CCleaner: Useful software or to avoid?

Once considered an essential tool, CCleaner offers to clean your PC. Developed by Piriform, it rids your hard drive of residual files and other unnecessary burdens. However, after the acquisition of its publisher by Avast, problems appeared, in particular with repeated viral infestations. Nowadays, computers have improved a lot and this program no longer seems to be necessary. Here’s why.

CCleaner software and its dual operation

Whether on PC or mobile, unnecessary files accumulate on the device over time and become particularly bulky. This waste weighs down the hard drive and reduces the performance of your PC. CCleaner is designed to clean up these snippets of code and other cookies. It rinses the browsing history which could be compromising. Its operation is based on two actions.

At first, CCleaner scans the hard drive to list all unnecessary files. Then, the program will then delete them from your device. This was very important before the appearance of the native Microsoft Windows function called Disk Cleanup. This tool frees up storage space by eliminating temporary files that have been used by various software. Residual traces from the Internet and various error reports are also deleted.

CCleaner offers more than the native cleaner by deleting data related to the operation of Windows. Web browser cache files are also scanned. There was a time when this feature was beneficial for Chrome and Firefox users. Sometimes installation folders and other drivers for graphics cards, sound cards, etc. This content undermines the system. The Piriform program gets rid of it.

You choose the file types to disappear

At the time of starting the scan, the user needs to select all the file types that you want to disappear from your PC. You will still have to confirm a list when CCleaner has finished listing them. Your choice is remembered. Each time you launch a major cleaning, the software uses the same criteria for sorting the programs to be deleted. This automation saves you time.

CCLeaner has been very useful at a time when Internet users are gaining confidence in the importance of private data. Users could count on the program to dissolve browsing history and cookies accumulated in Flash Player. The recently opened files directory disappears at the same time. No traceability concerning your use of Microsoft Word or Adobe Reader will then be kept on your PC.

The Piriform cleaning tool has the advantage of being free. He was not the only one. In the same category, there are dozens of alternatives. Here are the most recommended in their time:

  • Malwarebytes for Windows
  • PC Decrapifier
  • Atomiccleaner
  • Should I Remove It
  • MacClean
  • Onyx
  • CleanMyMac

A cleaning program slowing down your browsing

At first glance, CCleaner seems to be pragmatic. The simplicity of its interface has earned it worldwide success. Moreover, it is a compatible cleaner for PC and Mac. That said, the other side of the coin is less rosy for this program. For good reason, if you delete caches, your browser may become slower. These pieces of web pages, scripts or HTML files are essential. They allow it to remember and open addresses or content more quickly.

So, when you enter a web portal often, your browser can quickly load contents. He will no longer have to download the logo or images on the home page. These images are saved in the local cache. This allows you to navigate with greater fluidity. That said, stored files can weigh down your machine over time. You will have to part with it from time to time. This is what CCleaner is all about.

However, the cleaning software has this annoying habit of sweeping up everything in its path. By clearing caches, it forces your browser to re-download repetitive files. These can be compromising if a hacker ever gains access to your PC, he will know exactly which pages you have recently visited. The solution consists of browsing in private mode. In incognito, caches will not be systematically saved.

ccleaner banner

No need to clean your PC, you have space

PC configuration is evolving at great speed. A decade ago, computers had a problem with storage space. With hard drives with limited capacity, it was necessary to regularly reduce the internal memory so as not to burden and slow down the systems. It was the time of the Pentium IV and the Core Duo. Now, PCs have much more efficient hard drives. The filling threshold is no longer easily reached as in the past. Which makes CCleaner less useful.

In the Terabyte era, storage isn’t much of an issue. Current PCs allow you to download dozens of films in HD. Caches can accumulate without impacting browsing speed. Additionally, operating systems offer native tools to get rid of them. Windows, OS, but also Android are capable of eliminating snippets of code that have become cumbersome for your PC. This is also a development to the disadvantage of CCleaner.

