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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.

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