Detect duplicates with fdupes

Double Trouble

Article from Issue 273/2023

The command-line fdupes tool helps you find duplicate folders and directories.

Hard disks have the unpleasant tendency of filling up faster than expected. It is not always immediately obvious why. Keeping things tidy should not be underestimated in this context. Untidy, poorly organized hard disks tend to fill up faster than well-organized ones. Because life is a mixture of order and chaos, most users probably face this problem.

The unexpectedly high utilization level of hard disks is often caused by duplicate files. The typical candidates are photos, music, or videos, which can quickly occupy several gigabytes of space and are often difficult to find. There are several graphical applications on Linux to help you detect and remove duplicates like this, and there are several more for the command line.


Well-known tools with a graphical interface for a cleanup include FSlint and dupeGuru. In this article, I will look at fdupes for the command line [1], first released in 2000. Most distributions include the tool, which weighs in at just over 100KB, in the archives; you can install using your distribution's choice of package manager. Listing 1 shows a guide for Debian, Fedora, and Arch Linux.


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