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Best Free PC Cleaner

 
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In a Hurry?
  Go straight to the Quick Selection Guide
Introduction
Over time unnecessary files accumulate, which can be removed with a disk cleaner.
Discussion

My first choice here is CCleaner, a product that started off as pretty basic but has continued to improve to the point where it is now very close to the best in its class regardless of price. It's very effective in freeing up disk space by removing unused and temporary files, cookies, Recycle bin entries, Windows hot-fix files, history and cache files in many applications such as Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome, Opera, Safari and hundreds of others. Note you can configure preferences for browser cookies that you want to keep during a clean (in case you don't want to delete them all), which is a convenient feature for many users.

You can define custom rules to include or exclude files, folders or registry keys from cleaning (Temp folders are a good candidate to include), You can wipe free (unused) space from the disk (including MFT data), and CCleaner supports secure deletion of data (1, 3, 7 to Guttman 35 passes).

There are options to extend CCleaner adding new programs for software that doesn't come with the base install. Some of these options are explained in the Documentation  You can also remove options (programs) that you do not want to be cleaned from the list of available programs that can be cleaned. The options can include adding to or removed from the built in detections that come with the base CCleaner install. This flexibility I have not yet seen in any comparable file cleaning tool.

CCleaner has been around for many years, and over that time it has been more actively developed than any other file cleaner software. (It's not unusual to see a new release every 4 weeks). Piriform release new versions to support new software when it comes out (like new versions of the major browsers) and with features to support changes to the operating system - eg. When Windows 7 was released support for cleaning "Taskbar Jump Lists", and even using "Jump Lists" and Windows 7 style progress bars in their CCleaner.

The CCleaner Version History lists the new features and fixes introduced with each release

Many other file cleaner products were developed for Win2000 or WinXP and haven't seen an update since. If you are running the latest OS, Browser or Office Suite etc - it is best to use software that was developed and tested with the latest software that you are using.

I would like to see a tutorial or wizard for first time users when they run CCleaner. Too often the complaints that CCleaner deleted something it shouldn't, turn out to be the user isn't too familiar with what the options mean or what the impact of cleaning temp files and settings from their system. Even selecting every possibly option should still not damage windows in any way - as CCleaner is very conservative in what it will remove, but for some first time users, running  CCleaner can seem to be a scary step to take.

However, if simply freeing up disk space is your objective then CCleaner is hard to beat.

A good companion to CCleaner is Empty Temp Folders. It's not as complete a product as CCleaner and it's been a while since it was last updated, but I find that it always manages to clean more temporary files than CCleaner. That's why I suggest you use both.

Another cleaner with a solid following is Steven Gould's CleanUP!.  It's compact, well designed and very well maintained and is a real alternative to CCleaner. In use I've had a couple instances which caused problems on my test PC, but this may have been specific to my setup. Certainly the feedback I get from users has been uniformly excellent.

In a related category is PC Decrapifier. Its job is to remove unwanted trial versions of programs and services that come preinstalled on new PCs. You can remove all this stuff manually, but PC Decrapifier does this automatically. It can't remove every bit of junk from every computer, but the list of products it will remove is quite impressive.

 

Related Products and Links

You might want to check out these articles too:

 

Quick Selection Guide

CCleaner
5
 
Gizmo's Freeware award as the best product in its class!

Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
thorough cleaning, fast, portable
would benefit from more detailed information explaining all options for new users.
http://www.ccleaner.com
4.15.4725
4.58 MB
32 and 64 bit versions available
Unrestricted freeware
A portable version of this product is available from the developer.
Microsoft Windows 8, 8.1, 7, Vista, and XP.

A portable version for installing on USB Thumb drives, and a "Slim" installer-only version with no toolbar are available at
http://www.piriform.com/ccleaner/builds

CleanUp!
4
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
reasonable alternative to CCleaner
4.5.2
332 KB
32 bit only
Unrestricted freeware
There is no portable version of this product available.
95 - Vista
PC Decrapifier
4
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
removes unwanted trial version of programs preinstalled in new PCs
http://www.pcdecrapifier.com/home
2.3.1
1.59 MB
32 bit but 64 bit compatible
Unrestricted freeware
There is no portable version of this product available.
Microsoft Windows 8, 7, XP and 2000
Empty Temp Folder
3.5
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
good complement to CCleaner
discontinued
2.8.3
651 KB
32 bit but 64 bit compatible
Unrestricted freeware
There is no portable version of this product available.
95 - Vista

