How to Compare Files in Two Folders on Windows 10

When we move the files from one folder to another, it is highly recommended that you ensure that all the files have been moved accurately. Some files, if not copied perfectly, may lead to data loss. A visual comparison of files copied from the original directory to a new one may look easy but isn’t feasible for many files. Hence, there arises a requirement for a tool that compares files in two folders. One such tool is WinMerge. You can identify the missing files by comparing them with the original directory.

In this guide, we have explained the basic steps to compare files in two folders with the help of WinMerge. You will learn how to install WinMerge in your system and how to use it to compare files.

How to Compare Files in Two Folders

How to Compare Files in Two Folders on Windows 10

How to Install WinMerge on Windows 10?

WinMerge is a free application, and you can download it from the website mentioned here.

1. Click on Download Now button.

2. Wait for the download to be complete. After that, click twice on the downloaded file to open the installation wizard.

3. Here, click on Next on the license agreement page. This means you agree to continue with the selection. It takes you to the next page, which will give you an option to select the features during installation.

Click on Next on the license agreement page.

4. Click on the Features you want to include during installation and select Next.

5. You will now be redirected to a page where you can select Additional tasks, like a desktop shortcut, File Explorer, context menu integration, etc. There are many other features available in the menu, which you can either enable or disable. After making the required selections, choose Next to continue.

6. When you click on Next, you will be directed to the final page. It will display all the options you have selected thus far. Check the list and click on Install.

7. Now, the installation process begins. When the installation process gets completed, click on Next to skip the short message, and finally, click on Finish to exit from the installer.

Also Read: How to Rename Multiple Files in Bulk on Windows 10

How to Compare Files in Two Folders Using WinMerge?

1. To begin the process, open WinMerge.

2. Once the WinMerge window pops up, click Control+O keys together. This will open a new comparison window.

3. Select the first file or folder by clicking on Browse, as shown below.

c You can select the 1st file or folder by clicking on the Browse option.

4. Next, select the 2nd file or folder by the same method.

Note: Make sure that the two files are checked with the Read-only box.

5. Set Folder Filter to “*.*”. This will allow you to compare all the files.

6. After selecting the files and ensuring the checks, click on Compare.

7. When you click on Compare, WinMerge starts to compare the two files. If the file size is small, then the process will be completed quickly. On the other hand, if the file size is large, it takes a while for the process to be completed. When the comparison is made, all the files will be displayed in folders, and the comparison result will be displayed along with the last date of modification.

Important info: These color combinations will help you to make analysis easier.

  • If the Comparison result displays, Right only indicate that the corresponding file/folder is not present in the first comparison file. It is indicated by the color grey.
  • If the Comparison result displays, Left only, it indicates that the corresponding file/folder is not present in the second comparison file. It is indicated by the color grey.
  • Unique files are indicated in white.
  • The files that have no similarities are colored in Yellow.

8. You can view the distinct differences between files by double-clicking on them. This will open a wide pop-up screen where the comparisons are made in a more detailed manner.

9. The comparison results can be customized with the help of the View option.

10. You can view the files in tree mode. You can select the files, namely, Identical Items, Different Items, Left Unique Items, Right Unique Items, Skipped Items, and Binary Files. You can do so by checking the desired option and unchecking the rest. Such customization will save analysis time, and you can identify the target file at the earliest.

How to Compare Files in Two Folders Using WinMerge?

Thus, you can compare files in two folders by following the above steps.

Note: If you want to update any changes to the existing comparison, you can click on the refresh icon displayed in the following picture or click on the F5 key.

To start a new comparison, tap the Select Files or Folders option. In the next step, replace your target files or folders using the Browse option and click Compare.

Some Other Tools to Compare Files in Two Folders

1. Meld

  • Meld is an open-source app that supports both Windows and Linux.
  • It supports two and three-way comparing and merging features for files and directories.
  • The editing feature is available directly in the comparison mode.

2. Beyond Compare

  • Beyond Compare supports Windows, macOS, and Linux.
  • It compares PDF files, excels files, tables, and even image files.
  • You can generate the report by merging the changes you have added to it.

3. Araxis Merge

  • Araxis Merge supports not only image and text files but also office files like Microsoft PowerPoint, Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, etc.,
  • It supports both Windows and macOS.
  • A single license is valid for both operating systems.

4. KDiff3

  • It is an open-source platform that supports Windows and macOS.
  • An automatic merging facility is supported.
  • Differences are clarified line-by-line and character-by-character.

5. DeltaWalker

  • DeltaWalker is similar to that of Araxis Merge.
  • Apart from comparing office files, DeltaWalker lets you compare file archives like ZIP, JAR, etc.
  • DeltaWalker supports Windows, macOS, and Linux.

6. P4Merge

  • P4Merge supports Windows, macOS, and Linux.
  • It is cost-free and suits basic comparison needs.

7. Guiffy

  • Guiffy supports Windows, macOS, and Linux.
  • It supports syntax highlighting and multiple comparison algorithms.


We hope this article was helpful and you were able to compare files in two folders on Windows 10 PC. If you have any queries, reach out to us through the comments section below.

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