dotTech Throwdown: CCleaner vs FCleaner

Everyone, everyone, knows about CCleaner. On the other hand, many of us don’t know about FCleaner. FCleaner is similar program to CCleaner; I ran across FCleaner some time ago but didn’t give it much thought. However, recently Giovanni, a friend, challenged CCleaner by claiming FCleaner is… better. So, time to have a throwdown.

In the right corner we have the popular and trusted CCleaner – a veteran in the field of privacy and registry cleaning. In the left corner there is the (relatively) new, but exciting, FCleaner which specializes in privacy cleaning. Ready? Fight!


CCleaner cleans



  • Users may  use CCleaner’s advance INI customization or “Include” feature (found under Options) to make CCleaner clean applications/files/folders that are not supported by CCleaner by default.
  • CCleaner has ability to wipe free space.
  • CCleaner has a simple startup manager (enable/disable/remove).
  • CCleaner has a simple uninstaller.
  • CCleaner can remove system restore points selectively.
  • CCleaner allows users to specify certain cookies, files, folders and registry entries to not be deleted when CCleaner runs.
  • CCleaner has secure deletion options.

FCleaner cleans



  • Users may  use FCleaner’s “Custom Cleaner” feature (found under Options) to make FCleaner clean files/folders that are not supported by FCleaner by default.
  • FCleaner has a simple startup manager (enable/disable/remove).
  • FCleaner has a simple uninstaller.
  • FCleaner allows users to specify certain cookies to not be deleted when FCleaner runs.
  • FCleaner has secure deletion options.
  • FCleaner has “quick links” to Windows components: Security Center, System Restore, System Information, Command Line, and Task Scheduler.

As you can see, generally speaking, CCleaner and FCleaner have similar features. The major differences are as follows:

  • While FCleaner does remove registry entries as needed (i.e. if one of the thing it is cleaning involves cleaning registry entries it will do it) but FCleaner does not have a specific registry cleaner like CCleaner does.
  • CCleaner can wipe empty space.
  • CCleaner supports Unicode while FCleaner does not. Thanks Farrukh!


When it comes to privacy (and registry) cleaning it is performance, rather than features, that makes or breaks a program. So let me break the suspense and tell you CCleaner is still the gold standard – FCleaner effectively “broke”.

What I did was enable all privacy cleaning features for both programs (I did not use CCleaner’s registry cleaner since FCleaner does not have a comparable feature) and scan my computer with both. Here are the results:




As you can see, there are obvious discrepancies so I investigated. My conclusion: FCleaner needs a lot of work. Here are the major discrepancies that I noticed: not only did FCleaner totally miss Firefox’s cache but it is also detecting cookies for Chrome and Opera and saved passwords for Chrome. That is insanity because my Firefox’s cache is obviously large and is essential to delete for a privacy cleaning software and I don’t have any cookies in Chrome or Opera nor do I have any saved passwords in Chrome – I triple checked to make sure.

To be fair, FCleaner did scan a tiny bit faster than CCleaner and did offer to clear some minor things which CCleaner did not, such as WindowsUpdate.log (although many people may not want to clear their WindowsUpdate.log). Also, FCleaner does not come with Yahoo Toolbar like CCleaner does (there are non-toolbar versions of CCleaner though).

Overall, however, CCleaner is still king. Sorry Giovanni.

You may download CCleaner and/or FCleaner from the following links:


Version reviewed: v2.25.1025

Supported OS: Windows 98/NT4/ME/2000/XP/2003/Vista – it also works on Win7 fine for me.

CCleaner homepage

[Direct download – non-toolbar version]

[Direct download – portable version]


Version reviewed: v1.2.6.1102

Supported OS: Windows 9x/ Me/2000/XP/2003/Vista/Win7

FCleaner homepage

[Direct download]

[Direct download – portable version]

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  • kikin

    What do you think about Ncleaner ?

    See on:

    this application will be better than ccleaner ?

    Thank you.

  • jayesstee

    @radek & Everybody:
    To improve CCleaner try CCEnhancer. It works well with Portable CCleaner and gives it more power with “support for over 500 more programs”. Find details and download at:
    For Ashraf’s opinion (favourable) see:

  • Garuda

    I share all the good opinions about CCleaner. However the freeware Xleaner is a very good soft too and may be a possible challenger for CCleaner in the future…

  • radek

    Hi Ashraf thanks for the link to the site to download portable version. It’s quite hard to find it on :). I never knew CCleaner is also in portable form and I use it for years.. (I like anything portable rather than stable but that’s just my view).

  • Ashraf

    @Godel: I wrote thid article two years ago, lmao. I have a script that brings “good” old articles to the front. I am pretty good at removing articles not worth the republish; it didnt occur to me the vast difference in versions could make a difference. So, yes, I agree with you. Sorry about that.

  • Godel

    Ashraf, while I appreciate your efforts, I don’t know if it’s worthwhile reposting a head-to-head comparison of programs when the editions being tested are both two years old.

    For example, you’ve described CCleaner v.2.25.1025 while the latest is v. 3.13.1600. A lot can change in two years, for both programs.

  • the venturer

    An intimate greeting from Türkiye, Ashraf.
    I just installed CCleaner but it doesn’t open its main menu screen whenever I click on it. It was all well in the past as I have been using it for years. I mailed piriform a few days ago, but still got no reply. Hoping yours is way faster.

  • Michael

    Here you can find more about all CCleaner versions, including it’s changelog.

    Hope you will find it usefull.


