Always one of the first programs to get installed on any Windows machine we get our hands on, CCleaner is a superb system optimisation and privacy tool that comes with the best price of all: nothing!
CCleaner is short for ‘Crap Cleaner’ – a perfectly appropriate name, with the program doing an excellent job of turfing out unused and temporary files from your system.
Cleaning out your dutty PC
Once fired up, a click on the ‘analyse’ button will get the program racing through your machine’s folders looking for files that can be safely removed.
Like a cleaning lady on Columbian marching powder, CCleaner gets to work fast, swiftly getting stuck in to cache, history, cookies and index.dat files of your browser (it world for Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome Opera or Safari browsers), before havnig a good rummage around in your recycle bin, temporary files, log files and lists of recently opened URLs and files.
Once the program has completed its scan you’re given the option of deleting the files or going back and fine-tuning your scanning options.
Third-party application temp files and recent file lists (MRUs) can also be vamoosed from a long list of applications, including Firefox, Opera, Media Player, eMule, Kazaa, Google Toolbar, Netscape, Office XP, Nero, Adobe Acrobat and WinZip.
Unlike some similar commercial products we’ve tested, CCleaner proved to be incredibly fast in use, with a full system scan taking a matter of seconds. Very impressive.
We managed to clear up over 1.5 gig of space when we first ran the program, and it continues to clear out junk at an impressive rate with each scan.
There’s also a powerful built in Advanced Registry scanner which helps you get rid of unused and old entries cluttering up your system.
Bashing the ’scan for issues’ button will produce a list of problems with File Extensions, ActiveX Controls, ClassIDs, ProgIDs, Uninstallers, Shared DLLs, Fonts, Help Files, Application Paths, Icons and Invalid Shortcuts, with the option to individually fix them or just let CCleaner work its magic automatically.
Wisely, the program prompts you to make a registry back-up before it takes off its gloves and starts sorting out the errant entries.
There’s also a handy ‘tools’ interface letting users uninstall programs or simply remove programs from their start up menu, with an ‘options’ menu allowing more advanced functions like user-defined cookie removal.
Although the program is freeware and comes with no lurking steenkin’ spyware or adware, it does invite you to install the Yahoo toolbar on installation – just tick no if you don’t want it (we didn’t).
Now up to version 2.26 and claiming 350 million downloads, this is a fantastic program for quickly and effectively zapping unwanted and private information from your PC.
The program’s easy to use interface and support for a wide variety of applications surpasses many of the commercial offerings we’ve seen, and regular use should help you get Windows running faster and more efficiently, while grabbing back precious hard drive space.
Although the program is freeware, those who donate £15 ($20) or more get new releases in advance of regular punters and they can also enjoy the warm glow of knowing that they’re contributing to the continued development of this fine product.
Ease of use: 85%
Value For Money: 90%