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Comparing drives and their contents

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  • Comparing drives and their contents

    Okay, so I want to compare two folders with a lot of GBs of content spread throughout many subfolders, but the material on both main folders are radically different in how they are organized by file, folder and subfolder. Is Beyond Compare robust enough to identify identical files existing in separate, unique subfolders that aren't directly examined? Or does a manual review of every subfolder v. subfolder need to be done in order to find those identical files (literally hundreds of comparisons)?

  • #2

    The short answer is that 3 of the 4 folder views align by folder name and file name, and any differences in either would then not align and be marked as a difference.

    In the 4th view mode is to Ignore Folder Structure, which aligns files by name in a single large bucket (regardless of their sub folder). This requires opening/scanning every subfolder to build the full file list, also means there should be no duplicated names in any subfolders.

    We don't perform a full duplicate file scan to look for moved or renamed files. It's something on our wishlist, but would be a large project.
    Aaron P Scooter Software


    • #3
      Hi Aaron,

      Thanks for your response. I work for a criminal law firm and need to compare large batches of discovery, one recently provided on one hard drive against a bunch of information provided over various CDs. The idea behind doing a comparison would be to put everything on the drive into one folder and everything provided via CD into another, and then run Beyond Compare to see where the differences lie. That 4th view mode you spoke of is exactly what I'm looking for, but it sounds like the biggest hurdle will be managing duplicated names across subfolders.

      A few questions:

      1) What happens when you have files with the same name, same file type, but different content? (Does it get marked differently with a different color, is the software unable to process it, or is it just assumed to be the same file?)
      2) Does Beyond Compare know or have any relationships with any third-party services that can be hired to perform an analysis similar to what I described above?
      3) If your software sounds like the wrong software for this kind of project, what kind of software would you recommend instead? (I know this might not be the most appropriate place to ask this, but any leads would be great.)

      Thank you!


      • #4

        First, in order to compare everything, you'll want to copy all of the CDs to a single folder, so we can load that base folder and compare everything. Otherwise, the CD Drive is the top-most level and CDs would have to be compared individually.

        1) With the same name, files are aligned. Once aligned, the Session menu -> Session Settings, Comparison tab is used to compare the files. The default settings scan timestamp/size, but this can be customized. The results then control the file coloring and status of the paired comparison.

        2) No, we do not have any business partners or services to offer in this regard. Scooter Software sells Beyond Compare as a software product, which can be used by a variety of people for different tasks.

        3) I'm not familiar with any specific software to help meet these needs (as also described in detail in your email). If you search for Duplicate File Finder (software) you may be able to find something to help prune out the content duplicates, at which point you could then use BC4's Ignore Folder Structure mode (assuming there aren't prohibitively too many duplicate file names remaining).
        Aaron P Scooter Software