How to Find and Mass Delete Google Drive Duplicate Files

Rosa Reyes
time February 23, 2022 Preview 10.1K
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Google Drive is one of the most popular cloud storage services. It allows users to easily store, access, share and collaborate on files from anywhere. As with any service, it’s not flawless. Users have complained about the Google Drive duplicate files problem.

The duplicate files in your Google Drive account take up precious space. Also, they can make it harder to find the files you need. This article will talk about how to find and delete duplicate files in Google Drive and how Google Drive deals with the duplicate files problem.

 

Part 1. How to find duplicate files in Google Drive and delete them on a Windows PC

Here is the best way for Windows 10 and 11 users to remove exact duplicate files from Google Drive all at once. Exact duplicate files are files that are exactly the same regardless of filename.

During the entire process, make sure that you have a good Internet connection.

1. On your computer, go to www.google.com/drive/download.

2. Click Download Drive for desktop.

3. Install the Google Drive app for Windows.

4. You will get a prompt, and click Sign in with browser. If not, click the icon in the Taskbar and click Sign in.

clicking the Google Drive icon in the Taskbar brings up the Sign in button

5. Sign in with your Google account.

6. Click the Google Drive icon in the Taskbar. Wait until you see Everything is up to date.

the Everything is up to date message

7. Download and install Cisdem Duplicate Finder. Open it.

Free Download

8. Open File Explorer. In the navigation pane on the left, click Google Drive (G:) to open it.

the navigation pane displays the Google Drive folder

9. Drag My Drive into this Google Drive duplicate finder app. Click Scan.

click Scan to find duplicate files in Google Drive

10. When the scan is complete, the All tab displays all the duplicate files found in your Google Drive. You can preview, sort and examine them.

a list of all the duplicate files found in Google Drive

11. This app already automatically selects duplicate files for mass removal. If you want, you can choose a desired selection rule the selection rule icon.

a list of selection rules

12. To delete the selected Google Drive duplicate files, click Delete.

The Google Drive app will detect and sync the deletion. The deleted duplicate files will go to the Bin (drive.google.com/drive/trash). You can get rid of them immediately by clicking Empty Bin. Or, they will be automatically deleted forever after 30 days.

Important note: Make sure that you know where to scan. To remove duplicate files from My Drive (drive.google.com/drive/my-drive), scan My Drive. To delete the duplicate files in Computers (drive.google.com/drive/computers), scan Other computers. To search your entire Google Drive for duplicates, scan Google Drive (G:).

the My Drive folder and Other computers folder in Google Drive

Tip: How to remove duplicate photos from Google Drive

You can easily get rid of exact duplicate photos by following the 12 steps above.

If there are also near duplicate photos in your Google Drive and you want to clean them up, here is a tip to help.

Before you click Delete in step 12, go to the Similar Images tab. This tab displays visually identical photos in different quality levels and visually similar photos. They are grouped together, and you can easily select the unwanted photos for removal.

the Similar Images tab

Part 2. How to find and delete Google Drive duplicate files on a Mac

This part will show Mac users how to identify exact duplicate files in Google Drive and get rid of them with a click. Exact duplicate files are files that are exactly identical regardless of filename.

During the entire process, make sure that your Internet connection is good.

1. Go to www.google.com/drive/download. Click Download Drive for desktop.

2. Install the Google Drive app for Mac. Open it.

3. In the Sign in to Google Drive window that appears, click Sign in with browser. Sign in, and the Google Drive app will restart.

the Sign in to Google Drive window offers the Sign in with browser button

4. Access the Google Drive app by clicking its icon in the menu bar. Wait until you see Everything is up to date.

the Everything is up to date message

5. Download and install Cisdem Duplicate Finder.

Free Download

Open the software.

6. Click the settings icon in the top right corner. Under the General tab, select Remove Permanently as the Removal Method.

the General tab

7. Click the plus icon the plus icon and add My Drive. Before you click, please read this note.

select Google Drive > My Drive

8. Click Scan.

the Scan button

9. Once the scan is done, this Google Drive duplicate file finder and remover will display all the duplicate files that it has found.

a list of duplicate photos and other duplicate files found in Google Drive

10. You can view them by file type, sort them and preview them.

11. The software has already automatically selected duplicate files for you to bulk delete. If you want, you can customize the selection manually or by choosing a selection rule.

customize the selection

12. Click Delete in the bottom right corner.

13. Click Yes to confirm the deletion.

The deleted files will go to Bin (drive.google.com/drive/trash).

Note: When you scan your Mac for duplicate files, please select Move to Trash as the Removal Method (as in step 6).