Furthermore, if you really need space on your computer, the solution is not found in a cleaner. For extra storage space, you can add an external hard drive or keep everything in the Cloud. In 2021, every Internet user has at least one digital file that they can find at any time by connecting to the cloud. Neflix and video game platforms offer you everything without downloading.

Tools that your computer already offers

The tools offered by CCleaner were very useful in their time. However, they are now replaced by native functionalities of the operating systems. Among them is a program whose mission is to draw up a list of installed applications. This kind of trick is common on OS, even on Android. Just check the memory details to see which programs are taking up the most space. The user can then manually clear the cache for each of them.

A good majority of programs specific to CCleaner have become as dangerous as they are useless. The registry cleaner, for example, can erase content essential to your device. This is the case with the uninstaller. The latter offers nothing more than the similar functionality in the Windows Control Panel.

A startup manager equivalent to Task Manager. Your computer does not need both launch assist programs to turn on. It does not require an additional system restore interface in the event of a bug. CCleaner used to be useful for finding duplicate files. It can also analyze the hard drive or empty it of its contents during an OS reinstallation. However, specialized software does it much better than it.

Updates are additional pitfalls

For CCleaner, the decline began with the acquisition of its publisher Piriform by an antivirus giant in 2017. Version 5.45 sparked controversy. It collects personal data without the knowledge of those concerned. This is because of the Active Monitoring feature which the user cannot disable. Furthermore, the program did not have any privacy settings tags for its free version.

The year of the buyout year, version 5.46 of the software begins to get out of control. It simply ignores the user’s update preferences. The cleaning program thus forced users’ hands. CCleaner does an automatic upgrade without user consent. Disabled features are turned back on by default when the PC is restarted.

What annoyed users the most was the inability to close CCleaner. The cross on the right corner at the top of the program was inactive. I had to go to the task manager to force the software to stop. The latter takes hours scanning the PC as if he were an overly curious guest. Blasted from everywhere for these bugs, Piriform explains that the analytical features have been extended in order to improve the software.

No guarantee on the confidentiality of the data collected

Unlike software that respectfully collects personal data, CCleaner has never officially committed to keeping it confidential. Its editors barely paused on a user forum to indicate that the information is anonymous. They continue that this information is used to better understand the origin of repetitive bugs. The development company also announced that it is looking to focus its efforts on certain features.

The anonymity of data collected on the PCs of millions of users is not enough to reassure. Piriform failed to specify the types of information it collects and how it is stored. The developer just said that a Q&A guide was in preparation. A vast campaign to highlight the various functionalities of the software was then carried out.

Piriform, which benefits from Avast capital, had to play on digital communication to restore its image after repetitive incidents. The publisher explains that Active Monitoring must be separated from data collection. This has the effect of increasing control over the program. Activating or stopping each tool is also possible from the user interface.

Trojan horses, viruses and unwanted advertisements on the menu

Despite reassuring words from the publisher, CCleaner has become too dangerous. The cleaner was infested with malware. This 32-bit software embeds a Trojan horse whose mission is to collect information on the user’s PC. Worse, it can execute code on the system and cause various damages. The developer was able to rectify the situation before the damage became significant.

CCleaner users have noticed that the program has unwanted pop-ups. These windows pop up at the inopportune moment to prompt you to purchase the paid version of the cleaner. At the same time, advertising for Avast was displayed all the time. These practices eventually relegated the software to the status of junkware.

A lire également  Ransomware: Dark assessment for this hospital targeted by a cyberattack

Junkware is unwanted software. Most of the time, it infests the system with the aim of delivering advertisements in the form of Pop-Ups. These are ads for games and various other consumer products. Currently, native protections are able to protect against these programs. In the past, you had to install Junkware Remoal Tool to get rid of it properly.

A cleaner considered malware by Windows

Windows Defender, the native protection tool for the most used operating system in the world, sorts out the software authorized on your PC. Since summer 2020, CCleaner is officially considered a threat by this functionality. It is especially the free version of the cleaner that it labels as an unwanted program. This relegation comes from the fact that it belongs to a bundle, that is to say a grouping of software, some of which have a bad reputation.

