Piriform’s CCleaner, originally called the more vulgar “Crap” Cleaner, is one of the most popular free products for keeping your Windows PC clean. It not only quickly and easily deletes a myriad of your standard files left behind from running your browser, it gets rid of peskier temporary files windows might spit out from regular usage.
While most users know about regularly cleaning out their cookies and temporary internet downloads, how often do they get rid of their “run” cache? Do you use Photoshop? You could be harboring megs and megs of useless space by temporary files and text from recently used documents. Even such small programs like the perennial Windows Mainstay, MSpaint, can be tying up space on your computer through useless files and information.
CCleaner works by first analyzing your computer and letting you know how much space will be freed if you allow it to do a general cleanup. Users can choose what sort of files they want deleted and from where, or let CCleaner do the choosing itself. After it goes through and quickly deletes the files and assorted epherma from your PC, you can see for yourself how much space it gave you.
Aside from general file cleanup, CCleaner also does the same job as the Add/Delete programs function on your Windows Control Panel. While not as thorough, if you want to easily uninstall a program CCleaner formulates a list far quicker than the Control Panel does, and works just the same. It safely and easily removes these programs as well as any other uninstaller on the market.
CCleaner can also clean up any Registry errors you may have gotten along the way. It can check, back up, and fix inconsistencies amongst your registry files and make sure it works as efficiently as it possibly can. Fixing registry errors is a specialized process, to be sure, but CCleaner does make it fairly easy.
Finally, one of my favorite features is the ability to change what files and programs will run at startup. If you have an older computer and it takes what seems like ages to chug along to startup, the ability to pick and choose what programs take up precious memory when windows boots can mean the difference between five to ten minutes. Having all the startup options, too, in one place is extremely convenient as well.
SO, IS IT SAFE?
I’ve been personally using CCleaner for years and have never had a problem with it. When it cleans up your registry, it automatically creates a backup to make sure that any potential errors can be easily and retroactively plugged. Nor have I ever had it inadvertently delete a personal file from its automated cleanup that was somehow essential to my computer functioning. I’ve never lost passwords, information, or anything that I didn’t want mysteriously disappear.
Not only that, but CCleaner has always been an extremely effective performer. I’ve always loved being able to easily be able to choose which programs run at startup without having to painstakingly go to each one individually and fiddling with the settings. It sounds like a simple feature, but having it all in one place is both a lifesaver and a time saver.
There are only a few things that really stop CCleaner from being a top notch contender. It’s only available for Windows, so Mac users and those who run Open Source operating systems are out of luck. While it’s free for individual users, anyone running a small business or using the program for their work will have to pay for a license by the year. While this won’t affect the majority of users, anyone who wants to use CCleaner for a home computer repair business without having to pay will probably be frustrated by this fact.
Overall, though, CCleaner not only performs, but is an extremely safe way to keep your computer nice and tidy.