Which files should be copied and backed up? And, which files should be deleted? Opening every file and comparing contents is a time consuming, tedious effort. Why not let your Mac do most of the work?
Different? And How?
This is a problem that happens regularly in the office where I work to manage dozens of Windows PC and Macs. Many documents get edited and modified and end up with many different versions.
Every now and then the office brake lights come on and we have to rummage through files and folders to find the most recently updated version and get everything back in sync.
Among the tools I use for Mac users is VisualDiffer, a terribly inexpensive app that compares files in folders with other folders so the more recent versions can be identified.
Based upon the app’s title you know what’s coming. It displays two side-by-side Finder-like windows of files in two folders, compares all the files, and highlights differences.
This isn’t as easy to do as you might think, but it’s a whole lot easier to do using an app than opening and trying to compare every file in multiple folders.
Click on any of the images for a larger, pop up view with more detail.
VisualDiffer compares files using a variety of file techniques which range from date and size to byte-by-byte comparisons.
Prepare to get your geek on with a bunch of file matching criteria stacked and ready to find what’s different between files in two folders.
Simply comparing files using date and size takes only a few seconds, even on hundreds or thousands of files in two folders.
The byte-by-byte comparisons can take longer, but better the Mac do the legwork than humans who get paid by the hour.
The visual display between two folders is handy because it gives you a quick glance reference for which files are the same between folders, and which are not.
It’s a process of elimination for which the Mac’s speed is appreciated and put to good use.
It’s a good way to compare non-document files, too, including MP3 files, video clips, JPG and RAW photo files. The problem is that VisualDiffer is neither a merge tool or an editor. It doesn’t move files, either, and only copies (though I prefer copies; the more the merrier).
Don’t use it to compare files on Time Machine. Copy them to the Mac first. And, be prepared to wait a bit if you’re comparing thousands of very large photos. Otherwise, the price is very good and it couldn’t be much easier to use.