Linux fdupes: Get Rid (Delete) Of Double Duplicate Files In Directory

How do I find duplicate files in a given set of directories and delete them using a shell script or a command line options? How do I get rid of double duplicates files stored in ~/foo and /u2/foo directory on a Linux operating systems? How can I remove duplicate files on a Linux based server?

You need to use a tool called fdupes. It will searche the given path for duplicate files. Such files are found by comparing file sizes and MD5 signatures, followed by a byte-by-byte comparison. fdupes is a nice tool to get rid of duplicate files. [donotprint][/donotprint]

Another option is to use a tool called to find and fix common errors in file storage such as duplicate files.

Install fdupes on a Linux

Type the following apt-get command under a Debian / Ubuntu Linux:

# apt-get install fdupes

Type the following yum command under a Redhat / RHEL / Fedota / CentOS Linux, enter (turn on rpmforge repo before running the following yum command):

# yum install fdupes

How Do I Use fdupes command?

To find duplicate files in /etc/ directory, enter:

# fdupes /etc

Sample outputs:


How Do I Delete Unwanted Files?

You can force fdupes to prompt you for files to preserve, deleting all others (use this with care otherwise you may loss data): # fdupes -d /etc
Sample outputs:

[1] /etc/vimrc                          
[2] /etc/virc

Set 1 of 1, preserve files [1 - 2, all]: 1

   [+] /etc/vimrc
   [-] /etc/virc

How Do Recursively Search Directory?

You can recursively search every directory given follow subdirectories encountered within the -r option, enter:

# fdupes -r /dir1

How Do I Find Dupes In Two Directories?

Type the command as follows:

# fdupes  /dir1 /dir2


# fdupes -r /etc /data/etc /nas95/etc

How Do I See Size Of Duplicate Files?

Type the following command with the -S option:

# fdupes -S /etc

Sample outputs:

1533 bytes each:                        

Remove duplicate files with fslint

The fslint is a command to find various problems with filesystems, including duplicate files and problematic filenames etc. This is a recommended tool for desktop users. To install type the following on a Debian/Ubuntu Linux:

$ sudo apt-get install fslint

Sample outputs:

Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree       
Reading state information... Done
E: Unable to locate package flint
root@nas01:~# apt-get install fslint
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree       
Reading state information... Done
The following extra packages will be installed:
Suggested packages:
The following NEW packages will be installed:
  fslint python-glade2
0 upgraded, 2 newly installed, 0 to remove and 0 not upgraded.
Need to get 149 kB of archives.
After this operation, 849 kB of additional disk space will be used.
Do you want to continue? [Y/n] y
Get:1 stable/main python-glade2 amd64 2.24.0-4 [43.3 kB]
Get:2 stable/main fslint all 2.44-2 [106 kB]
Fetched 149 kB in 3s (49.4 kB/s) 
Selecting previously unselected package python-glade2.
(Reading database ... 63146 files and directories currently installed.)
Preparing to unpack .../python-glade2_2.24.0-4_amd64.deb ...
Unpacking python-glade2 (2.24.0-4) ...
Selecting previously unselected package fslint.
Preparing to unpack .../archives/fslint_2.44-2_all.deb ...
Unpacking fslint (2.44-2) ...
Processing triggers for desktop-file-utils (0.22-1) ...
Processing triggers for mime-support (3.58) ...
Processing triggers for man-db ( ...
Setting up python-glade2 (2.24.0-4) ...
Setting up fslint (2.44-2) ...

Individual command line tools are available in addition to the GUI and to access them, one can change to, or add to $PATH the /usr/share/fslint/fslint directory on a standard install. Each of these commands in that directory have a --help option which further details its parameters:
$ ls /usr/share/fslint/fslint/
Sample outputs:

findbl  findid  findns  findsn  findu8  findup  fstool  zipdir
finded  findnl  findrs  findtf  findul  fslint  supprt


  1. findup – find DUPlicate files
  2. findnl – find Name Lint (problems with filenames)
  3. findu8 – find filenames with invalid utf8 encoding
  4. findbl – find Bad Links (various problems with symlinks)
  5. findsn – find Same Name (problems with clashing names)
  6. finded – find Empty Directories
  7. findid – find files with dead user IDs
  8. findns – find Non Stripped executables
  9. findrs – find Redundant Whitespace in files
  10. findtf – find Temporary Files
  11. findul – find possibly Unused Libraries
  12. zipdir – Reclaim wasted space in ext2 directory entries


To search for duplicates in current directory and below, enter:

##  Set path first ##
export PATH=$PATH:/usr/share/fslint/fslint/
findup .

To search for duplicates in all /nas01/ source directories and merge using hardlinks, enter:

findup -m /nas01/*

To search system for duplicate files over 20K in size

sudo findup / -size +20k

To search only my files (that I own and are in my home directory)

findup ~ -user $(id -u)

To search system for duplicate files belonging to tom user:

sudo findup / -user $(id -u tom)

Say hello to fslint-gui tool

fslint-gui is a GUI wrapper for the individual fslint command line tools:

fslint-gui &

Sample outputs:

Fig.01: Linux Remove Duplicate Files With fslint-gui Tool

Further readings:
  • man pages fslint-gui(1)

Posted by: SXI ADMIN

The author is the creator of SXI LLC and a seasoned sysadmin, DevOps engineer, and a trainer for the Linux operating system/Unix shell scripting. Get the latest tutorials on SysAdmin, Linux/Unix and open source topics via RSS/XML feed or weekly email newsletter.

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