If you’ve done even a small amount of research, chances are you’ve heard about CCleaner. It’s very widely recommended both online and offline. You may be asking yourself, should you use it? And how often do I need to run it?
CCleaner primarily does two things. It erases personal data such as your browsing history, and lists of recently opened files in varioius programs, and it scans and deletes unnecessary files, freeing up disk space.
It’s a Disk Cleanup tool
You might be wondering why you would need a program to free up disk space – after all, Windows includes a disk cleanup tool. The Windows tool frees up space on your hard drive by deleting things such as temporary internet files and error report logs. This tool can be used any time you want to free up some space on your hard drive.
So what makes CCleaner better? Well, Windows Disk Cleanup could go farther. For instance, it deletes Explorer’s cache files, but it won’t delete cache files for other browsers like Firefox and Chrome. On the other hand, CCleaner does. It also takes disk cleanup a step further by extending its reach to more data in Windows and some third party programs that Windows Disk Cleanup doesn’t find.
CCleaner makes the process easy. Simply select the types of data you want deleted, click “Analyze” and take a look at the data CCleaner will delete. If you’re comfortable with the data then click the “Run Cleaner” button and it will delete the selected files. One nice feature is that CCleaner remembers your choices the next time you open it, so on future scans you won’t have to start from scratch.
It can delete your personal information
As we mentioned in the beginning, CCleaner’s main functions are to free up disk space, and clear out private data. CCleaner will erase your cookies, browser history, and cache files for any browsers you use, including Explorer, Chrome, Firefox, and Opera. It will even go a step further and clear out the cookie data stored by the Flash Player. If that wasn’t enough, it will also erase other potentially damaging data like lists of recently opened file names in Adobe Reader, Microsoft Word, Windows Media Player, and other well-known applications.
CCleaner’s default settings clear out all this data without you needing to customize it. It’s like having a tool on your side that deletes your history throughout your computer, rather than just your Internet Explorer browsing history. It doesn’t get every single program (no tool out there does), but it goes much farther than the Windows Disk Cleanup tool to keep your private information safe.
Since it does all these cool things, should I run CCleaner every day?
You can certainly use CCleaner every day, running it using the default settings. But before you do, it’s possible that it could slow your computer down over time. It does this because CCleaner is set up to delete your browser’s cache files by default.
What is a cache file, you ask? They are bits of web pages – images, stylesheets, HTML files, scripts…the list goes on. Your browser holds on to these bits. For example, if you pull up Target’s website, your computer downloads small bits of information, such as the Target logo. That way, as you navigate from page to page, your browser doesn’t have to download the logo over and over, it just loads the file from its cache. This speeds up pages loading, because your browser doesn’t have to load the same information over and over. Your browser is constantly doing this, with many different bits of information.
So think about it – if you’re constantly clearing your browser’s cache, you’re forcing it to re-download the same files each day. From a performance standpoint, it doesn’t make sense to clear out your cache so often, because you can’t reap the benefits that having a cache offers. That is, speeding up your web page loading.
On the flip side, your cache can also be a privacy concern. If someone were to access your browser’s cache files, they could look at websites you’ve been frequenting, as well as your browser history. (Side note: This is why private browsing mode exists, it doesn’t save cache files when you’re using it.)
If you’d still like to run CCleaner on a regular basis, and aren’t worried about people snooping in your browser history, make sure to disable the Internet Cache-clearing options.
What should I clean?
If you decide to use CCleaner, you can select what types of data you want to remove from the Cleaner tab. The Windows section has options for cleaning data with Windows, and the Application section contains cleaning options for any third party applications that you have installed. If you want to stop CCleaner from clearing your browser’s cache, then you’ll want to go to the Applications tab to access and disable it. CCleaner will also wipe out your website logins if you have it clear cookies, forcing you to log into the same websites over and over. Disable this feature to avoid that problem.
CCleaner is the best application deleting usage data and temporary files. All computer users can benefit from using it.