Compare those files

runs on Mac
screenshot of FileCompare

So are those two files duplicates? You can't always depend on the names, because it's too easy to have multiple files in different places with the same names but not the same "stuff" inside. And while you may feel comfortable opening a couple of text files and doing a quickie visual compare, once those files get the least bit complicated, or you're faced with a pair of binary files, you're probably out of luck following some seat-of-the-pants approach like this. Now you're going to need a real tool.

Your Mac has tools like this built in, but unfortunately you need to be a command line jockey in Terminal to take full advantage of them. FileCompare is an app that makes it easy to compare files without having to get all Unix-y about things. Basically, it's a pretty front end to to the md5 utility, which generates a checksum value for a file based on the contents of that file. If two files have identical values here, then they're almost certainly identical to one another. Now you won't have to worry about whether you're deleting the wrong file when you're cleaning house on your machine.

FileCompare is a free download. It's a Mac application (OS X 10.4 or later), and comes as a Universal Binary, so you can use it with your PowerPC or Intel-powered Mac.

Download FileCompare

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