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  1. #1
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    Looking for unique picture/file comparison program

    Does anyone know of a file comparison program that will compare two root directories and all subdirectories, comparing ONLY file attributes (optionally the: name, size, timestamps, CRC/MD5, etc.) IRRESPECTIVE of the file's location.

    Background: Basically this is for digital picture backups. When I copy files from my SD cards, I put them into directories based on the activity and date. I have seen programs that do the copying for you, based on date, but these are not viable as I change time zones (and do not always remember to change the time on my camera) and activities can span days. This has not been that hard in the past, but I just came back from a trip with 5000 files.

    What I am looking for is a file syncing program that has a split window, where you select the "source" directory on one side and the "destination" directories on the other side. On both sides the files are sorted by name and you can see which files are missing or different (based on the comparison variables specified).

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Super Moderator jscher2000's Avatar
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    The free program WinMerge does directory comparison. I mostly use it for text file comparison, so I don't know how flexible the directory comparison features are, i.e., whether you can disregard the subfolder level.

    http://winmerge.org/

  3. #3
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    Thanks jscher2000, but I have winmerge and it will not do this type of comparison. Most common compare/syncing programs will not, which is why I decided to ask the community for suggestions.

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    5 Star Lounger chowur's Avatar
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    Problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them. -Albert Einsten

  5. #5
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    ExamDiff Pro should handle this for you. It has a free trial period. I'm not affiliated with them, but I've been using it for a very long time.

  6. #6
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    I also use and highly recommend ExamDiff Pro. However I don't see that it will compare files without considering the file name as the first comparison item. If the file name is the same, then there are options to consider file attributes, date/time stamps, and CRC. Also there can be only one source and one destination root directory, not multiple on either side. Sub-directories are OK, just not multiple root directories. All comparisons are done in matching directory, or sub-directory, names.

    What might be of help in comparisons that ignore the file name and location is something in the duplicate file finder program category. I have used AcuteFinder (www.acutefinder.com) for a number of years. The interface is not very good but I have not found anything better for functionality and flexibility and I have looked a number of times. Acutefinder does not have the dual pane functionality but it can move files to a specified location if found to be a duplicate. Duplicate matching is optionality based on the items you listed (name, size, timestamps, CRC/MD5, etc.) and is "IRRESPECTIVE of the file's location". You can specify any number of and which directories to consider.

    I do not know of anything that will do what I understand from your post that you need. If you do find something, please post it back here. It sounds like a very convenient tool.

  7. #7
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    As my post showed up in today's email, I thought I better update this thread.

    While I try to stay away from any proprietary database programs, I did try Picture Library. It seems that it's duplicate file finder tool does not traverse sub-directories so was very cumbersome to use for my issue. The problem with the duplicate file finder programs I have tried for this task is that they assume the the source directory (of a comparison) is the master and will not show you if there is a file in the source but not in the destination (i.e. not a duplicate).

    I also tried ExamDiff Pro. And while the interface looks good, it did not work. It never considered the same file in the two locations as being the same. I tried many comparisons, toggling every variable in the Directory Comparison options. Even if the files had the same CRC, it still did not consider them the same. I could not find it stated anywhere, but I think it must be comparing the relative locations of the files, as almost all comparison utilities do. And unfortunately, it had the size and timestamp of the file as 1 option and I need them separated (ie. I want to compare sizes, but not timestamps)

    To clarify: I noted that Ktal mentioned that he thought I wanted to ignore the file name. That is not true. Let me try to clarify what I am looking for:

    I have SD cards full of pictures from a trip (in this case about 5000). After the trip I separate them into multiple directories based on date, them time of day and activity ( e.g. like day1/morning/dive-1).

    I normally use a directory comparison/syncing tool to copy/backup files (I currently use, and really like, TreeCompare). However, it expects the directory trees on both sides, that is the sub-directories under the two directories to be compared, to be identical.

    So, what I am looking for is a directory comparison program that will:
    1. allow you to select 2 root directories
    2. recursively search these sub-directories creating file lists
    3. compare all the files found based primarily on file name and size
    (optionally; binary, CRC, MD5 etc. comparisons are OK)
    4. IGNORE the relative location of the file for the comparison

    Thanks.

  8. #8
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    SyncToy 2.1 allows different root directories.

    To make a file list use; Karen's Directory printer, from karenware dot com. Lots of options for file info. Partial screen grab from that prog below.

    Is that any good for you?

    Edit. In fact you don't need sync toy. Use Karen to list the directories and use, say, Word to compare the 2 lists. Or have I got this completely wrong


    Capture.JPG
    Last edited by RCL; 2011-10-07 at 06:24. Reason: Understanding!

  9. #9
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    Thanks RCL;

    I had SyncToy installed, I must have tried it years ago, and no it would not do what I wanted.

    However, Karen's Directory Printer did allow me to accomplish the task.

    To accomplish this task in Unix I would just use find, grep, cut and sort. Save the results in some text files, then compare these files. Directory Printer is basically a GUI to find, grep and cut. However, it does not sort correctly. It sorts each individual sud-directory and concatenates the results instead of finding all the files first then doing 1 big sort at the end. So I used Notepad++ to resort the text files saved from Directory Printer. Then compared the two text files with a GUI file comparator. So, while this is still a 5 step process, it did work.

    I am still hoping someone knows of a single program that can do all this, but thanks for the info about Karen's tools.
    And, a thank you to Karen.

  10. #10
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    I too have been looking for a program to find orphan files in different folder structures, I haven't found one, but I do have a another method.