Tags

free file cleaner, free disk cleaner

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Comments

by Baguadude on 13. March 2014 - 7:37  (114983)

Two other free cleaners to supplement either CCleaner or Privazer:

Wise Disk Cleaner (http://www.wisecleaner.com/wisediskcleanerfree.html)

Glary Utilities (http://www.glarysoft.com/glary-utilities/)

by Nymphus_A on 1. April 2013 - 2:48  (106716)

Can someone PLEASE help me out. Am running Windows 7. In my (Control Panel – All control panel items - Notification Area Icons), are some files that I have already uninstalled from the computer, including exe files, but they are still showing there. Is there any way to remove them. Also since they are there, where would they be hiding in the system. I thought I had removed them, including from (Program Files x86).

by jason on 1. April 2013 - 3:29  (106717)

Have you tried using CCleaner - and select the option "Tray Notifications Cache" under "Advanced"

Tray Notifications Cache - This cache stores information about any items that have ever appeared in your System Tray, and whether or not you have set them to Hide, Hide When Inactive, or Always Show.

http://www.piriform.com/docs/ccleaner/ccleaner-rules/windows-tab/advance...

You may need to restart explorer or reboot after running this for it to take effect.

by Nymphus_A on 1. April 2013 - 11:44  (106719)

I have EVERYTHING under the Advanced Section of CCleaner active, including Tray Notification Cache - but this has not helped.

by Anupam on 1. April 2013 - 17:13  (106727)

Hi, it will be better if you post about the issue on the forum.. it can be handled in a better way, and anyways, it's the proper place to post such issues :).

http://www.techsupportalert.com/freeware-forum/general-computer-support/

by humpty on 22. January 2013 - 17:59  (104733)

I can't believe Bleachbit isn't included here. It cleans way more Megs than CCleaner and doesn't come with any dangerous registry cleaner.

by mr6n8 on 13. February 2013 - 21:56  (105379)

I tried out Bleachbit (portable) and had an issue with it on my 64bit Windows 7.

Tried 3 scans - just selecting for Firefox and it froze halfway through cleaning each time.

by schiz on 19. November 2012 - 18:17  (102575)

pcrefiner
http://sourceforge.net/projects/pcrefiner1/?source=directory

Looks like ccleaner.
Works like ccleaner.
Works with winapp2.ini.
But it doesn't come with
Google CRAP bundled with it!

by majoMo on 20. November 2012 - 23:15  (102642)

It comes bundled with:

1- iClaro Toolbar;
2- RegClean Pro

Be care with this!

by indie (not verified) on 11. November 2012 - 12:56  (102160)

I could not find Gizmo's review about "PrivaZer".
http://privazer.com/download.php
I've been using PrivaZer for months without any issues or bugs.
It's fast and really securely cleans your computer.
Highly recommend.

by delray on 16. October 2012 - 19:52  (100856)

There's really nothing like CC. It's the best. I'm amazed it is free. I use it every day on my laptop. It constantly updates and does a great job cleaning as far and deep as you want to clean. CC also has other aspects to make life on a laptop, or any computer, better.

by UtilityNerd (not verified) on 4. October 2012 - 16:13  (100275)

I think JFRemover should be reviewed also it is a good alternative to these. you can find it on http://www.utilitynerd.com/software/jfremover.html

by AJNorth on 13. August 2012 - 19:57  (97661)

The suggestion by 'Apple pie' (below) to add CCEnhancer to CCleaner is an excellent one. It has been on my Windows box for some time (since v2.2), and not only does it add to the number of programs CCleaner detects by several hundred, but also expands the range of its cleaning abilities for those programs -- almost to an overwhelming degree in some instances.

Indeed, some may find these two discussions worthwhile:

How to Use CCleaner Like a Pro: 9 Tips & Tricks: http://www.howtogeek.com/113382/how-to-use-ccleaner-like-a-pro-9-tips-tr... (note their warning about cleaning the Registry)

and,

How To Enhance CCleaner's Functionality - CCEnhancer: http://www.blogomatic.net/2012/04/enhance-ccleaners-functionality.html.

