Some common sorting orders are Name, Size, Date Modified and Date Created. You can experiment with different orders to find the one with which it’s the easiest for you to compare files.

(Although choosing Name as the sorting order can hardly help you look for identical files that have different names, it can help find the ones with the same names. So, you might still want to try this sorting order.)

Step 6. Now you may have already seen some sets of duplicate files. To confirm them and to find more sets, you can compare files in detail.

Step 7. In each set, keep one file and delete the rest one(s).

Step 8. Repeat steps 3 to 7 to deal with another type of duplicate files.



Does the name matter when you find duplicate files?

If two files have exactly identical content, they are a set of duplicate files, regardless of their names.

In such a set of files, the files can have totally different names or only slightly different names. When you manually search for duplicate files, some names can give you a hint. For example, the name of a duplicate created by copying and pasting is likely to be named in this format – the original name plus the word “copy”. It’s easy to sort and spot files with such names in a file manager, so such duplicates are somewhat easy to find.

When you use duplicate file finder software, the name doesn’t matter or help. Such software uses hashing algorithms (e.g. MD5) or other algorithms to compare files and identify the duplicates.

When a human being identifies, for example, duplicate PDF files or photos, he or she will look at the name and the file size and view the files’ actual content in a PDF or image viewer. To make the identification, a duplicate file finder will check the hash value, file size and file type or the hash value only (but not the name), which is automatic and fast. This is why software is quick and effective in finding differently named duplicate files.

MD5 hash value of a file is checked and displayed


When you find duplicate files with different names but same content, you can do it by hand or using a duplicate file finder. The latter is recommended. It can use algorithms to quickly calculate the hash values of files and determine whether two or more files are identical or not without looking at the name at all. You can eliminate such files regularly to maintain an organized computer.

Rosa Reyes
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Rosa has worked in Mac software industry for more than eight years. She believes that the purpose of software is to make life better and work more productively. In addition to writing, Rosa is also an avid runner.

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  • Josef Lechle

    Using smart folder can locate and delete most of my duplicate files. the professional tool you recommended will be more efficient. thanks for your sharing!

    1 years ago commonReply

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