6 Replies Latest reply: Apr 3, 2013 7:51 PM by pjdube
Old Art Level 1 Level 1

Hoping some-one will know
I'm looking for a simple app which will allow me to compare the contents of two folders and list the missing or modified files


I'm certain I saw something a few years back


Any suggestions?

  • X423424X Level 6 Level 6

    A quick and dirty and free utility that may do what you want is a little backup utility called SyncTwoFolders.  While its intent is to do simple backups it has a "Run Simulation" button which will bring up a window showing what would be copied in a two-way sync without actually doing the sync.


    Stick "compare" into a Macupdate.com search and you may find others.  Most of the folder compare utilites compare the ocntents of the files.  I am assuming you just want to know the which files (i.e., the filenames) would need to be backed up in a two-way synchronize operation.

  • fane_j Level 4 Level 4

    Old Art wrote:


    I'm looking for a simple app

    You already have it -- it's called diff. Here's a tip on how to start using it.


    If you're looking for simple GUI apps, in addition to X423424X's suggestion, you can try SyncMe2 -- download it from




    or FileMerge, which is included in the Xcode distribution.

  • X423424X Level 6 Level 6

    Show me the options on diff that can compare two folders only showing which files need updating and which files are missing in each folder (not the actual differences between files), i.e., the assumption I stated in my earlier reply.  I realize you could use diff in a script to accomplish this result, but that seems overkill to me.


    Of course I'm still waiting for the OP to say which kind of comaprisons s/he's actually after.  In absense of that I always take posts literally.

  • fane_j Level 4 Level 4

    X423424X wrote:


    Show me

    Mm. OK -- assume folders a and b. Here's how it works for me (I pruned a bit the output)


    $ ls -l a






    $ ls -l b






    $ diff -rq a b

              Files a/1.txt and b/1.txt differ

              Only in b: 4.txt

              Only in a: 5.txt


    Ça va?

  • X423424X Level 6 Level 6

    Ahh, -q.  Ok.

  • pjdube Level 3 Level 3

    Don't know if this will get to you, as this is an old post. But there is a way to do this. Use Automator and create the following workflow:


    Screen Shot 2013-04-03 at 8.50.44 PM.JPG