DirEqual icon

DirEqual User Manual

DirEqual is an advanced directory compare utility for Mac. It allows detecting the tiniest changes between folders and display the result with a clear and intuitive way. The differences are highlighted using colors and icons indicating the difference type (size, date or item content).
DirEqual main window is divided into 4 sections: Toolbar, path panel, results view (list) and status bar.
Compare Folders
(1) The toolbar contains main controls and buttons. From the left side:
- Excluded folder. Allows to define folders which will be skipped when comparing the left and right folders.
- Compare file content. If disabled, only the date and size are used to determine whether the two files are the same. If you select this option, the files are compared byte by byte and the comparison stops after the first difference in the files. This gives a 100% guarantee that the compared files are equal or different. Only the contents of files with the same name and size are compared. Comparing file contents slows down the comparison process. The byte-by-byte comparison method used in DirEqual is more efficient (file scanning stops after the first difference is found) than file checksum. Each checksum method requires the entire file to be read first in order to calculate its checksum.
- Compare options.
- Status bar.
- Start button. Press to initiate the comparision. The button will change to Stop button which allows to abort the comparision.
- Synchronize button. Click to synchronize the two folders. Wikipedia.
- Execute button. When Copy/delete actions have been set, this button executes all the actions. To clear all the actions set previously, hold down the Option key while clicking the Execute button.
- Info Panels button. Click to open / close panels with detailed information on selected items.
- The segment switch which allows to choose between folder and file comparator.
(2) Compared folder paths. To select folders to compare:
      - click the browse button on the left side and select folders, you can select two folders to compare at a time,
      - drag and drop folders to compare. You can drag one or two folders at a time,
      - manually enter folder paths,
      - select folders from comparision history list.

      To exchange left and right folders, click the left/right arrow button in the middle.
      The control panel also displays basic statistics of the compared folders (size in bytes, number of files, number of folders). The statistics are displayed after compare process has finished.
(3) Comparision result filter:
      △ show ignored files
, = show files detected as identical,
show files which differ,
, - show files which only exist in left/fight folder.
(4) Folder compare options:
DirEqual options
Compare subfolders - compare all subfolders.
Include hidden items - unselect to skip all hidden files and subfolders.
Include empty folders - show/hide empty folders.

Ignore dates - this option allows you to exclude dates from comparison.
Ignore dates up to 2 s - if the dates of the compared items differ by less than 2 seconds, the files are treated as having the same date.
Ignore size diff up to .. B in files/folders - if the sizes of the compared items differ by less then specified number of Bytes, the items are treated as having the same size. Sizes of such items are displayed in yellow color. Equal sign
is also displayed in yellow color. Parent folders comparision icon is also displayed in yellow color. This option has no effect if "Compare file contents" is enabled.
Ignore size diff
Comparision result with "Ignore size differences up to 1 B in all items" option set.
Include aliases - aliases and symbolic links will be included in the result list.
Resolve aliases
- aliases will be compared not by the contents but by resolving original files. If both compared aliases point to the same item or point to items which are on the same path in left and right folder, the aliases will be considered equal. For example:
left folder: /Users/test
right folder: /Volumes/backup
left alias points to /Users/test/applications/Mail.app
right alias points to: /Volumes/backup/applications/Mail.app
The aliases will be considered equal (even if /Users/test/applications/Mail.app and /Volumes/backup/applications/Mail.app are not equal).
If "resolve aliases" is off, aliases are compared as other files - by size, date and their content if "compare contents" is on.

Compare resource forks - if compared files contain resource forks, the forks will be also compared. This option works only if "Compare file contents" is enabled and if the both compared files have the same content. Additionally, when this option is enabled, file Finder's extended attributes are also compared.
Compare file tags - Works the same as "Compare resource forks" but for file tags instead of resource forks.
Keep folders on top. Folders and files will be grouped separately. 
Calculate folders size. Calculate and display compared subfolder sizes.
Size in bytes. Sizes will always be displayed in bytes, even for large files and folders. E.g. "25 144" instead of "25 KB".
Show time. The date column will contain the file modification time.
Show color tags. Displays file / folders tags next to their names.

