How to Remove Duplicate Files from Your iTunes Media Library

Posted August 22, 2006 by bulletcatcher221 in Entertainment

Are you tired of starting up your iPod and starting your playlist to find the same song playing over and over? This is caused by duplicate files in your iTunes library or in Windows Media Player. Here are a few tips to help.


If the only problem is duplicate *tracks* in iTunes (not duplicate files on the hard drive), the solution is easy: use iTunes’ built-in “Find Duplicates” feature to find and remove the duplicate tracks. There are also scripts on Doug Adam’s iTunes Scripts website to perform this. I synchronize my Libraries all the time (between Mac OS X and Windows, actually) and run into this often.

However, if the *files* (on the hard drive) are duplicated (because of different folder/file names), then the solution is tedious and requires lots of temporary disk space.

Manual Solution:

1. Use iTunes built-in “Find Duplicates” feature to find and remove the duplicate tracks in iTunes. (This does not affect your drive yet.)
2. Highlight every track in your iTunes Library (still in iTunes, not on your drive), and then drag the tracks from iTunes to a new Folder on your drive.
3. This will make a complete copy of your Library (without any duplicates).
4. Delete every track in iTunes and every file in your original Library on your drive.
5. Then, either move the contents of your new Folder to your Library folder and drop the Library Folder back into iTunes, or just tell iTunes that your Library has moved to the new Folder.

You will now have a new Library with no duplicates.

Some other solutions are as follows:

Enter the shareware iDupe (it’ll set you back $8). It claims to dedupe your music collection intelligently by looking at more criteria than Apple’s offering and allowing you to adjust certain settings. It helps tremendously in removing duplicate files from your music library. I find that the default setting does a good job of identifying duplicates, erring on the side of being slightly conservative IMO. (This is a good thing!)

The user can choose to delete duplicates from the currently selected Playlist, from the entire Library and from the hard drive. The docs suggest that it works best with limited chunks of files (under 2000), so I have created a “TEMP” Playlist and move 3-500 tracks at a time into that list. It is not exceptionally fast at deleting files, but it does the job like nothing else I have tried.

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