VisiPics quickly finds duplicate photos
You started off with good intentions, creating a neat image library where all your digital photos are properly organized in sensibly-named folders. But the organization probably didn’t last. It’s all too easy to drag and drop images to other folders, resave them in other formats or resolutions, maybe rework them with minor edits, and before you know it your hard drive is cluttered with a host of duplicate (or very similar) images.
Locating these files manually can be tricky, but fortunately there are some very capable tools around which can do most of the hard work for you. And VisiPics is one of the most interesting. It’s not been updated for a very long time (the current release dates back to 2008), but the program worked just fine on our Windows 7 test PC and still has the power to clean up your photo library.
The process starts by defining a few of the basics.
Click the Loader tab, say, and you can choose the size of pictures you’d like it to compare. By default this ranges from 50×50 to 4000×4000 pixels, but you should adjust this to the minimum range that works for you. (Comparing many thousands of images takes a long time, so the more you can reasonably exclude here, the better.)
And clicking the Filter tab allows you to define how similar images must be for VisiPics to define them as “duplicates”. Selecting “Strict” means the program will link only pictures which are identical or very slightly different, but if you opt for “Loose” then it’ll accept more variations (images which have had some minor edits, say).
Once you’ve set up VisiPics to work the way you’d like, then you’ll need to tell the program where to search. You could simply point it at your system drive, say, but that means it’ll pick up images in your browser cache, your program folders and more, significantly extending the comparison process. If you don’t need a full drive check then choose your Pictures folder (and any other folders where your main images are stored) and the scan will be much quicker.
With preparations complete, just click Start and VisiPics will snap into action, looking for duplicate images and displaying any it finds. You can then view and delete these manually, or leave the program to finish and allow it to automatically select what to keep, and what to ditch.
If there’s an issue here, it’s probably with the documentation. We found it wasn’t always clear how every VisiPics option worked, and the Help file is on the sparse side: it doesn’t always tell you what you’d like to know.
This wasn’t a big problem for us, as VisiPics did a good job of locating duplicate images on our system, and making sensible decisions about which ones were unnecessary, and which were surplus to requirements.
However, as VisiPics could be processing some of the most important files on your PC, it’s sensible to be cautious. Try experimenting on a single folder with just a few images, first, to make sure you understand how the program works. And only use VisiPics on a system which is fully backed up, just to give yourself some protection in case of problems.