User disexperience

Friday night I happened upon a nifty piece of software called Visual Similarity Duplicate Image Finder, made by MindGems, which looked like just the thing to tame my ridiculous picture archive. I downloaded their demo, ran the installer, and gave it a 10,000-file directory to read. Even on my ancient desktop (2.66 GHz P4), the program turned up 281 duplicates in nine minutes flat. The demo version doesn’t allow you to delete the extras: you’d need to look ‘em up yourself in Explorer, or pay for the full version, which was a reasonable $24.95. So I blew the dust off my American Express card and prepared to start typing purchase information.

Nope. Not with these guys. You must go out to their third-party retail site, complete the purchase there, uninstall the demo and wait for them to send you a download link for the full version, which, they warned, could take up to twelve hours. (In fact, it took six minutes.) I duly installed the full version and ran exactly the same routine, which took slightly less time; deleting the duplicates — the AutoCheck system, unless you select otherwise, marks as deletable the smaller version, either in pixel count or bytes — took about 35 seconds. Very efficient, and it didn’t melt down the CPU.

So I’m still recommending VSDIF, because it by-gosh works, and because they offer multi-license deals if your shop needs such things. But if you’re sure you’ll like it, don’t bother with the demo: show up with plastic in hand and save yourself a bit of aggravation. For the next version, they should work on making this easier to buy.







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