Updated: 06/06/2021 by Computer Hope

A duplicate is anything that is an exact copy of another thing. For example, with computers, a duplicate file is an exact copy of a file.

Creating a duplicate of a file

To create a duplicate of a file. Locate the file in a file manager (e.g., Windows Explorer) and copy the file from one directory and paste it into another directory.

Creating a copy of a gif picture

Can you have a duplicate file in the same directory?

No. An exact duplicate cannot be in the same directory because each file must have a unique file name in the same directory. When a file is copied into the same directory, it's considered a copy and not a duplicate. The file contents are the same, but because the file name is different, it's not an exact copy. As seen in the animated picture, when copying and pasting a file in the same directory, the operating system added "- Copy" to keep it unique.

Can I use the save function to create a duplicate?

As long as no file compression occurs or other changes are made, the save function can create a duplicate. For example, when saving a text document, it's saved without compression and could be used to create a duplicate. However, with most images and videos, some form of compression occurs during the save process, causing the file to be different on each new save.


Because it's difficult to know exactly how a program saves a file, we recommend using a file manager to create an exact duplicate and not the save feature in a software program.

How to delete duplicate lines

If the program or text editor you're using supports the ability to delete duplicate text lines, it can be done through the program options. For example, in Notepad++, a plugin can be installed to give you this ability. For programs or devices without this ability, copy the text from your program into our Text Tool to remove duplicate lines or perform other text operations.

Backup, Copy, Mirror, Software terms