CCleaner edition comes in the Google Chrome bundle. This bundle also includes the free version of Avast and AVG. This association presents a threat in the eyes of Microsoft. For Bill Gates’ team, this seemingly disinterested maneuver can negatively impact the user experience of its OS.

From now on, any attempt to install CCLeaner triggers an alert message. Windows Defender serves as a reminder of potential risks with its mere presence on the system. Victims have reported particularly irritating bloatware and pop-ups from 2018. However, the cleaner can save its reputation thanks to the paid version which Microsoft does not yet consider dangerous. It is not sold as a bundle.

To continue to benefit from the rare advantages of the software

Those who are still using an older generation PC can continue to use CCleaner. This cleaner allows them to save space on their computer. However, some precautions must be taken. For example, it is preferable to take advantage of versions prior to 2017. Then, it would also be desirable not to launch the program with the default settings. You must have the final say on which files to delete or not.

Only clean temporary files, browsing history, cookies that are not essential for activities on the Net. Caches will normally need to be cleared periodically. You also have the option to remove all duplicate content using the Duplicate Finder. In addition, some residue from old device drivers can be cleaned to free up space.

For uninstallation you have two categories. The Windows section including operating system related data is tricky. Don’t touch it unless you know what you’re doing. On the other hand, residual folders of third-party applications can be deleted. Just check the right boxes after reading in the context menu.

Sometimes you have to trust the system’s native tools

Windows features replace those of CCleaner.

  • With Disk Cleanup, you can get rid of unwanted files. Whether they come from Windows or third-party applications, a few clicks are enough to erase everything.
  • Another method is to use the Storage Assistant if you have a PC running Windows 10. For each of these tools, you must go through the Start menu.
  • Creators Update cleans up download-related code snippets. It is also the tool for deleting temporary files with one hand. He even empties the trash every month.
  • By going through the Application tab of your mobile, you can uninstall all the programs that have been downloaded.
  • On PC as with a Smartphone, it is always possible to manually clear the cache.
  • Your browser also has a button to clear the history. Go to Menu, then Settings. Continue with Privacy and Security.
  • On Google Chrome, you can program the automatic deletion of cookies. A button allows you to systematically activate it each time you log out. Incognito mode is set to no history by default.
  • CCleaner can make your PC start up faster. Windows does it even better. The OS suggests you choose which applications to launch when you turn on your PC. Just check them.

A few words about Mac cleaners

Mac users have a wide choice of cleaners. There is in particular CleanMyMac which claims to be able to erase up to 500 MB of unnecessary content to lighten the system. Its interface is astonishingly simple. On the other hand, it takes practice to master the settings. The complex settings hide truly essential functions.

For its part, CCleaner for OS offers very advanced analyses. At the same time, the software suggests repairs if necessary. This option is available in free mode as well as in the paid version. The premium offer even adds very useful additional features. It gets rid of all junk files and cleans the browser thoroughly. In addition, customers benefit from assistance. They have priority in the event of a program update.

CleanMYMac is relatively unwieldy compared to the free CCleaner for Mac. The interface is much clearer and features can be activated intuitively. The subscription-free cleaner also gets rid of cookies or JavaScripts that accumulate while surfing the Web. Regardless, both tools are equal when it comes to privacy protection. They also offer a correct level of security.

Two main criteria for choosing a cleaner

Choosing a cleaner is based on several criteria, including the control you maintain over the software. CCleaner offers to erase unnecessary data. They clear temporary or unnecessary files from your system to make room. Your Windows registry is also reset. This is where settings and other configurations are saved. At some point, it is saturated and requires a major cleaning. All you have to do is press the “Registry” button in the Menu, then start fixing the errors.

AdwCleaner can also be useful to you in many ways. This program cleans unwanted software, especially those related to advertising. It prevents pop-ups from bursting onto your screen. These windows are not necessarily viruses, but they are part of the business model of web pages. They program them for each visit. A filter then becomes necessary so as not to see them everywhere.

