CCleaner knows what to get rid of!
Hey, everyone! Welcome to my first product review. I’m going to start by going over a product I love and use frequently – Piriform’s wonderful CCleaner tool. I like it because it allows you to clean your computer of unnecessary files and gunk. For instance, your computer makes frequent use of log files, the order your programs appear in the Start menu and what files you’ve recently opened – and these are all stored in files on your hard disc (yes, I spell ‘disc’ with a ‘c’, for reasons I’ll explain some other time).
The worst case can easily be temporary files – these babies get created all the time by Windows and by programs by use, and they aren’t easy to get rid of because they aren’t easy to find. Often, they are created in hidden folders like AppData in your user folder (in Windows 7, that is) and aren’t removed.
CCleaner is great about this, and all you have to do is go to the main screen (Cleaner), and press Analyze (Quick Note: If you don’t have admin rights, CCleaner can only look in folders you can access as a standard user). Then sit back, as in a few moments it will present you with an estimate of how much space it can remove. Click Run Cleaner, then the fun starts. CCleaner’s icon of a brush was aptly chosen, as it cleans like your virtual slave. You can even customize exactly what you want removed:
By choosing aptly about what you want removed, you can control what you do – or don’t – want trashed.
These file cleaning features are not the extent of CCleaner’s interface, no sir! No, CCleaner can also clean your Windows registry. The Windows registry, for those of you who don’t know, is a huge database Windows uses to keep track of program data, including settings and file history (a good read up on it can be found on Wikipedia here, but it’s a bit technical). However, when you install/uninstall a program, your registry can be full of crap (dare I say s***?) from entries the program wrote but didn’t erase on uninstall.
Wow, that computer has a lot of issues…
CCleaner can also be an uninstaller, allowing you to remove programs with the Uninstall option in the Tools category, but this requires admin rights. You can customize what programs can run when your system starts up, modify/delete system restore points, and wipe the free space of a computer hard drive or thumb/USB drive.
CCleaner also has additional options, such as a whitelist, under its Options panel. I suggest you basically check it out. Also, you Mac geeks out there haven’t been left out: Piriform has a public beta for you OS X 10.5 to 10.7 (OS Lion) users, and is downloadable as a DMG archive at this link.
Note: All pictures in this article are from Piriform’s website for CCleaner. I do not own these images, and have included them because they will help illustrate the software. If Piriform does not want these images here, drop me a line on my comments page and I’ll remove them.