[Windows] Protect your privacy, erase junk files, and clean your registry with CCleaner

Protecting your privacy and keeping your hard disk cleaned at all times is an important task that should be done on a regular basis. One of the best, if not the best, freeware software program to get this done is the popular CCleaner.

What is it and what does it do

Main Functionality

The main purpose of CCleaner is to clean your PC of junk files and content, in the process improving stability and protecting your privacy.

Pros:

  • Cleans privacy traces and junk files
  • Supports all major browsers.
  • Completes tasks relatively quickly
  • Has a registry cleaner
  • Easy to understand user interface
  • Backs up registry before cleaning it
  • Has secure deletion capabilities
  • Has a basic uninstaller, basic startup manager, ability to remove System Restore points, and a secure disk wiper
  • Has portable version

Cons:

  • Main installer version comes bundled with crapware (there is a “slim” installer that doesn’t have the toolbar, but you have to dig around for it on CCleaner’s download page)

Discussion

CCleaner is one of the best, if not the best, privacy and junk file cleaners available. Not only is CCleaner filled with features related to this functionality but it easy to use and works quickly (although there are faster tools).

The “Cleaner” portion of CCleaner cleans junk files, usage traces (history, cookies, etc.), and similar things from various different programs including but not limited to Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Opera, and native Windows settings/features. It can even wipe already erased data. The “Registry” component cleans your register. The program doesn’t incorporates unnecessary features but still has the ability to be expandable using “plugins”, which allows CCleaner to clean more programs than are supported by default. (See CCEnhancer if you are interested in that.)

Supplementary features of CCleaner include a basic uninstaller (it is similar to Add/Remove Programs — nothing too advanced), the ability to use secure deletion algorithms with “Cleaner” (1, 3, 7, or 35 passes), a basic startup manager (enable/disable/delete startup processes and programs, Internet Explorer BHQs, and Task Scheduler things), the ability to remove individual System Restore points, and a disk wiper that allows you to securely wipe any partition or hard drive using 1, 3, 7, or 35 passes. There are also features to specify cookies that CCleaner will never delete when cleaning your computer, an “Include” list allowing you to tell CCleaner to always delete the contents of specific folders when cleaning, and an “Exclude” list telling CCleaner to ignore specific files, folders, and registry entries when cleaning.

The best part about CCleaner? It is reliable. Users won’t find many, if any, problems here because the program works and works really well.

Conclusion and download link

CCleaner is an excellent program and highly recommended by dotTech. This is a must have tool, not only for the purposes of protecting your privacy but also for removing the junk that tends to pile up on your computer after a long time of use.

Price: Free 

Version reviewed: 3.23.1823

Supported OS: Windows  XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8

Download size: 3.75MB

Virustotal Malware scan results: 0/42

Portability? Has a portable version

CCleaner homepage | Direct download portable version

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11 comments

  1. Eric989

    Bleachbit is another nice one. It is not as fully featured as some others but it does what it says. I have had problems several times with ccleaner promising to clean a bunch but not actually doing what it said it was in the final analysis.
    For example a couple of weeks ago I used ccleaner and it said it would clear 12GB, but when I ran it, it cleared only like 30MB and left tons of temp files behind. I then ran Bleachbit and it promised to clear 12GB and it actually did with no ill effects.
    Wow 12GB, I obviously need to run these more often but as you can see if you don’t use these, there is no telling how much HD space you are wasting and that will slow down your computer.

  2. Eric989

    @FredySmith: I actually have two portable ccleaners on my computer because I forgot where one was “installed” and never bothered to delete the other one. Their settings are stored separately and changing one does not affect the other one. They do remember their individual settings from a previous run so they should work fine for your purposes.
    I have never tried xleaner but it gets good ratings from both the readers of Majorgeeks and Softpedia with a high number of votes so it is very likely an excellent program if you want to go that route. In general the readers of Majorgeeks give the most useful ratings in my experience so if they say its good it usually is.

  3. FredySmith

    Has anyone had recent experience with Xleaner? I’d like an alternative to CCleaner, preferably one that is just about as good. Why I here you ask. Well as far as I can see CCleaner doesn’t have a ‘profiles’ setting so that I can switch to a different profile that is set to clean different things.

    I see that I can run two instances of CCleaner but if I uncheck/check items in one instance will that be the default the next time I load CCleaner? I know I could test this myself but don’t have the time and thought an alternate cleaner (portable version) such as Xleaner might be easier than messing with my CCleaner setup.

    Cheers,

  4. Godel

    Here’s one I just came across recently, but since it’s up to 1.2.25 it’s apparently been around a while.

    PrivaZer. This one is so thorough it’s scary. You would definitely want to do a full image backup before using it for the first time, and run it on the scan-only mode until you have a good look at what it’s offering to delete.

    Also it can take a long time for the first scan if you have a lot of files on your drive(s), but subsequent runs are much shorter. One user reported 50 minutes for their first scan, but my system without much stuff only took 6.5 minutes for the first run.

    Despite the dire warnings it’s well worth a look, if only to marvel at it. I’ve run it twice so far with no ill effects. There’s also a large 5.78MB PDF manual under the Support tab on their web site. 4.26MB

    http://privazer.com/download.php

  5. Eric989

    Not to be a nag but what was that part in a previous post about focusing on relatively unknown programs. Don’t get me wrong because I like that CCleaner was reviewed, but this would definitely go into my small list of programs that almost all Dottechies know about. I am now expecting reviews of Firefox and Adobe Flash player to follow later in the day.LOL

  6. mukhi

    i trust and use only this cleaner, no mess-up happened so far; if you use registry cleaner (with caution), don’t forget to use reg backup option, in case mess-up happens, you can always go back!