  • MerleOne

    I recently came across another competitor, which seems to perform some extreme cleaning, and would like to have your opinion on it : DiskMax.
    Thanx !

  • hey, you’re a expert about that, thanks for your good article.

  • Giovanni (ex King of Freebies…sigh!)

    I forgot to mention a pretty unknown feature of Ccleaner!!

    Ok, unlike Fcleaner that has received a thumbs down from Ashraf (right??), almost everyone knows CCleaner because it’s free, very effective and lots of people swear by it.

    But a few people know that the developer of Ccleaner has recently made some nice changes to the results output in order to make it more comprehensive and customizable to fit its users’ needs.

    For instance if you download Ccleaner you can select the section “Other Builds” and then download the “CCleaner v2.25.1025 Slim” file which doesn’t come bundled with any annoying and useless toolbar.

    CCleaner is cleaning at the moment about 300 different products by default, including those from the latest version of all the major browsers, but if you are eager to get an extra support you can do so by downloading a small file called “winapp2.z” to add to the install folder afterwards.

    You can find the download link of this little file at the end of the first post of the CCleaner forum:

    So download this file (to do so you will need to create a free forum login first) and then extract it into the folder where you have installed CCleaner.

    This zip file contains the instructions on how to clean a few hundred extra applications beyond the basic applications that CCleaner cleans by default (you can open and read/edit this file using notepad).

    To add other entries to CCleaner read the Piriform Docs (Advanced Usage > CCleaner .INI files> How to add your own program for CCleaner to clean).

    What you have to do is simply copy and paste the new entries in
    to winapp2.ini.

    For all the advanced documentation for CCleaner:


    So yes you are right Ashraf!!

    Maybe I’ve been too hasty in drawing conclusions about the effectiveness of Ccleaner because, unlike other similar applications such as Fcleaner, Ccleaner can be extended or customised beyond any imagination….LOL!

  • Mike

    How does ccleaner compare with TuneUp Utilities 2008?

  • Giovanni

    Hi Ashraf!!

    Thanks for your review….maybe I was wrong but at first glance F-Cleaner seemed to me very similar or even better than ccleaner at least in some features but I didn’t carry out a full test like you.

    I pointed you out this little and free tool only because it’s pretty unknown in comparison with ccleaner…that’s it!!

    However I’ve never said to throw ccleaner away even though I firmly believe that ccleaner is NOT the best (free) REGISTRY cleaner out there.


  • Tortuga

    Hey Ash :D

    Great article, and I understood everything!! ;)
    Bravo again!!!
    I’d never heard about FCleaner before. So good old cCleaner wins again!

    BTW do you know nCleaner?

    I was tempted, cause I read on Lifehacker that contrary to cCleaner that only does C:, nCleaner it does ALL the drives.

    Can you confirm this is true? If so, would it be preferable to switch?

    I have several HDs installed on ea system, plus they are all partitioned, which I’m guessing is the setup more & more ppl are using as HD prices fall.
    And most progs I dont install on C:

    What do you think? Anything you can say about this would be greatly appreciated


    PS: OOOPS – Took me so long to write this, didn’t see Mario’s post …

  • Mario

    When I read this post I taught you were talking about nCleaner – see at
    Any way, I did not like nCleaner very much because in my opinion it is too agressive.

  • Ashraf

    @Farrukh: Great feedback! Thank you for informing me about the Unicode issue; I updated my post to reflect that.

    @hahaguy: You are welcome.

    @Jack: I was also expecting better results from FCleaner. =(

    @kasish: I will be sure to look into it sometime.

  • kasish

    Ashraf have you heard of argente cleaner.I would love for you to rate its preformance vs cc cleaner , but that would be a bit with your schedule.I think it works wonderfully and always will use it.(latest version)

  • Jack

    I figured from the get go that CCleaner was going to win,although i was hoping to see better results from FCleaner.then I thought well heck they couldn’t of come up with a another name rather than use something that is so close to another’s pretty hard to beat something that pretty much comes close to doing it all and doing it well.

  • hahaguy

    Great…I knew CCleaner would win. No doubts about that. I have tried FCleaner before but it never took to my liking…something just wasn’t ‘right’ and now I have proof to it. Thanks for this article. It helps to boost my ‘loyalty’ to CCleaner.

  • AOA Ashraf
    Thanks a lot for such informative article.

    As a user of CCleaner, I installed FCleaner and in no way it is faster than CCleaner.

    Fast reading of Add/Remove list in ccleaner
    With CCleaner I use to Tools->Add/Remove programs to uninstall program instead of using Windows’s Control Panel->Add/Remove. And in CCleaner it is so much efficient that it hardly wait a second to get the list of installed programs.
    This feature of CCleaner is an excellent alternative of Windows’s Control Panel->Add/Remove applet

    No Unicode support in FCleaner
    While in FCleaner, it took a while to get the list. Plus it doesn’t support Unicode. I have an Urdu Keyboard installed and its name appeared in Windows’s Control Panel->Add/Remove as ” ???? ????” and similarly in CCleaner, but in FCleaner, is says “??????????”

    In addition I have noticed a slow performance in FCleaner in getting the information for cleanup different thingies, while CCleaner is much faster in getting information for tuning purposes

    A small bug in FCleaner
    I just removed a program from Uninstall feature. Now there should be no entry selected in the Add/Remove programs list. Now Click on Repair and it would open the installation folder of FCleaner separately :). Similar result happened with Update tab.
    However if you select any entry then those tabs would start working fine.