Color backgrounds. Draws color backgrounds under compared items.
Show column lines. Displays vertical lines separating columns in the result view.
Alternating row colors. The rows in the result view will be displayed with an alternating background color.
Item size. Adjust the row size and font of the comparison results list. You can also use the Cmd+ and Cmd- keyboard shortcuts.
(5) Comparison status displays progress bar during compare process. After the compare has finished a short info of the compare result is shown.

(6) Comparison result view displays all files and folders inside the compared folders. You can expand subfolders on the left or right side to examine files inside. To expand a folder and all its child subfolders, select the parent folder and hold down the Option key while clicking the expand button.
To collapse a folder and all its child subfolders, select the parent folder and hold down the Option key while clicking the collapse button.
Attributes that are different are displayed in red color. If a file name is displayed in red color, that means the files' content differ.
Right click on a file displays context menu for it. DirEqual recognizes clicking on a left and right file and displays the proper menu options for the left or right file. Clicking on the middle column (> = <) displays the menu for both left and right file.
DirEqual context menu
Click the compare results icon to display a panel with the details of both files or folders:
Info panel
Double click the compare result icon to "ignore" the item. An ignored item cannot have an action assigned to it. Ignored items are mainly used to manually mark items that you are not interested in, even though they are different. You can also treat ignored items as "reviewed" or "processed" while you select items to copy or delete.
(7) Path navigator (not shown on the screenshot) displays the path of a selected file or folder. The path for left file is displayed if you select the file on the left side. The path for right file is displayed if you select the file on the right side.

(8) Blue, red and purple arrows indicate actions to be performed. To set an action, click the dot in the middle column (> = <). You can set up three types of actions: Copy, Copy As, and Delete. When you click the dot in the middle column without pressing any additional key, the "Copy" action will be set. The action is represented by an arrow (red color if overwrite will cause overwrite). To set "Copy As" action hold down the Shift key while clicking the dot. To set the "Delete" action, hold down the Option key while clicking the dot. To select only items that differ, press the Command key and click the items' parent folder.
After clicking the dot icon on selected elements, the action will be applied to all selected elements:
Select files
The actions can be also selected from the right-click context menu. Right click on a dot icon to display the menu:
Sync action
Multiple folder comparison
DirEqual allows you to add several folders to the LEFT and/or RIGHT side and compare all of them at once. In the example below, the user compares the "PR" and "Projects" folders on two different drives. The "PR" and "Projects" folders from the first drive have been added to the LEFT side, while the "PR" and "Projects" folders from the second drive have been added to the RIGHT side. By pressing the "Start" button, both folders on both drives will be compared at the same time:
To add multiple folders to the LEFT or RIGHT side, hold down the Alt (Option) key while dragging folders from the Finder window:
You can also add several folders by clicking the "Open" button while holding down the Alt key:
Executing Actions
The number displayed in the blue circle badge shows number of actions to perform. Click "Execute" button to display the confirmation window and perform the actions:
Merge compared files
Do not overwrite... - - if the copied folder contains identical files as the destination folder, the files will not be copied.
Move items to Trash... - all deleted or overwritten items will be moved to the Trash first. This will allow you to revert actions if you made a mistake when selecting actions.
Action errors
If errors occur while performing an action (when copying or moving files and folders), they are marked with appropriate icons in the "Action" column. Hover over the error icon to display the error message as a tooltip. Click the icon to open the target item folder:
Folder sync
Folder synchronization
Update Sync is a file synchronization in which newly added and newer files (by file modification date) will be copied.
The Update Sync can be one-way, where only orphan and newer files from the source directory are copied to the destination folder so that the destination folder contains the latest versions of files. Optionally, orphan files in the destination directory can be deleted.
In the two-way Update Sync, orphan and newer files are copied between the two folders in both directions to keep both locations identical and updated. Files are never deleted during two-way update synchronization.
Mirror Sync is a one-way sync in which newly added and modified files in the source directory will be synced to the target directory but no files are copied back to the source location. After the sync is complete, the files in the target directory will be exactly the same as the files in the source directory.
Files in the target directory that are inconsistent with those in the source directory will be deleted or overwritten.

