Collaboration

Product Spotlight: CCleaner

Derek Schauland outlines the basics of CCleaner for keeping your computer optimized and helping you get rid of the mess that piles up from Internet surfing, old applications, and other fragments.

Keeping your computer moving like the day it was purchased keeps getting more difficult with new viruses, malware, and all the other "interesting" software that shows up on the Internet. CCleaner is a freeware utility that helps keep computers cleaned up and running at their peak by identifying and getting rid of problem cookies, uninstalled program leftovers, and other fragments that clog up your system.

I am not usually one to constantly worry about cookies and other things, but thought I would give CCleaner a test run once I found that it can be scheduled to run as a task. Automation of regular maintenance is a key feature in my opinion.

Specifications

Supported operating systems:
  • Windows 7
  • Windows Vista
  • Windows XP
  • Windows 2000
Hardware requirements:

CCleaner is a PC-only utility and does not work on Macintosh systems.

Who's it for?

CCleaner is a tool for any Internet user who wants to keep their PC running well without a lot of extra effort. The scanning process can take a few minutes to complete, but it is pretty much hands-off once started.

What problem does it solve?

Runaway cookies and applications slowly degrade performance. For users who don't want to search out things on their own and get into the guts of their computer's registry, CCleaner offers a simple, hands-off method of cleaning up the messes inherent in using the Internet and uninstalling old applications.

Standout features

  • Uninstallation: CCleaner can be used to remove applications from your PC.
  • Registry Integrity inspection: CCleaner will inspect the data in the registry for orphan keys and data and allow it to be corrected.
  • Startup items: Enable or disable Startup items
  • Secure file deletion: CCleaner supports several levels of file removal, including simple overwrites, the Department of Defense standard that uses three passes, the National Security Agency standard that uses seven passes, and the Gutmann algorithm that uses a 35-pass method of overwriting removed files.

Figure A

Clean up browser and system items.

Figure B

Manage Startup items, applications, and System Restore items.

Figure C

Clean up registry items.

What's wrong?

The application is great out of the box when the general features are used, but a better and simpler explanation of the advanced features would be a big improvement. There does not appear to be a good documentation set for the advanced features.

Competitive products

Bottom line for business

A simple way to maintain a clean and optimized system is a great benefit to organizations and their users. I would recommend the application be used from a flash drive as needed by IT pros, but also be explained to end users so they can, if they choose, install the application on their home computers to improve performance.

Note: Jack Wallen wrote a good how-to post about using CCleaner along with another little program called Click&Clean that you might want to check out for more tips on how to use it.

About

Derek Schauland has been tinkering with Windows systems since 1997. He has supported Windows NT 4, worked phone support for an ISP, and is currently the IT Manager for a manufacturing company in Wisconsin.

39 comments
iTrucker
iTrucker

I have with great succes been cleaning the registry for years by manually removing unused keys. I have over the years tested the software cleaners, but every time I get the same results... There is always some of the keys that the software cant remove, but still report as errors !

premiertechnologist
premiertechnologist

Concerning those "orphaned" registry entries... I've not used CCleaner but have System Mechanic. System Mechanic is fine for saving the registry and restoring it, cleaning out cash and four other segments which may (or may not) add value. The latest is a specially created function for keeping health on SSDs -- doesn't work, goes about 4% and locks up and has to be cancelled. The biggest problem is the registry cleaner: It cleans out entries all right and creates havoc with Windows. I had to upgrade with a clean Windows system because I could not install Windows 7 SP1. I also could not get past IE 7. Installation of IE8 failed. Silverfast came up with a message that it could not find itself. At this point, I am terribly suspicious of any registry cleaner. Can you folks tell my your experience with them?

slart58
slart58

I am a fan of CCleaner and have used many of it's different features. I did find one dangerous feature. Out of the box, it clears out your Antivirus log files. I recently had a virus on our corporate network and just started stepping through my usual cleanup procedure which starts with CC. My boss's Boss's BOSS requested that I do an incident report and document as much as I could. The log folder was empty. I now use CCleaner-portable with a pre-configured .ini exclusively to prevent it from clearing AV logs. Just a thought!

kentontator
kentontator

We use ccleaner here at the office and lots of times I notice after I run ccleaner, windows disk cleanup still finds files to delete and in some cases for heavy users windows cleaner finds gigs of crap that needs to be cleaned! Is there any way to have ccleaner include everything that disk cleanup does?

