CCleaner is the most popular freeware computer cleaning program that provides the user with an excellent set of functions for deleting unnecessary files and optimizing computer performance. The program allows you to delete temporary files, safely clear the cache of browsers and registry keys, completely erase files from the recycle bin, and much more, and in terms of combining efficiency and security for the novice user, CCleaner is perhaps the leader among such programs.
However, experience shows that most novice users perform automatic cleaning (or, what could be worse, mark all items and clear everything that is possible) and do not always know how to use CCleaner, what and why it cleans and what it is possible, or perhaps better not to clean it. This is what will be discussed in this manual on using computer cleaning with CCleaner without harming the system. See also: How to clean C drive from unnecessary files (additional methods besides CCleaner), Automatic disk cleanup in Windows 10 .
Note: like most computer cleaning programs, CCleaner can lead to problems with Windows or starting up the computer, and although this does not usually happen, I can’t guarantee that there are no problems.
How to download and install CCleaner
You can download CCleaner for free from the official website http://www.piriform.com/ccleaner/download - select the download from Piriform in the “Free” column below if you need the free version (fully functional version, fully compatible with Windows 10, 8 and Windows 7).
Installing the program is not difficult (if the installation program opened in English, select Russian in the upper right), however, note that if Google Chrome is not available on your computer, you will be prompted to install it (you can uncheck if you want to opt out).
You can also change the installation settings by clicking “Configure” under the “Install” button.
In most cases, changing something in the installation parameters is not required. Upon completion of the process, the CCleaner shortcut appears on the desktop and the program can be launched.
How to use CCleaner, what to remove and what to leave on the computer
The standard way to use CCleaner for many users is to click the "Analysis" button in the main program window, and then click the "Clean" button and wait for the computer to automatically clean up unnecessary data.
By default, CCleaner deletes a significant number of files and, if the computer has not been cleaned for a long time, the size of the freed up space on the disk can be impressive (the screenshot shows the program window after using it on an almost clean recently installed Windows 10, so not much space is freed up).
The cleaning options are safe by default (although there are nuances, and therefore, before the first cleaning, I would still recommend creating a system restore point ), but you can argue about the effectiveness and usefulness of some of them, which I will do.
Some of the points are really able to clear the disk space, but not lead to acceleration, but to a decrease in computer performance, let's talk primarily about such parameters.
Browser Cache for Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, and Mozilla Firefox
Let's start by clearing the browser cache. The options for cleaning the cache, the log of visited sites, the list of entered addresses and session data are enabled by default for all browsers found on the computer in the "Cleaning" section on the Windows tab (for built-in browsers) and the "Applications" tab (for third-party browsers, moreover, browsers based on Chromium, for example Yandex Browser, will appear as Google Chrome).
Is it good that we clean these items? If you are a regular home user - most often not very:
- Browser caches are various elements of sites visited on the Internet that browsers use when they visit them again to speed up page loading. Clearing the browser’s cache, although it will delete temporary files from the hard drive, thereby freeing up a small amount of space, can cause slow loading of pages that you frequently visit (without clearing the cache, they would load in fractions or units of seconds, with cleansing - seconds and tens of seconds ) However, clearing the cache may be appropriate if some sites began to display incorrectly and you need to fix the problem.
- Session is another important item that is enabled by default when cleaning browsers in CCleaner. By it is meant an open communication session with some site. If you clear the sessions (cookies can also affect this, which will be discussed separately later in the article), then the next time you log in to the site where you already logged in, you will have to do it again.
The last item, as well as a set of items such as a list of entered addresses, history (log of visited files) and download history may make sense to clear if you want to get rid of traces and hide something, but if there is no such purpose, cleaning will simply reduce usability browsers and their speed.
Thumbnail cache and other Windows Explorer cleanup items
Another item cleared by CCleaner by default, but which slows down the opening of folders in Windows and not only “Thumbnail cache” in the “Windows Explorer” section.
After clearing the thumbnail cache, when you re-open the folder containing, for example, images or videos, all thumbnails will be recreated, which does not always favorably affect performance. At the same time, additional read / write operations are performed each time (not useful for the disk).
It may make sense to clear the rest of the items in the Windows Explorer section only if you want to hide recent documents and entered commands from someone else, they will hardly affect the free space.
In the "System" section of the "Windows" tab, the option to clear temporary files is enabled by default. Also, on the “Applications” tab in CCleaner, you can delete temporary files for various programs installed on the computer (by checking this program).
Again, by default, the temporary data of these programs is deleted, which is not always necessary - as a rule, they do not take up much space on the computer (except for cases of incorrect operation of the programs or their frequent closure using the task manager) and, moreover, in some software (for example, in graphics programs, in office applications) is convenient, for example, to have a list of the latest files that were worked with - if you use something like that, but when cleaning CCleaner these items disappear, just remove ie the check mark from the respective programs. See also: How to delete temporary Windows 10 files .
