How to Find and Delete Google Drive Duplicate Files

2019-06-11 22:23:58 / Posted by Rosa Reyes to Utility Follow @ Rosa

This article will show you how to solve the Google Drive duplicate files problem.

Google Drive is one of the most popular cloud storage services. It allows users to easily upload and store files. In addition, Google’s web-based office suite is also integrated with Google Drive, making it handy and efficient to create, edit and share documents. This guide will cover how to find and delete duplicate files in Google Drive and how Google deals with the duplicate files problem. By getting rid of duplicates, you can free up space on Google Drive and get your files more organized.

Quick guide to finding and deleting Google Drive duplicate files

This part will show you how to quickly and accurately find all exact duplicates in your Google Drive and get them deleted all at once in a safe manner.

Exact duplicates are duplicate files (such as duplicate images, documents and songs) that are exactly the same in content regardless of filename.

On Mac

Step 1. Download and install Google Drive’s Backup and Sync app. Set it up and sync Google Drive with your Mac. Now you can find the Google Drive folder in Finder.

Google Drive folder on Mac

Skip this step if you already have it set up. If you have no idea how to do it, just read on and check out the bonus tip below.

Step 2. Download and install Cisdem Duplicate Finder for Mac. Launch it. Click the add icon +. Select the Google Drive folder (or its subfolders) and click Open. Click Scan.

Free Download

scan Google Drive folder for duplicate files

Step 3. When it finishes scanning Google Drive duplicate files, you can find all the exact duplicates in your Google Drive, such as duplicate photos, documents, spreadsheets, audios, etc.

duplicate files found in Google Drive

You can easily check and preview groups of duplicate files.

preview duplicate files

Step 4. By default, this Google Drive duplicate cleaner will automatically select duplicate copies for you to remove. You can also choose from the available selection options or select/unselect manually. Click the Delete button, and the selected unwanted duplicate files in the Google Drive folder will be deleted.

delete unwanted duplicate files in your Google Drive

The tool Backup and Sync will automatically detect and sync any changes in the Google Drive folder. As a result, the Google Drive duplicate files in the cloud will also be deleted instantly.

Free Download

Pro Tip: Before scanning Google Drive for duplicate files, you can customize settings in this Google Drive duplicate cleaner by clicking the gear icon in the upper right corner.

general settings

selection rules

On Windows

Step 1. Use the said tool to sync Google Drive with your PC.

Step 2. Download and install Duplicate Cleaner. Open it. Click Scan Location. Select the Google Drive folder on your PC. In the tool bar at the top of the interface, click Scan Now, the app will start performing duplicate checks.

scan for duplicate files

Step 3. Once the scan is completed, you will find a list of all the Google Drive duplicate files. To preview duplicate photos, you can right-click a photo and select Image preview.

duplicate files detected

Step 4. In the left panel of the result window, you can find the Select assistant tools. They will help you batch mark the Google Drive duplicate files you want to remove.

Step 5. Click the File removal button, and the removal window will show up. Click Delete files to remove all the marked duplicate files in Google Drive.

On a side note, previously you could use the same duplicate file finders and instructions (with a little additional setting up) to delete duplicate photos in the Google Photos service. However, Google Drive stops syncing Google Photos in June 2019, and these instructions don’t work anymore. But you can still use them to remove duplicate photos in your Google Drive.

Bonus Tip: How to set up Backup and Sync from Google

Step 1. Download Backup and Sync. Get it installed. Open the tool. Click Get Started. Sign in using your Google account.

Step 2. Select the option Back up all file types. Click Next. Now you can choose folder(s) to continuously back up to Google Photos and Google Drive based on your need. Click Start.

Step 3. Here comes the important part. In the left panel of the Preferences window, click Google Drive. Select the checkbox before Sync My Drive to this computer. You can change the folder location if needed. You can choose to sync everything in your drive or only selected folders.

Google Drive Backup and Sync settings

Step 4. Click OK. There should be a Google Drive folder on your computer.

Now you can use the guide above to find and remove your Google Drive duplicate files.

How does Google Drive handle multiple copies of same file?

Google Drive does have some measures to prevent unnecessary duplicate files from appearing.

In the past, 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 Drive lets you skip duplicates. When you upload a file to Google Drive, if there is already a file with the same name and format in your Google Drive, you will get the Duplicate file upload warning message. The duplicate copy will be skipped. If you click the option Keep as separate file, the file will be uploaded with filename like File (1).

Google Drive's Duplicate file upload warning

According to our tests, Google Drive can only identify duplicate files based on the filename and file format. The content isn’t taken into consideration. Nevertheless, the Duplicate file upload warning is useful enough in reality.

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). Here’s an 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

The deduplication feature significantly prevents Google Drive duplicate files from cluttering up the drive. Thanks to these measures, users won’t need to ask questions like how to stop Google Drive from duplicating files any more.

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.

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

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


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

ask for access to Google account

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

copy authorization code

Step 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

Step 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.

Pro 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.

Step 1. Go to Click Create An Account. Log in to your account.

Step 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

Step 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.

Step 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

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

delete Google Drive duplicate files


If you want to delete Google Drive duplicate files that are identical in content, you can use desktop software like Cisdem Duplicate Finder. It can work offline and won’t ask for access to your Google account or any other account. Google Drive used to create duplicate files when users uploaded duplicate copies of files. Now the problem is gone thanks to the deduplication measures. In addition, the Version history feature makes it more efficient to reduce duplicates and do collective editing.

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