CCEnhancer version 3.5 was released on 2012.07.24; an always reliable download site is Softpedia - http://www.softpedia.com/get/System/System-Miscellaneous/CCEnhancer.shtml. (Softpedia also offer only the "clean" version of CCleaner -- and update it only after Piriform make it available, a few days following the release of their bundled version - http://www.softpedia.com/get/Security/Secure-cleaning/CCleaner.shtml.)

by Neil (England) (not verified) on 9. August 2012 - 12:03  (97461)

I have been using CCLEANER since the 1990's and have NEVER experienced a problem with it. My advice to all my friends is install it and use it regularly. Whenever I empty my recycle bin I press my right hand click button and choose wipe with CCLEANER. This effectively sanitises the contents of the bin. I have set my CCLEANER to over write 35 times which is the maximum level of security. I also sometimes use BLEACH BIT as a back up to CCLEANER. Bleach Bit is a bit slow but it is very thorough. I like to know that if someone got hold of my Laptop they wouldn't be able to recover things I have thrown away. I also like to know that my privacy is well protected from the Police State we now live in here in England.

by Aleron (not verified) on 8. June 2012 - 18:38  (94574)

There are several CCleaner alternatives you should test:

1. Belachbit - Open source, cross platform for lceaning and maintainning system. Very good overall and very radical cleaner. Only thing i complain about this product is very slow cleaning process. Everything else is fine:

http://bleachbit.sourceforge.net/

2. Comodo System Cleaner:

http://system-utilities.comodo.com/

3. Slim Cleaner

http://www.slimcleaner.com/

4. Ncleaner

http://www.nkprods.com/ncleaner/

5. Easy Cleaner

http://alternativeto.net/software/easy-cleaner/

6. System Ninja:

http://singularlabs.com/software/system-ninja/

7. Fcleaner

http://www.fcleaner.com/

I certanly hope, some of these programs will be there on test

Best regards

by MidnightCowboy on 9. June 2012 - 4:29  (94588)

Beware of Slim Cleaner and System Ninja which both contain bundled software such as toolbars and other unwanted components. Slim Cleaner will also attempt to hijack your search engine and browser settings.

by Apple pie (not verified) on 5. June 2012 - 11:40  (94427)

Here's a suggestion for anyone using CCleaner. I've found another program that compliments it and increases the number of programs that CCleaner cleans up.
It is called CCEnhancer and it's on version 3.3. (I was using v3.2 and only just noticed this as I looked it up especially to write this. Upgraded now).
http://singularlabs.com/software/ccenhancer/

by Kyle_Katarn on 17. May 2012 - 12:12  (93599)

Hi !

You should consider review and adding KCleaner. KCleaner finds file that Cleaner and other don't. KCleaner has a "full automatic" background mode to automatically delete unwated files "on the fly".
KCleaner is developper by KC Softwares (myself), also author of SUMo awared on this site !

More : http://www.kcsoftwares.com/?kcleaner
Download : http://www.kcsoftwares.com/?download

by amikkwe on 30. April 2012 - 16:00  (92814)

Another really nice one I recently ran across System Ninja, found all kinds of stuff that CCleaner left behind. I haven't encountered any problems with it either. Might be a nice one to review. http://singularlabs.com/software/system-ninja/

by PC User (not verified) on 29. April 2012 - 19:07  (92776)

The Temp File Cleaner (TFC) version 4.0.0 from "addpcs.com/software/tfc" gave me two problems:

(1) The software crashed on my Windows 7, Home Premium, 64-bit PC when I clicked on the option "Select which drives will be cleaned." Another error message then said "A problem has caused the program to stop working properly." No explanation as to what the problem was.

(2) Two TFC version 4 files (TempFileCleaner_Setup_4.0.0b.exe, and TempFileCleaner.exe) were identified as either malware or trojans both by VirusTotal.com, and by the security program HitmanPro 3.6's Early Warning Scoring.

Another poster on the "addpcs.com/software/tfc" web site reported a similar Win 7 HP 64-bit crash, and the site replied they would look into it immediately. But, that was back on March 30, 2012, and nothing to-date has been posted that indicates any resolution to this issue.

by DaveHabib (not verified) on 10. May 2012 - 3:23  (93283)

Just checked their site, they have a fix out for these crashes. It ran perfectly on my machine and it looks quite nice.

-Dave

by PC User (not verified) on 16. June 2012 - 1:38  (94930)

I appreciate MidnightCowboy's "beware of..." warnings. I just received a warning from security software vendor Bitdefender, which blocked access to the Temp File Cleaner web page "addpcs.com/software/tfc," stating that the page contains malware. Along with the TFC version 4 files I previously noted that seemed to have malware characteristics, it doesn't seem like a good idea for me to subject my PC to this risky software, despite other user's success with it.

by umpio (not verified) on 15. March 2012 - 20:45  (90666)

Temp File Cleaner - TFC 4.0 has been released.

