System Administration

Essential System Tools: fdupes – find or delete duplicate files

Last Updated on May 28, 2022

This is the latest in our series of articles highlighting essential system tools. These are small, indispensable utilities, useful for system administrators as well as regular users of Linux based systems. The series examines both graphical and text based open source utilities. For this article, we’ll look at fdupes. For details of all tools in this series, please check the summary page.

Even though the cost of storage per GB continues to fall, it’s common for users to need to find and remove duplicates files. The process of finding and removing duplicates is time-consuming. Fortunately, there are a number of tools that are designed to remove the laborious nature of finding duplicates. fdupes is a tool that we gravitate towards.

The software finds duplicate files in a given set of directories and sub-directories. It recognizes duplicates by comparing MD5 signature of files followed by a byte-to-byte comparison. The utility offers a lot of options to list, delete and replace files.

The software is written in the C programming language.


The developer provides the source code but there’s no official packages. Fortunately, the software is popular and packages are available in most popular Linux distributions.

I generally compile most of the software I use. Compilation proceeded without any issues, by typing the following commands at a shell.

$ git clone
$ cd fdupes
$ autoreconf –install
$ ./configure
$ make
$ sudo make install

Next page: Page 2 – In Operation

Pages in this article:
Page 1 – Introduction / Installation
Page 2 – In Operation
Page 3 – Other Features
Page 4 – Summary

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