Whichever cleaner you choose, know how to use the Scanner option. Clearly displayed on the interface, this tool searches for viruses and other malware lurking in your system. AdwCleaner lists the listed threats and asks your permission to eliminate them. This feature allows you to compare two cleaners that are similar at first glance.

What about the Smartphone version of CCleaner?

Android phone owners have been able to use CCleaner on their device. The software is compatible from version 4.0 called Ice Cream Sandwich of Google’s mobile operating system. More recent editions have also been able to benefit from this. In its early days, the software made it possible to improve the performance of the Smartphone. It eliminates unnecessary files to save space. Which allows you to take more photos and install more applications.

The CCleaner mobile interface is the same as for Windows and Mac. The program uses the same technology, but with specific features specific to smartphones. It erases:

  • SMS messages.
  • The call log.
  • Browser history
  • Data from third-party applications.

In addition to these features:

  • Deleting obsolete applications.
  • Blocking unwanted programs that run automatically.
  • Establishing statistics such as monitoring RAM, storage and battery.

Is it a good idea to have CCleaner on your mobile?

The effectiveness and usefulness of CCleaner relies on proper configuration. You should clearly indicate the file types to be erased. Insist that the program always asks for your approval before removing things from your phone. Although the software does not enjoy a perfect reputation, you can count on it to keep your Smartphone clean and free of unwanted content. As with PCs and Macs, the cleaner is essential if the system does not have similar functionality. Also check the tools offered by the application launcher.

So, if you have an Android Smartphone version 4 or 5, CCleaner allows you to monitor your system. It detects possible errors and stops apps running in the background. This feature improves speed by freeing up RAM, but above all saves your battery. By emptying app caches and download folders or clipboard contents, you gain speed. It’s better if you can delete duplicate files and transfer your photos to the Cloud.

Cleaning is even more effective in the pro version. It offers a number of advantages. You can schedule cleaning in the system at a predefined time. Moreover, the paid version of CCleaner speeds up the calculations made on your smartphone and significantly frees up space. You can download it from the Play Store. This is an additional guarantee that Google has already carried out verification of the program. Above all, the Android publisher certifies that it does not contain malware.

There are some caveats

CCleaner Mobile users should be aware that the software has free access to the contents of their phone. If the cleaner crashes or encounters vulnerabilities, the security of the laptop may be compromised. A software bug can damage hardware components such as RAM or cause important files to disappear.

To date, few incidents have been reported to Google. Users can freely express themselves on the applications offered on Play Store. CCleaner has mostly favorable reviews, but is not considered perfect either. The fact that it continuously monitors the system poses a threat to privacy. The analyzes can also weigh down the phone if there is not enough RAM.

So only entry-level mobiles really need the functionality of an external cleaner. The latest appliances can do the cleaning themselves brilliantly. The latest versions of Android can do without CCleaner which constitutes another duplicate which will weigh down the device. Then, the configurations are more and more satisfactory. With 4-8 GB of RAM and 512 GB of storage, there is no worry of system overload.

What is the paid version of the cleaner worth?

Piriform strongly encourages CCleaner users to subscribe to the paid service. You have to try it to be sure. On mobile as with computers, the functionalities remain the same. The software removes garbage from the hard drive and lightens the operating system. The subscription version no longer encounters the same problems as with editions 5.81 and 5.82. Moreover, the editor offers at least two cleaning modes.

With update 5.83, CCleaner improves. The Snip & Sketch functionality is extremely effective for cleaning a PC running Windows 10. The Driver Updater also remains an advantage for paying customers. The tool recognizes five million drivers. This prevents it from throwing away files whose usefulness is not necessarily recognized by other cleaners.

In conclusion, CCleaner is not inherently bad. This application remains very useful for those whose system does not yet have a native cleaner. It allows entry-level phones to free up space. On the other hand, mobiles with very low RAM will be able to do without it so as not to become heavier. As for PCs and Macs, it’s best to try to be sure. The notion of good or bad application is relative, not absolute.