stephenstruk1
stephenstruk1

Did you ever think of adding a prominent DOWNLOAD button to this writeup?

rcossel
rcossel

Doesn't work on my Linux _PC_. Oh, you must have meant "CCleaner is a Windows PC-only utility"

service
service

This product has been a staple in my toolbox for years and is something I have NO hesitation about recommending to my customers. I guess its turn about, fair play...a customer put me on to it four or five years ago. As for the 'advanced' features, in addition to uninstall it also boasts a startup editor and even a list of system restore points (although you'll still have to use Windows to actually launch restore when its needed).

puckster970
puckster970

I have been using this product for the last year as one of the first steps I take with virus removal. Not as friendly looking as Advanced System Care so my users don't use it much here but I think it performs better than that product.

hwarner
hwarner

I have used CCleaner before and like it. Currently my fav is JV PowerTools 2009 (x64). Any comps to this?

jordandw
jordandw

Been using CCleaner for years now (always and frequently updated)and it's johnny-on-the-spot for the things it does (remarkably well!) But I'm curious to hear about "Secure File Deletion" as a feature because unless that refers to its own innate file deletion processes, I don't know of any user selectable file/s/disk wiping that you can do with it. I'd love to be proven wrong! It's certainly great at everything else it does!

Ron K.
Ron K.

That's why it's called a spotlight, not a flood light. There are several links to in-depth detail of CCleaner on their homepage. Why reinvent the wheel?

seanferd
seanferd

Lucky you! Nor do you collect the same kind of crap a Win user does. Just flush your browser cache. ;)

justagallopin
justagallopin

Try bleachbit for lunux, works like a champ. Or do manual system maintenance to really have a hand on things.

adh773
adh773

I also have been using it for a number of years and have found it to be a must have tool.

KNOWLEDGE464
KNOWLEDGE464

If anyone remember this tool used to be called crap cleaner and when you clicked on the button it used to make a flushing noise... I miss that! Anyway my first tool is ATF cleaner which removes other profile trash as well then I run CCleaner as a secondary only because after ATF, ccleaner runs way fater especially if you get a system that has never erased a cookie of prefetch item since its birth. Good stuff to run even before troubleshooting.

ted
ted

I have been using CCleaner for a long time but I didn't realize it could remove apps and start-up processes, I will definitely check that out.

seanferd
seanferd

JV is far more powerful and extensive. It is also way dangerous in the hands of a novice who is not careful with the advanced tools. JV also has all those other tools built in. It is the best reg cleaner I ever used, even years ago when it was free. :)

don
don

Spot on, but then again, it was a "new" writeup, not just a recycled one as I've seen here before. I would have liked to see something more along the lines of "new features" in ccleaner, as even a quick search of the site shows this app had been brought up years ago. It is a great app, I've used it and recommended it for years. Think I might have even found it on here.

jgrissom21
jgrissom21

Just because this product has "been around for years" doesn't mean everyone has known about it. There are thousands of "new" PC users every day. (Or did you think that the day you bought your first PC so did the rest of the world?) Its useless comments like this that bogs the internet down and this way of thinking that slow progress. Here's a breakthrough for you - heard of the automobile?? It's a good thing we just didn't accept the Model-T for what it was. Instead, we introduced it to modern civilians and guess what? It Got Better!! If everyone thought the way you do we would still be turning handles to crank our cars... Gees...

Justin James
Justin James

I had heard of this tool before, but never much in-depth. Now I have a lot more information about it, and I may try it. The point of these articles is to not just show off recently released apps, but to expose the TR audience to applications that they may not be aware of or have the time to try out on their own. I have looked at a number of apps that were featured here myself, and that's a real service to me. J.Ja

slart58
slart58

*post moved to reply to main article*

YankDownUnder
YankDownUnder

I like this product for "Live Maintenance" as it were - whilst booted into Microsoft Windows(tm) - however, when I do REAL cleaning, I prefer to NOT be in Microsoft Windows(tm) and utilise a bootable USB or CD/DVD with either Ubuntu or Fedora. CCleaner's great for taking care of the vast majority of cleanup so I don't have to do it by hand, however, for true security and reliability (and given the time) I prefer to still do the rest by hand.