    If you're running Windows Vista/7 with an NTFS drive, you can use symbolic links with most sync/compare programs (with limits). Symbolic links, aka symlinks, softlinks, are like enhanced shortcuts that the sync/compare program will treat as the original files. Just make a new folder for each root containing symbolic links to the originals, and compare those new folders of links.

    To do this I use several programs:
    - Link Shell Extension > this adds items to Windows Explorer context menu (right-click, right drag and drop) allowing you to create symbolic links (also hardlinks and junction points, not used here).
    - Everything > this search program lets you easily find and select your desired files to make links to.
    - A folder sync program; I prefer FreeFileSync, but most any should do. I've just tested these other programs and they seem to give the proper results:
    SyncBack
    Synkron
    TreeCompare

    Link Shell Extension
    http://schinagl.priv.at/nt/hardlinks...kshellext.html
    http://download.cnet.com/Link-Shell-...-10971924.html

    Everything
    http://www.voidtools.com/
    http://download.cnet.com/Everything/...-10890746.html

    FreeFileSync
    http://freefilesync.sourceforge.net/
    http://download.cnet.com/FreeFileSyn...-75300470.html


    The process, in short. Let's call the root folders Root1 and Root2.
    1 - Create two new folders, say, Links1 and Links2.
    2 - Create symbolic links from all the files in Root1 into Links1. Do the same for Root2 to Links2.
    3 - Run your preferred program, syncing between Links1 and Links2 folders.

    The process, in long. Here your root folders are Root1 (unsorted) and Root2 (your sorted files and folders). If all the files in Root1 are in a single folder with no subfolders, likely on an SD card, you can skip steps 1 and 2 for that root since you can use that folder directly for comparison. Otherwise, copy Root1 to the hard-drive as Everything cannot search FAT partitions. I assume you'll want to back them up anyway.

    1 - Create two folders elsewhere on the drive, Links1 and Links2.
    These need to be on an NTFS formatted drive. Symbolic links can point to files on a FAT drive, but can only be created on NTFS.

    2 - To create symbolic links from all the pictures in the Root1 folder and its subfolders to the Links1 folder:
    - Right-click the Root1 folder and choose "Search Everything..." from the menu. Everything will instantly list all subfolders and files throughout Root1.
    - Highlight the desired files (here you can type .jpg into the search filter, click within the search results, then click edit > select all).
    - Right-drag and drop the selected files to Links1, choosing "Drop Here... > Symbolic Link" in the menu. The links will have the file's icons with green shortcut arrows. Note: having files with the same name from different subfolders is not a problem as the links will automatically be renamed as needed; if/when a sync program copies the image files, the copies will have the new name, your original files will remain unaffected.
    - Repeat for Root2 to Links2. These two folders now have links to all your root images.

    3- Run your preferred sync program, comparing between Links1 and Links2 folders.
    Running FreeFileSync, in the compare settings, set "symbolic link handling" to "follow" (most other programs do not have a setting for this, but will work as normal). With Links1 as the source and Links2 as the destination, compare and sync using the update setting. This copies all orphan files within Root1 to the Links2 folder - where they're easy to pick out from the symbolic links which are shown in Windows Explorer with shortcut arrows and a size of zero bytes. You can then sort them into your Root2 subfolders. Other programs will work similarly.
    However, there is a quirk. It doesn't work for cleaning out duplicate or obsolete files. While the programs can copy the original files, any delete operation will delete the symbolic link, not the original linked file (maybe a good thing?). To most programs other than Windows Explorer, symbolic links are transparent, as if the program is seeing the original file there; but some I've used some like XNView that don't work correctly with them. (I use this flaw, setting XNView to only show image files, filtering out the symbolic links.) There also can be problems in how programs handle the files dates, so I usually set them to ignore those.

    There's a lot more variations on this to do with symbolic and hardlinks, I hope this helps.

  11. #11
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    You might try FolderMatch. It's basic function of viewing the contents of folders and their files differences may not be what you want since it does compare on a folder-by-folder basis. But its duplicates function allows you to specify multiple root folders (i.e., more than 2) and will find duplicates without regard to folder structure. You can even search without regard to file name, if size and contents works. It is shareware.

  12. #12
    New Lounger Tashia's Avatar
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    The picture comparer is engaged in search and removal of duplicate files. One of the most widespread types of files which Clone Remover works with is image. The photo comparer (i.e. Clone Remover) does image comparison and picture comparison after which «makes» decision if it’s possible to consider images to be identical (i.e. duplicate files) after it compares images.

  13. #13
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    I'm developing a tool to do this

    I have exactly the same problem: I have several computers, backup- and thumb-drives, and want to make sure before I delete files off a drive or merge them, that I'm not deleting anything unique or more current. I'd looked for a ready-made solution, couldn't find one, and so am developing a tool (open source) to do this.

    You specify two folders. It then analyzes the attributes of all files across the folders (including all subdirectories), looking for duplicates anywhere. It then shows directory statistics and a file-by-file comparison of the attributes (name, date, size for now) of each.

    Software is at an alpha stage, but has still proven to be very useful to me for the above purpose.

    If this thread's still alive and there's interest, I can post more info and release it to sourceforge.

    --Rich

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by knoppie View Post
    If this thread's still alive and there's interest, I can post more info and release it to sourceforge.

    --Rich
    G'day Rich,
    I'd love to have access to your solution!

    John

  15. #15
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    Thanks for the interest, John. I'll release a version to SF as a portable executable and post a link on this thread. It'll probably be a couple-few weeks.

    Rich

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