CCleaner is the most popular free computer cleaning program that provides the user with an excellent set of functions for removing unnecessary files and optimizing computer performance. The program allows you to delete temporary files, make a secure clearing of the browser cache and registry keys, erase files from the recycle bin and much more, and in terms of efficiency and safety for the novice user, CCleaner is perhaps the leader among such programs.
However, experience shows that most novice users do the cleaning automatically (or, what can be worse – they mark all the points and clean everything that is possible) and do not always know how to use CCleaner, what and why it clears and what it is possible, and perhaps better not to clean. This is exactly what will be discussed in this manual for using computer cleaning with CCleaner without harm to the system. See also: How to clean a C disk from unnecessary files (additional methods, in addition to CCleaner), Automatic disk cleaning in Windows 10.
Note: Like most computer cleaning programs, CCleaner can lead to problems with Windows or booting the computer, and although this usually does not happen, I cannot guarantee that there are no problems.
How to download and install CCleaner
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 exactly the free version (fully functional version, fully compatible with Windows 10, 8 and Windows 7).
Installing the program is not difficult, but note that if Google Chrome is not 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 “Customize” under the “Install” button.
In most cases, changing something in the installation parameters is not required. When the process is complete, the shortcut CCleaner appears on the desktop and the program can be launched.
How to use CCleaner, what to delete 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 “Cleaning” 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 free space on the disk can be impressive (the screenshot shows the program window after using the almost clean newly installed Windows 10, so not much space was freed).
The default cleanup settings are safe (although there are nuances, so I would recommend creating a system restore point before the first cleanup), but I can argue about the effectiveness and usefulness of some of them, which I will do.
Some of the items are really able to clear disk space, but not lead to acceleration, but to a decrease in computer performance, let’s talk first of all about such parameters.
Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer, Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox browsers cache
Let’s start with clearing the browser cache. The options for clearing 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 embedded browsers) and the “Applications” tab (for third-party browsers, and Chromium, for example, Yandex Browser, will be displayed as Google Chrome).
Is it good that we clean these elements? If you are a regular home user, more often than not:
Browser cache is the various elements of websites 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 remove temporary files from the hard disk, thereby freeing up a small amount of space, can cause slower loading of pages that you frequently visit (without clearing the cache, they would load in fractions or units of seconds, and with cleaning – seconds and tens of seconds ). However, clearing the cache may be advisable if some sites are displayed incorrectly and you need to fix the problem.
Session is another important item that is enabled by default when cleaning browsers in CCleaner. It refers to an open communication session with a site. If you clear the sessions (Cookies may also affect this, which will be written separately later in the article), then the next time you log in to the site where you have already logged in, you will have to perform it again.
The last item, as well as a set of items such as the 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 goal – cleaning will simply reduce usability. browsers and their speed.
Thumbnail cache and other cleanup elements of Windows Explorer
Another item cleared by CCleaner by default, but which leads to slower opening of folders in Windows and not only – “Thumbnail cache” in the “Windows Explorer” section.
After clearing the thumbnail cache, when you reopen a folder containing, for example, images or videos, all the thumbnails will be recreated, which does not always have a positive effect on performance. In this case, each time additional read-write operations are performed (not useful for a disk).
The remaining items in the “Windows Explorer” section can make sense to clear only if you want to hide recent documents and commands entered from someone else, they will have almost no effect on the free space.
In the “System” section of the “Windows” tab, the item for clearing 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 programs or their frequent closure using the task manager) and, moreover, Some software (for example, in programs for working with graphics, in office applications) is convenient, for example, to have a list of the last files you have been working with – if you use something similar, and when clearing CCleaner these items disappear, just remove ie the check mark from the respective programs. See also: How to delete temporary Windows 10 files.
Cleaning the registry in CCleaner
In the menu item “Registry” CCleaner there is an opportunity to find and fix problems in the registry Windows 10, 8 and Windows 7. Many people say that cleaning the registry will speed up the operation of a computer or laptop, fix errors or affect Windows in a different positive way. As a rule, these many are either regular users who have heard or read about it, or those who want to capitalize on regular users.
Clearing the startup of a computer can be done by cleaning up autoloading, removing unused programs, while cleaning the registry itself is unlikely.
The Windows registry contains several hundred thousand keys, programs for cleaning the registry delete several hundred and, moreover, can “clean” some of the necessary for the operation of specific programs (for example, 1C) keys that will not match the templates available from CCleaner. Thus, the possible risk for the average user is somewhat higher than the actual effect of the action. It is noteworthy that when writing an article, CCleaner, which was just installed on a clean Windows 10, identified the registry key created as a problem with his own hand.
Anyway, if you still want to clean the registry, be sure to save a backup of the deleted partitions – this will be suggested by CCleaner (it makes sense also to make a system restore point). In case of any problems, the registry can be returned to its original state.