Gorge4896
Gorge4896

I guess that is to say ccleaner only delete temp files, system produced craps which are considered as useless file, so it is named secure file deletion. Correct it if I was wrong.

rsmastersjr
rsmastersjr

I've used Ccleaner for some time. Now I've got this shiny new laptop. The registry tab on Ccleaner has found a lot of issues--and the column is right, the documentation is minimal (can't beat the price, though). Here's the deal: In the registry integrity section, all the boxes are checked. Is this a good thing? Here is a list of the boxes: Missing Shared Dlls Unused File Extensions ActiveX and Class Issues Type Libraries Applications Fonts Application Paths Help Files Installer Obsolete Software Run at Startup Start Menu Ordering MUI Cache I recall the program will make a backup of the changes made to the registry. That's great but I would n't know what to restore if something did go wrong. There's a lot of IT brain power on these pages. What do the Gods of TR think this pedestrian should do? What would they do if they had a shiny new laptop?

tnboren
tnboren

every time I use CCleaner (the 'C' stands for Crap, by the way) because I have used it for over 6 years and haven't sent in a donation yet. Maybe this is my pennance. Anyway, what I like about it is that it is not so aggressive that it hoses up the registery. It just does it's job in a yeoman like way, and that is great.

sab3864
sab3864

First you'll want to go to Options -> Settings and that is where you can select the type of secure deletion. If you select the drives for "Wipe Free Space drives" when you are at the main cleaner window under the Advanced section you can check "Wipe Free Space" I *think* it wipes it to the secure method you chose. But I'm pretty sure if you choose a secure method it uses it for all the regular delete of temp files and such. Then back in Options -> Include it looks like you can add a single file or directory to have it delete, which I would guess would delete it to the secure method you chose earlier. I've never really used it though.

rcossel
rcossel

Thank, but I was being facetious, pointing out the often misused term "PC" to indicate "Windows" while other OS platforms are indicated specifically. If I did want to enjoy the benefits of CClean, I would install it on the Windows XP OS that is running on my VirtualBox (http://www.virtualbox.org) "PC". Instead, I just revert to my previous snapshot. I would agree though, that some modern Linux distributions are becoming bloated to the point of needing applications such as BleachBit, especially with the use of .xml config files (yuck) instead of flat text files.

justagallopin
justagallopin

I prefer CCleaner to ATF, but both are good. For my customers that tend to hose up their systems I prefer ATF Cleaner as it is more limited. For a stronger more in depth tool CCleaner is the one for me. If ATF is used and a start up utility is needed try Winpatrol.

The 'G-Man.'
The 'G-Man.'

People who join a forum site yet only make 4 posts (to date) since joining are just as much a problem. If we all thought like you there would be no content here!

seanferd
seanferd

So the file cannot be reasonably recovered.

seanferd
seanferd

"I would n't know what to restore if something did go wrong." You'd restore the most recent backup.

jordandw
jordandw

I guess if I'd had an inkling I could have discovered this by drilling down menus (RTFOLD certainly applies, as usual), but thanks! I'll try this when I can get home (where I use it -- third party apps like CCleaner are shunned at my large workplace). This facility will make CCLeaner an even more valuable tool in my bag... and further justification for my donation/contribution to PiriForm too! A great "free" product just got greater!

The 'G-Man.'
The 'G-Man.'

I don't think I will bother with them anymore. Bigger fish and all that.

jgrissom21
jgrissom21

You couldn't find 'anything better to say' so you attack my lack of posts even though I've only been a member for 7 months. Nice! But that's par for you so I understand.;) Just look at your last 5 posts: 1."This product has been around for years" 2."This post is a failure I think...added to ye olde list. - hear, hear. " 3."Serves fools right for choosing Symantec for AV" 4."Hi Mr. Eckel. " 5."Plus 1 on the sudden change of tune - I find that amusing as well!" And no one called anybody a fool (well except you in your #3 of last posts *sigh*) Understaffed was simply stating a famous quote. You know, like; "if the shoe fits wear it". lol Ahh well... anything else or can I go back to being counterproductive?

The 'G-Man.'
The 'G-Man.'

who's first post (to one of mine) is as shown above. 'delurk' all they want but not just to post stuff like that. 'least helpful thread in this discussion' - then why even reply? As for calling people fool's - just as abusive, no?

Understaffed
Understaffed

This is the least helpful thread in this discussion, but I think this applies too much to you to let it go: "It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt." -- Mark Twain So the guy delurked- don't get your knickers in a twist! How about welcoming him into the community? (and I thought *I* was jaded...)

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