Overview - Runs on the current comparison result. Selects items to copy (and delete, if enabled). When the Overview is ready, click the "Execute" button to sync the files.
Rescan - Recompares folders and selects items to copy (and delete).
Compare Files
To compare files, click the right button on the segment switch (2). You can also drag and drop two files to the header of the window. That will switch into file compare mode. Alternatively you can right click on a file in the folder compare result list and select "Compare Items" from the context menu.
Compare files allows to compare text or binary (non-text) files. The result of the comparison is displayed in the form of a listing with marked differences. Use arrow up / down to move between differences or use the minimap in the middle column to scroll compared files.
Compare text files
Comparison of text files.
Compare binary files
Comparison of binary files.
Red background - lines of text are different.
Blue background - a line of text exists only in one file.
White background - lines of text are the same.

Files type allows you to select a type of compared files (text or binary).
Font size allows to adjust font of the listing.
Folder Snapshots
DirEqual allows you to create a snapshot of a folder. A snapshot is a file that contains detailed information about the files inside a folder: filenames, subfolders, file sizes and dates, tags, and other attributes needed to compare folders. The snapshot can also contain the checksum of each file. This allows you to compare the contents of files. You can take a snapshot of a folder on one computer and compare it to a folder on another computer.
To create a folder snapshot, select "Create Folder Snapshot" from the DirEqual menu:
Create snapshot menu
After selecting the folder, the folder scan will start and the following window will be displayed:
Create snapshot log
If errors occur while scanning the folder, they will be displayed in this window. The most common problem with file access is the lack of "Full Disk Access" permission. See here for more details.
Once the snapshot is created, press "Save" to save the snapshot file.
To preview a folder snapshot, select "Open Folder Snapshot" and select the snapshot file you created.
Snapshot preview
Preview of an example folder snapshot
DirEqual Preferences
Restore recently compared folders. After DirEqual starts, the previously compared file and folder paths will be restored. Disable this option if you are comparing remote items that may not be available the next time you run DirEqual.
DirEqual uses macOS services to compare files selected from any Finder window. Select two files or two folders, then right click on the selection and select "Services" -> "Compare with DirEqual". This will run DirEqual and set the selected items to compare:
Files Access Problems
Reset DirEqual permissions
If you encounter that some files or folders are not accessible by DirEqual (the size is listed as zero B), try the following:

Reset DirEqual permissions:
1. Open "Terminal" (can be found by Spotlight)
2. Enter the following command (you can copy and paste it):
tccutil reset All com.naarak.DirEqual
and press Enter key.
3. Log out and log in again.
Add Full Disk Access:
1. Open "System Preferences"
2. Click "Security & Privacy"
3. Click "Privacy" tab
4. Select "Full Disk Access" on the left list
5. Unlock the panell by pressing the "lock" button
6. Click "plus" button and add DirEqual app from the Applications folder.
Full disk access
Manually reset all DirEqual settings
If for some reason DirEqual hangs on startup, try deleting all DirEqual settings. Deleting recently scanned folders often solves problems with accessing disconnected network drives.

To manually reset DirEqual settings:
1. Quit or Force Quit DirEqual

In the case of DirEqual downloaded from App Store:
2. Remove folder

In the case of DirEqual downloaded from the website:
2. Remove file

where "~" stands for your Home folder.

3. Open Terminal and enter the following command:
killall -u login_name cfprefsd
where login_name is your Mac login name, eg. john
The meaning of the symbols in DirEqual