Clearing the registry in CCleaner
In the CCleaner registry menu item, you can find and fix problems in the Windows 10, 8, and Windows 7 registry. Clearing the registry will speed up your computer or laptop, fix errors, or affect Windows in a different positive way, many say, but how as a rule, these many are either ordinary users who have heard or read about it, or those who want to capitalize on ordinary users.
I would not recommend using this item. It can speed up your computer by cleaning startup, removing unused programs, cleaning the registry by itself is unlikely.
The Windows registry contains several hundred thousand keys, programs for cleaning the registry delete several hundred and, moreover, they can "clear" some keys necessary for the operation of specific programs (for example, 1C) that will not match the CCleaner templates. Thus, the possible risk for the average user is slightly higher than the real effect of the action. It is noteworthy that when writing an article, CCleaner, which was just installed on a clean Windows 10, was defined as a problematic “manually created” registry key.
Anyway, if you still want to clean the registry, be sure to save a backup copy of the deleted partitions - this will be suggested by CCleaner (it also makes sense to make a system restore point). In case of any problems, the registry can be restored to its original state.
Note: more often than others there is a question about what the "Clear free space" item is responsible for in the "Miscellaneous" section of the "Windows" tab. This item allows you to "wipe" free disk space so that deleted files cannot be recovered. For an ordinary user, it is usually not needed and will be a waste of time and disk resource.
Section "Service" in CCleaner
One of the most valuable sections in CCleaner is the “Service”, which contains many very useful tools in the skilled hands. Next, in order, all the tools contained in it are examined, with the exception of System Restore (it is not noticeable and only allows you to delete the system restore points created by Windows).
Manage Installed Programs
In the “Uninstall programs” item of the CCleaner service menu, you can not only uninstall programs, which can be done in the corresponding section of the Windows control panel (or in the settings - applications in Windows 10) or using special uninstaller programs, but also:
- Rename installed programs - the name of the program in the list changes, the changes will also be displayed in the control panel. This can be useful, given that some programs may have obscure names, as well as to sort the list (sorting is done alphabetically)
- Save the list of installed programs to a text file - this may come in handy if, for example, you want to install Windows again, but after reinstalling you plan to install all the same programs from the list.
- Uninstall embedded Windows 10 applications .
As for uninstalling programs, everything here is similar to the management of installed applications built into Windows. First of all, if you want to speed up the computer, I would recommend uninstalling all Yandex Bar, Amigo, Mail Guard, Ask and Bing Toolbar - everything that was installed secretly (or not very advertizing it) and not needed by anyone other than the manufacturers of these programs . Unfortunately, deleting things like the mentioned Amigo is not the easiest thing and here you can write a separate article (wrote: How to remove Amigo from the computer ).
Windows startup cleanup
Programs in autoload are one of the most common reasons for slow startup, and then - the same operation of Windows OS for novice users.
In the "Startup" sub-section of the "Service" section, you can disable and enable programs that start automatically when Windows starts, including tasks in the task scheduler (which AdWare has often been written to recently). In the list of automatically launched programs, select the program that you want to disable and click "Turn off", in the same way you can turn off tasks in the scheduler.
From my own experience, I can say that the most common unnecessary programs in autorun are the numerous services for synchronizing phones (Samsung Kies, Apple iTunes and Bonjour) and various software installed with printers, scanners and webcams. As a rule, the former are used extremely rarely and their automatic loading is not needed, and the latter are not used at all - printing, scanning and video in skype work due to drivers and not various software “trash” distributed by manufacturers “to load”. More on the topic of disabling programs in startup and not only in the instructions. What to do if the computer slows down .
Add-ons or browser extensions are a convenient and useful thing if you approach them responsibly: download extensions from official stores, remove unused ones, know what and why this extension is installed and what is required.
At the same time, browser extensions or additions are the most common reason that the browser slows down, as well as the reason for the appearance of obscure ads, pop-ups, spoofing search results and similar things (i.e. many extensions are AdWare).
In the "Service" - "CCleaner Browser Add-ons" section, you can disable or remove unnecessary extensions. I recommend removing (or at least turning it off) all those extensions that you don’t know why they are needed for, as well as those that you don’t use. This certainly will not do much harm, but it is likely to be beneficial.
Read more on how to remove Adware in Task Scheduler and browser extensions in the article How to get rid of ads in the browser .
The Disk Analysis tool in CCleaner allows you to quickly get a simple report on exactly what the disk space is, by sorting data by file type and its extension. If desired, you can delete unnecessary files directly in the disk analysis window - by marking them, right-clicking and selecting "Delete selected files".
The tool is useful, but there are more powerful free utilities for analyzing disk space usage, see How to find out what disk space is used up .
Search for duplicates
Another great feature, but rarely used by users, is the search for duplicate files. It often happens that a significant amount of disk space is occupied by just such files.
