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9 tricks to use CCleaner properly – it does more than you think

Daniel Caceres

Daniel Caceres

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If all you do with CCleaner is set it to automatically clean your system and then assume the job is done, then you are seriously wrong. You can endanger valuable information and slow your system performance if the program is not properly configured. And we all make this mistake, because very few people know how to use CCleaner properly – myself included. That is, until recently, because I have been reading a lot of tutorials to get myself up to speed (links at the end).

9 tricks to use CCleaner properly – it does more than you think

I have distilled my learning into 9 easy tricks to learn how to use CCleaner super effectively.

Download CCleaner

CCleaner does not do what you think

Many people believe that CCleaner is a maintenance tool that automatically improves the performance of their computer. Actually, CCleaner cleans your discs by deleting temporary files, or files that take up a lot of space. This frees up room on your hard disk, which can result in improved performance.

Why is it important to understand this? Because if you use CCleaner every day believing that your computer will run faster, you are mistaken; indeed, in many cases, it may run slower.

This is what you should do BEFORE cleaning with CCleaner

Before running CCleaner’s… cleaner… think of exactly what you want to clean. If you are not interested in deleting your cache and cookies, then set the program to ignore them. Alternatively, if you do not want others to spy your browsing history, then clean them frequently.

However, what happens if you clean your machine and it runs slower? This is because your computer needs some files to perform efficiently. If you delete these files with CCleaner, performance will suffer. If you visit some favorite pages every day, but clean the cache every few hours, you’ll find these pages take longer to load.

This brings me to my next point.

Protect the important cookies

CCleaner deletes all cookies by default – but you may well want to keep some of them around to keep your browsing quick.

You have two options for this. On the one hand, you can use CCleaner’s Smart Scan to detect the cookies you use most and protect them from most common cleans (such as Google). Alternatively, you manually flag the cookies that do not want to be touched.

Do the same with programs

You can apply protection to programs and files. This feature is particularly useful if you find that CCleaner is obsessed with trying to eliminate a file that you actually want. You can exclude whole disks, folders, files, or records. You can also protect specific file extensions.

If you use Registry Cleaner often, you’re going to get in trouble

I do not recommend that you regularly use CCleaner’s Registry Cleaner. After all, who cleans their house every day? A clean registry can help if your system is damaged, but it doesn’t improve your performance under normal circumstances and – in some cases – it can be harmful. Leave this feature alone unless you have problems running a particular program.
Registry cleaner

This feature offers much more than its name suggests

Startup is an optional tool that, in theory, lets you disable programs that run automatically when you start your computer. In this way, you can access and edit your PC boot process.


What few people know is that Startup allows you to disable or remove scheduled tasks and browser extensions. These options are already included by default in Windows, but you can have a look during one of your regular cleanings.

Breaking the myth of Cleaner Hard Drives

One of the great myths behind hard disk cleaners is that you need to perform multiple scans to get the drive really clean. But there is no need for this with CCleaner’s Drive Wipe, because it can clean your drive with a single click, completely removing unwanted files while leaving programs untouched.

Note that when you delete a file in Windows it doesn’t actually delete it; it simply removes the path to it so it can’t be seen by the system, freeing the space it occupied and allowing it to be overwritten. This allows files to be restored by those who know how. That does not happen with CCleaner, which overwrites old files as it deletes them. Great for security, but please be sure that you want to delete the selected files.

Forget this tool

CCleaner has many secondary tools, the most redundant of which is Uninstall Programs. This is totally dispensable and does not work as well as the Windows Uninstaller. There are better uninstallers out there, like Revo, which you can download from Softonic.

You see? You do not need to know everything about CCleaner.

… and finally, the Golden Rule

It doesn’t matter if you use CCleaner or another cleaning tool – never do any cleaning without making a backup of important files first. If the program deletes something important, the consequences can be catastrophic. Fortunately, with a backup or a restore point, you can recover the state of your computer in a couple of clicks.

Sources: TechRepublic, How To Geek (text 1, text 2, and text 3), Guiding Tech, Life Hacker

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Daniel Caceres

Daniel Caceres

I learned how to read thanks to Monkey Island Insult Sword Fightning. I love to write fiction, meditate, and spy on strangers on bars and restaurants. I have an unfinished games backlog. I practice NPL and Impro-theater. Oh, and my motto is 'No waifu no laifu'

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