Dealing death to duplicate images

Reader Sam Lightner would like to lighten up the number of duplicate photos on his Mac. He writes:

I have lots of pictures on my computer. Some of them are in iPhoto, some aren’t. Is there any easy way I can add the pictures that aren’t in iPhoto while not adding the ones that are?

Perhaps. I waffle because although iPhoto now includes a feature that will attempt to identify duplicates and give you the option to import everything except those duplicates, it’s not very discerning about what is and isn’t a repeat performance. For example, all you need do is change the name of a file and iPhoto will believe that it’s a unique image.

If you haven’t renamed these duplicates, by all means, drag them into iPhoto and wait for the appearance of a window similar to the one below.

Enable the Apply to All Duplicates option and click the Don’t Import button.

If iPhoto imports images that you deem to be duplicates, you can deal with them after the fact. Rather than try to eyeball them yourself, grab a copy of Brattoo Propaganda Software’s $8 Duplicate Annihilator.

This utility will perform a far deeper analysis of your pictures than iPhoto (by default it compares the images’ MD5 checksum values) and, again by default, adds a duplicate comment to those images it deems as redundant. Once it’s finished with its work (it took about half an hour on my dual 2 gig Power Mac G5 to process 4,200 images), just create a smart album that reads: Comment Contains Duplicate. Toss the duplicates when you’ve determined they really are duplicates (here’s where a careful eyeball comes in).

To check the results of the program’s work, you can create yet another smart album that reads: Comment Does Not Contain Duplicate . Give it a bit of eyeball time as well.

  
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