The tool is certainly useful, but I recommend to be careful - some Windows system files must be located in different places on the disk and deleting in one of the locations can damage the normal operation of the system.
There are also more advanced tools for finding duplicates - Free programs for finding and removing duplicate files .
Many people know that when deleting files in Windows, deletion in the full sense of the word does not occur - the file is simply marked as deleted by the system. Various data recovery programs (see. Best free data recovery programs ) can successfully recover them, provided that they have not been overwritten by the system again.
CCleaner allows you to erase the information contained in these files from disks. To do this, select "Erase disks" in the "Tools" menu, select "Only free space" in the "Erase" option, the method is Easy Overwrite (1 pass) - in most cases this is enough to prevent anyone from recovering your files. Other methods of dubbing to a greater extent affect the wear of the hard disk and may be needed, perhaps, only if you are afraid of special services.
And the last in CCleaner is the rarely visited Settings section, which contains some useful options that it makes sense to pay attention to. Items that are available only in the Pro version, I deliberately skip the review.
In the very first settings item of interesting parameters you can note:
- Perform cleaning at startup - I do not recommend installing. Cleaning is not something that needs to be done daily and automatically, it is better - manually and if necessary.
- The checkbox “Automatically check for CCleaner updates” - it may make sense to uncheck to avoid the regular launch of the update task on your computer (extra resources for what you can do manually when needed).
- Cleaning mode - you can enable full erasure for files deleted during cleaning. For most users it will not be useful.
By default, CCleaner deletes all cookies, however, this does not always lead to increased security and anonymity of browsing the Internet and, in some cases, it would be advisable to leave some of the cookies on your computer. In order to configure what will be cleared and what will be left, select the “Cookies” item in the “Settings” menu.
On the left will be displayed all the addresses of sites for which cookies are stored on the computer. By default, they will all be cleared. Right-click on this list and select the “optimal analysis” context menu item. As a result, the list on the right will include cookies that CCleaner “considers important” and will not delete cookies for popular and well-known sites. You can add additional sites to this list. For example, if you do not want to re-enter the password every time you visit VC after cleaning it in CCleaner, use the search to find the site vk.com in the list on the left and, clicking the corresponding arrow, move it to the right list. Similarly, for all other frequently visited sites requiring authorization.
Inclusions (deletion of certain files)
Another interesting feature of CCleaner is deleting specific files or clearing the folders you need.
In order to add files that need to be cleaned, in the “Inclusions” point, specify which files should be erased when cleaning the system. For example, you require CCleaner to completely delete all files from the secret folder on the C: drive. In this case, click "Add" and specify the desired folder.
After the paths for deletion have been added, go to the "Cleanup" item and on the "Windows" tab in the "Miscellaneous" section, check the "Other files and folders" checkbox. Now, when performing CCleaner cleanup, secret files will be permanently deleted.
Similarly, you can specify folders and files that do not need to be deleted when cleaning up in CCleaner. Add there those files whose removal is undesirable for the programs, Windows or for you personally.
By default, CCleaner Free includes Tracking and Active Monitoring to notify you when cleaning is required. In my opinion, these are the options that you can and even better turn off: the program runs in the background only to report that there are hundreds of megabytes of data that can be cleared.
As I noted above, such regular cleanups are not needed, and if suddenly the release of several hundred megabytes (and even a couple of gigabytes) on the disk is critical for you, then with a high probability you either allocated insufficient space for the system partition of the hard drive, or it is clogged with something different than what CCleaner can clear.
And a little additional information that may be useful in the context of using CCleaner and cleaning your computer or laptop from unnecessary files.
Create a shortcut for automatic system cleaning
In order to create a shortcut, upon launching which CCleaner will clean the system in accordance with the previously configured settings, without the need to work with the program itself, right-click on the desktop or in the folder where you want to create a shortcut and the request “Specify the location object ”, enter:
"C: \ Program Files \ CCleaner \ CCleaner.exe" / AUTO
(Provided that the program is located on drive C in the Program Files folder). You can also set hotkeys to start system cleaning.
As noted above, if hundreds of megabytes on a system partition of a hard disk or SSD (and this is not some tablet with a 32 GB disk) is critical for you, then you may have just incorrectly approached the size of the partitions when you shared it. In modern realities, I would recommend, if possible, to have at least 20 GB on the system disk, and here the instruction How to increase the C drive due to the D drive can be useful.
If you just start cleaning several times a day “so that there is no garbage”, since awareness of its presence is depriving you of peace, I can only say that hypothetical junk files with this approach do less harm than wasted time, hard drive or SSD (after all most of these files are written back to it) and a decrease in the speed and convenience of working with the system in some cases that were mentioned earlier.
This article, I think, is enough. I hope someone can benefit from it and start using this program with greater efficiency. I remind you that you can download free CCleaner on the official website, it is better not to use third-party sources.