Ccleaner is a program that aims to clean and optimize the performance of your Windows PC by removing redundant, “junky ”, duplicate, and other unnecessary files. The idea is that once these files are removed, your computer will work faster, more efficiently, and even more safely. The jury’s out on CCleaner, mainly thanks to a 2017 scandal and a new generation of PCs that work more agilely than ever before. Does today’s computer user have a place for CCleaner among their apps?
Remove redundant files and junk apps to speed up your messy computer
Scrub your PC from head to toe - but is it really necessary?
CCleaner is a computer cleaner and optimizer for Windows. It aims to make your computer faster and more secure by getting rid of any apps or files that it suspects of dragging it down. Similar apps have been around for a long time, but computers have changed and are much less prone to the bloating that used to slow them down. Is there still good reason to use an app like CCleaner?
Visually, CCleaner lies in the middle of its class. It’s got a traditional Windows feel but isn’t retro or classic. We wouldn’t call it sleek, exactly, but it’s not an eyesore either and it’s really easy to figure out and use. Easy Clean is the entry-level option and, if you’re after some fine-toothed control, take a wander through the options that run down the left-hand side. You’ll be able to tweak what elements CCleaner examines and what it will attempt to optimize - or not.
Once CCleaner has worked its magic (this will be quicker or slower depending on how much “stuff” you have on your computer and when you last ran a scan), it will present you with its findings, which it divides into Trackers and Junk. You can then look at what it has found under each category and decide if you want to remove it or not.
CCleaner also has a section named Tools which offers 8 additional tools to manage your system. These range from duplicate finders to a system restore function (where you can attempt to remedy the situation if you erase anything important). This point - the risk of erasing something important, is one of the greatest criticisms of apps like CCleaner. It’s not likely if you use the default settings, but it’s definitely possible if you start messing around in the advanced settings.
Another, more relevant, criticism of CCleaner, is that modern operating systems don’t need this kind of cleaning anymore. A decade ago, when computers were more basic, it’s true that they often got backed up with unnecessary files but modern machines are designed to run light and lean and don’t tend to need much help with this. Finally, most of the actions CCleaner provides can actually be done without the app - they’re built into Windows and you could do them yourself with relative ease.
Where can you run this program?
This version of CCleaner is for Windows. There’s a separate version for Mac, as well as for Android.
Is there a better alternative?
There are a few tools that position themselves as CCleaner alternatives, among them BleachBit and Clean Master. As many would also argue, there are tools built into Windows that can carry out most of the same jobs without downloading a separate app. It really depends on whether or not you see typical PC cleaner tools as necessary or not.
There’s something quite satisfying about using a tool like CCleaner - it’s like spring cleaning your home, but a lot less effort! Even though it might be true that you can perform most of Cleaner’s functions by using built-in Windows tools, it’s also true that some people don’t want to poke around in the options and much prefer to have a tool carry out the work centrally and without too much input.
Even so, there’s always a little voice in the back of our head that tells us our sleek new computers don’t actually need that much “optimizing” and reminds us of that time CCleaner got hacked. It can happen to the best of tools, but when you take it all together and then add the risk of accidentally erasing something important, we’re not sure we’ll be installing CCleaner any time soon.
Should you download it?
Yes. If you feel your computer needs cleaning and you want to optimize it from a central interface, CCleaner is a decent option. The rest of us aren’t so sure and will probably give it a miss.