When you start AcuteFinder, the search criteria page will show up, with the last settings restored. In order to getting started, you can also use the Search Wizard for easy, step-by-step, guidance.
Simply define your criteria and press the Find-button. The search for duplicate files will then start, and as they are found, they will be added to the list. The search can take several minutes, or even longer, depending on the speed of your computer and the number of folders and files on disk.
Search folders can be added, edited, removed, and moved up/down. Just press the appropriate button at the right-hand side of the folder list. When you add or edit a search folder, a dialog pops up and allows you to either define it manually or pick it from a directory tree. UNC paths, like \\SERVER\MYSHARE\ or \\10.177.25.89\CDRIVE can be used as starting point for search.
You can protect all files found in a specific search folder, from accidental delete. Folders can be Protected/unprotected from the Folder list popup-menu. Just right-click the Folder list and select Protect/unprotect from the menu. A grayed-checkbox (or filled with green in Windows XP, as on the picture above) shows that it will be protected during the next search. Files in that folders will be shown grayed on to resulting list of found files, and will be protected from deletes, but not from moves or any other actions. To unprotect folder again, either check it or select Protect/unprotect again.
File masks can be used to specify certain file types, using masks like *.txt;*.doc. You can also search for files based on name, like Report*.* (where the * and ? have the usual wildcard meaning, i.e. representing a variable string or character, respectively).
By clicking on More search options the Settings dialog will open, with the Search page selected. There you can define whether you want to include hidden files, system folders, or look into self-extracting EXE-files and the like.
Quick pick of file groups:
To search for predefined file types, press the blue question mark button and select one of the options. You can customize this list by editing the text file AcuteFinder_filegroups.txt (be sure to make a backup copy of your changes, since it will be replaced during next update).