Part 3. How does Google Drive handle multiple copies of same file?

Google Drive does have some measures to prevent unnecessary duplicate files from appearing. Let’s look at them.

Does google drive upload duplicates?

Years ago, if you tried to upload duplicate files to Google Drive, your files would be uploaded and got filenames like this File (1), File (2) and so on, which could cause confusion and made it harder to organize files.

Now Google can skip duplicate uploads. When you upload a file to Google Drive, if you reupload the same file, or if there is already a file with the same name and format in your Google Drive, the duplicate copy will be detected and not uploaded. But there is an option called “Keep as separate file”. If you click it, the duplicate will be uploaded with filename like File (1).

Keep as separate file option

According to my tests, Google Drive can identify duplicate files only based on the filename and file format. The content isn’t taken into consideration. The identification and detection can still be improved. Also, the detection won’t work if you upload the same file to different Google Drive folders separately.

Why does Google Drive create duplicate files?

Some Google Drive duplicate files are created during upload. Also, Google Drive’s long-time desktop sync solution “Backup and Sync” could duplicate files sometimes, creating file copies with (1) in filename.

Does Google Drive create duplicate files after editing?

When it comes to multiple copies of the same Office file such as a Word document or an Excel spreadsheet, Google Drive will merge them and only keep the latest uploaded version (with the other versions being available for viewing and restoring). For example, to access the older versions of a document, choose to open it with Google Docs. In the menu bar, select File > Version history > See version history.

view version history

Does Google Drive detect and remove duplicate files?

Google Drive doesn’t detect the existing duplicate files in your account, less alone remove them.

How to stop Google Drive from duplicating files?

The Back up and Sync app may create duplicate files due to your settings. For such a case, a Google Drive user figured out a solution and shared it.

a solution

Part 4. Other ways to eliminate duplicates in Google Drive

#1 Use browser extension to remove Google Drive duplicate files

If you are a Google Chrome or Firefox user, you can use an extension called Duplicate File Finder, Cleaner for Drive to detect and delete duplicates in Google Drive. Note that you will be asked to authorize the tool to access your Google Drive.

... give it permission to do absolutely anything it likes with the files in drive as well as with the contact details of the people that you share those files with! - by a Google Drive user

1. Install this duplicate files deleter to your Chrome. Click Apps in the bookmark bar and then click this extension.

2. Click Scan the entire drive, and a login window will pop up. Click Login & Authorize and sign in using your Google account.

setting

Please do read the notification and learn about the risks. Click Allow if you want to continue.

ask for access to Google account

3. Copy the code you see and switch back. Paste the code in the box and click Login.

copy authorization code

4. You can choose to scan the entire Google Drive or selected folders for duplicate files. Here we select Scan the entire drive.

use browser extension to scan Google Drive for duplicate files

5. In the Duplicate File Results section, you can find all the detected Google Drive duplicate files. Select the unwanted ones and click Trash All. Once it finishes removing duplicates, the duplicate files in your Google Drive should be gone.

Tip: Before you hit the scan button, you can set filtering settings such as Scan Type and File Type. You can also specify filename and time range.

#2 Find and delete Google duplicate files online

Cloud Duplicate Finder is a web-based app designed to look for duplicate files in Google Drive and a few other cloud storage services. It can work on computer and mobile devices such as an Android phone, making it a Google Drive duplicate finder for Android.

1. Go to www.cloudduplicatefinder.com. Click Create An Account. Log in to your account.

2. Select GoogleDrive. In the left panel, click Add New Drive. Sign in to your Google Account. If you trust CloudDuplicateFinder, then please click Allow to continue.

choose Google Drive

3. Select one or more Google Drive folders to scan for duplicate files. Click Scan. Once the scan is completed, the Result window will pop up showing you the scan result. Click OK to close the window.

4. In the main screen, you can view and sort files as you wish. You can manually mark the files you don’t want to keep. Alternatively, you can click the Select Duplicates dropdown list at the bottom of the screen and choose the selection option you need, say, Retain newest file in each group.

groups of duplicate files in Google Drive

5. Click Select Action > Permanent Delete to get rid of duplicate photos, documents and other duplicates in Google Drive.

delete Google Drive duplicate files

Conclusion

The deduplication feature significantly prevents Google Drive duplicate files from cluttering up the drive. But it’s not enough. There could still be file duplicates. If you want to delete Google Drive duplicate photos and files that are identical in content, you can use duplicate file cleaner software. The software is easy to use and will not ask for access to your Google account or any other account.

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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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