It adds redesigned cleaning engine and new gui plus bunch of other new features.

http://addpcs.com/software/tfc/

The previous version has been one of my favorite cleaning tools alongside CCleaner.

by Intelligence (not verified) on 18. February 2012 - 10:51  (89009)

Would just like to add that there is a program called Ccenhancer that adds addisional cleaning of 770 entries/programs to Ccleaner. It adds a file called winapp2.ini, which Ccleaner supports by default, to the root of the Ccleaner installation.

The list is managed by "Robert Ward (Winapp2.ini) and Shane Gowland (TheWebAtom), with special thanks to all of the users of the Piriform Forums and TheWebAtom/SingularLabs Forums without whom this file would not be what it is."

You do not have to download and use their program to add the file. There is a link on their homepage (http://singularlabs.com/software/ccenhancer/) to where you can download the winapp2.ini file and add it manually to the root of yur Ccleaner installation: http://content.thewebatom.net/files/winapp2.ini

Intelligence

by jason on 18. February 2012 - 11:21  (89013)

As has been mentioned before:

http://www.techsupportalert.com/best-free-file-cleaner.htm?page=1#commen...

http://www.techsupportalert.com/best-free-file-cleaner.htm?page=2#commen...

Piriform do not provide support to users who run ccleaner with a custom WinApp2.ini - and I cannot recommend using these files without first checking the settings in WinApp2.ini thoroughly against your own system, to gauge the impact. While the settings might work on one computer, another computer may have different versions of software or it could be installed in a different manner/location, or have other dependencies (or programs) that the creator of the winapp2.ini file did not have.

Just blindly running ccleaner with definitions (winapp2.ini) created by someone else really isn't a good idea. You might be lucky and have no problems, otherwise...

by Gggirlgeek (not verified) on 10. February 2012 - 19:35  (88642)

Recently I had a mishap with Ccleaner, and I'm a repair technician. It's easy to do. So I think it's really a tool for skilled people, or those with regular image backups.

I created a junction point to an important folder on a second hard drive. Then I deleted it (experiment didn't work.) A few days later, before rebooting, I ran the file cleaner in Ccleaner. When I rebooted my computer insisted on doing a disk check. Once the OS booted my important folder was gone!

I am still reeling, and don't quite understand how this happened. The only thing I can say is I've been using Ccleaner for so long that I don't pay attention anymore to the files it's cleaning. Lesson learned!

PAY ATTENTION!

by Remah on 10. February 2012 - 22:37  (88647)

Junction points are an advanced technical feature of Windows. They're also called directory symbolic links which better describes their use as directory/folder aliases. They are mostly used by system administrators to resolve issues such as changing an install directory when the installer doesn't allow it.

By now, I guess that you've become familiar with Microsoft's usage advice for junction points. Any other user contemplating using junction points should read Microsoft's usage recommendations at http://support.microsoft.com/kb/205524
+ Use NTFS ACLs to protect junction points from inadvertent deletion.
+ Use NTFS ACLs to protect files and directories that are targeted by junction points from inadvertent deletion or other file system operations.
+ Never delete a junction point by using Explorer, a del /s command, or other file system utilities that walk recursively into directory trees. These utilities affect the target directory and all subdirectories.
+ etc

If you are going to use them - I say don't - you'll need to understand Access Control Lists (ACLs) as well.

by Gggirlgeek (not verified) on 11. February 2012 - 11:55  (88673)

I guess it's just a cautionary tale. I've never had problems with "hard links" before this. I also use Ccleaner unattended before weekly defrags. Scary! I, obviously, have some research to do before messing with those links again.

I have to say, though, that I've learned the hard way quite a few times with Ccleaner. Fortunately I keep regular image backups (EaseUS.) Many of those innocent looking options can screw with your whole system.

I DO wish they'd give us a log!

by Sontal (not verified) on 31. January 2012 - 6:44  (88084)

Just for the record. CCleaner is not free if it should be used in a business environment. I believe that you should always recommend a free program that will be legitimate to use in any business as well.

by Anupam on 1. February 2012 - 9:29  (88127)

We cater to both home users, and business users here. We are concerned primarily with free software, whether free for home use, or free for business use as well.

Our primary focus is also on individuals and home users, because they need the free software more, as not all of us can afford to buy software for every category.

If we start to recommend only software which are free for both home and business, more than half of the categories would be empty.