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Clone Master

Type of Program: File Utility
Supported Platforms: Win95
Company Name: Softbyte Laboratories
Version: 2.19
Price: $29.95 US
File Name: clonem~1.exe
Installed Size: 377Kb

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All of us who use computers and purchase and install programs, and in particular, those who travel the Internet downloading and installing programs, we all have one thing in common. Our hard drive space shrinks faster than ice cream on a hot day, and we all end up with literally thousands of files on our hard drive. Now in our heart of hearts we know that each and every file just can't possibly be required, and we may even have an suspicion that there are more than one instance of a given file on our system. So what do we do to ferret out the excess baggage we are carrying? My suggestion is to turn to Clone Master.

This program really opened my eyes to a number of issues. First, I had no idea I had 6,811 files on my system, and I only have a 735 Meg hard drive with about 220 Megs free. Why would I possibly need all these files? I was even more appalled to learn that I have waste galore and that I need to do some serious computer file housecleaning. Clone Master looks at the three major types of problem files which are Zero-length, Duplicate and Same-Name. It was an easy install and includes an uninstall module and upon running the program you are presented with a screen that is clean and will entail no great learning curve. Do take the time to review the help file as it will help you understand what the program looks for and how it will be presented to you.

The first time you run Clone Master you may wish to allow the default of searching for all three types of files, but be aware it understandably takes a few minutes to process all your files. A better approach is to search for each type one at time. A nice feature is that you can save the results of your search as a text file for latter editing in a word processor, and in my case I had no intention of resolving all of my 155 duplicate files in one sitting. You can narrow your search by selecting whichever drive, path, and file type you are interested in analyzing.

After searching for Zero-length files they are sorted by name but you can click on any column header to change the sort order. You than can Select All or Select individual files for deletion. All files deleted by the program are sent to the Recycle Bin, so you can reverse your deletion should you so choose.

Duplicate files can be tagged for deletion and you are well aware of which files you have chosen because a fire icon is placed beside each. If you have many duplicates you can even group them into 100 , 250 etc., per page, then select the page tabs at the top of the window to move back and forth among your files, another nice touch. The program has a Smart Delete function that allows you to specify which folders to process and which file to keep.

The Same-Name screen presents a different method from the other two in terms of what you can do, and here an explanation is in order. It is a serious mistake on our part to assume that because two files have the same name, that they are true duplicate files. Clone Master presents the Same-Name search results in the form of a Tree-View. You can right-click on files and choose to view them in their native format. For instance , I choose an .htm file to view and my browser was launched and loaded this file. Again, clicking on a .txt file launched NotePad, you get the picture. Same-Name files can not be deleted as a safety precaution, but upon your investigation you can Rename the file thus eliminating the confusion. This would be of great help to programmers who save various versions of their code, and would avoid a situation where the new working code gets deleted when the old non-working code should have gotten the boot.

I was very impressed with Clone Master and while it will present you with a lot of work to do with your own files, in the end, and if you persevere, you will have a clean system and you will free up valuable hard drive space. Of course, within a very short time this creeping problem will reappear, but at least you will have the tools to conquer the beast.

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Reviewed by Blain W. Jamieson


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