Note: most often there is a question about what the “Free space cleaning” item in the “Others” section on the “Windows” tab is responsible for. This item allows you to “wipe” the free space on the disk so that deleted files can not be restored. For the average user is usually not needed and will be a waste of time and resource disk.
Section “Service” in CCleaner
One of the most valuable sections in CCleaner is “Service”, which contains many very useful tools in capable hands. Then, all the tools contained in it are considered in order, with the exception of System Restore (it is not remarkable and only allows you to delete system restore points created by Windows).
Management of installed programs
In the item “Uninstall programs” of the Service menu of CCleaner you can not only remove 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 program name in the list changes, the changes will be displayed in the control panel. This can be useful, given that some programs may have unintelligible names, as well as to sort the list (sorting occurs alphabetically)
Save the list of installed programs to a text file – this can be useful if you want, for example, to install Windows again, but after reinstalling you plan to install all the same programs from the list.
Remove built-in Windows 10 applications.
As for the removal of programs, then everything is the same as the built-in Windows management of installed applications. First of all, if you want to speed up your computer, I would recommend deleting all Yandex Bar, Amigo, Mail Guard, Ask and Bing Toolbar – everything that was installed covertly (or not advertising it too much) and is not needed by anyone except the manufacturers of these programs. . Unfortunately, the removal of such things as the mentioned Amigo is not the easiest thing and you can write a separate article (wrote: How to remove Amigo from the computer).
Windows Startup Cleanup
Startup programs are one of the most frequent reasons for slow startup, and then – the same Windows operating system for novice users.
In the “Startup” sub-item of the “Service” section, you can disable and enable programs that start automatically when Windows starts, including tasks in the Task Scheduler (which is where AdWare often writes recently). In the list of automatically launched programs, select the program you want to disable and click “Shut down”, in the same way you can turn off tasks in the scheduler.
From my own experience, I can say that the most frequent unnecessary programs in autorun are 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 rarely used and their automatic loading is not needed, and the latter are not used at all – printing, scanning and video in skype work at the expense of drivers and not various software “junk” distributed by the manufacturers “to the load”. Read more on the topic of disabling programs in startup and not only in the instructions What to do if the computer slows down.
Browser add-ons or extensions are a handy and useful thing if you approach them responsibly: download from the official extension stores, delete unused ones, know what is installed and what exactly this extension is required for.
At the same time, browser extensions or add-ons are the most frequent reasons why the browser slows down, as well as the reason for the appearance of incomprehensible ads, pop-up windows, substitution of search results and similar things (that is, many extensions are AdWare).
In the section “Service” – “Add-ons for browsers CCleaner” you can disable or remove unnecessary extensions. I recommend to remove (or at least turn off) all those extensions about which you do not know why they are needed, as well as those that you do not use. It certainly does not hurt, and is likely to benefit.
Learn more about how to remove Adware in the Task Scheduler and extensions in browsers in the article How to get rid of advertising in the browser.
The Disk Analysis tool in CCleaner allows you to quickly get a simple report on exactly what disk space is occupied by sorting data by file types and their extensions. If you wish, you can delete unnecessary files directly in the analysis of disks – by checking them by clicking the right mouse button and selecting the item “Delete selected files”.
Search for duplicates
Another excellent, but rarely used by users function 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 should be located in different places on the disk and deletion in one of the locations can damage the normal operation of the system.
There are also more advanced tools for searching for 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 happen – the file is simply marked by the system as deleted. Various data recovery programs (see Best Free Data Recovery Software) can successfully restore them, provided they have not been overwritten by the system again.
CCleaner allows you to erase from the disks the information contained in these files. To do this, select “Erase discs” in the “Service” menu, select “Only free space” in the “Erase” item, the method — Simple overwriting (1 pass) —in most cases this is enough so that no one can recover your files. Other rewriting methods have a greater effect on hard disk wear and may be needed, perhaps, only if you are afraid of special services.
And the last thing in CCleaner is the rarely visited Settings section, which contains some useful options that it makes sense to pay attention to. Items that are only available in the Pro-version, I deliberately omit in the review.
In the very first item of settings from the interesting parameters it can be noted:
Perform cleaning when the computer starts – I do not recommend installing. Cleaning is not something that needs to be done daily and automatically; better — manually and when necessary.
The checkbox “Automatically check for updates of CCleaner” may be removed to avoid regularly running the update task on your computer (extra resources for what can be done manually when needed).
Cleaning mode – you can enable full erasure for files deleted during cleaning. For most users will not be useful.
By default, CCleaner deletes all cookies, however, this does not always lead to increased security and anonymity of work on the Internet and, in some cases, it would be advisable to leave some of the cookies on the computer. In order to configure what will be cleared and what is left, select the “Cookies” item in the “Settings” menu.
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 most likely you either did not allocate enough space for the system partition of the hard disk, or it was clogged up with something different from what CCleaner can clean.