How to Compare Two or Three Folders with WinMerge

Keeping a regular backup of your important files is very important for everyone. Without a reliable backup, you are liable to lose your data when a disaster strikes. For example, when a ransomware malware infects your system and encrypts your files, you can restore some of your files from your backup if you had created one.

But even when you have a backup of your files, you may end up having some confusion if you have many different versions of the backup. Which of these backups should you pick? The question might be answered by comparing the files using a freeware tool called WinMerge. It is a small portable software for Windows that can compare two or three folders and display all the differences in a matter of seconds.

If you want to compare two or three folders and see if they have same files, different files, or modified files, then here is how you can proceed:

  1. First of all, download WinMerge from You can download the installer and install it on your PC. Alternatively, you can also download the portable ZIP version.
  2. Launch WinMerge and click on the folders icon in the toolbar.Compare Folders with WinMerge
  3. Select at least two folders to be compared in the window that appears on your screen and then click on the Compare button.
  4. In a few seconds, you will see the comparison results. It will display whether a file is different, exists in only first, second or third folders, and whether the files are identical. A color coded approach is used to display the identical files, different files and binary files so that you can quickly identify the different files.Compare Folders with WinMerge

If you are comparing plain text or source code files, you can open the files in WinMerge and it will display the positions where the files being compared are different. This makes it very easy to edit and compare two files.