(Guest Post by Ashutosh Mishra)
System cleaning apps for Windows are a dime a dozen these days, but there is just one that has been holding the throne for a long long time â€“ CCleaner. With its small footprint, superfast cleaning, and attention to detail, CCleaner has remained insanely popular for years.
CCleaner is plenty good as it is, but did you know that it can do quite a bit more than manual system cleaning? In this post, we shall see how you can utilize some of the lesser known features of CCleaner to make the most of this wonderful app.
1. Amp up CCleaner with CCleaner Enhancer
While CCleaner can clean junk off a decent number of programs, there are many apps that it doesn’t support yet. CCleaner Enhancer singlehandedly eliminates that issue by adding support to over 270 apps to CCleaner. After installing the Enhancer and running a clean up, you’ll certainly gain more disk space than usual.
2. Put CCleaner on a thumb drive for quickly cleaning slow PCs
Being the staple tech support guy of my family, I am a sucker for portable apps. The fact that you can put them on a thumb drive and use them on any computer is nothing short of awesome. CCleaner is obviously one of those apps you will want while fixing up someone else’s computer, and hence a portable version is quite a necessity.
Thankfully, Piriform provides an official portable build of CCleaner with all the bells and whistles of its installable counterpart. Grab it here.
3. Securely wipe off entire hard drive partitions with CCleaner’s Drive Wiper
Drive Wiper is a recent addition to CCleaner and it securely wipes off partitions and external hard drives that you have plugged into your computer. This is especially useful when you’re trying to sell or discard your hard disk, and you don’t want anyone to retrieve all the data on it.
As you’d expect, the Drive Wiper can only remove the free space from the system partition (and not the entire partition), as it’d otherwise corrupt your entire system.
You’ll find the Drive Wiper under the â€œToolsâ€ side-tab.
4. Automate CCleaner clean-ups with Windows Task Scheduler
Keeping your computer clean and clutter-free isn’t exactly a task that should bother about â€“ it should magically happen in the background! While CCleaner doesn’t have any automatic cleaning feature built into it, you can get it to run periodically using the Windows Task Scheduler. Just follow the steps below to get started:
- Open Task Scheduler, and create a â€œbasicâ€ task from the right sidebar.
- Give a name to the task, set its frequency (we’d say weekly). Under Actions, select the Start a program option, and enter the full path for CCleaner. It’s usually this:
- C:\Program Files\CCleaner\CCleaner.exe
- You obviously want this happen without your intervention, so enter the /AUTO argument in the given field.
- In the final step, make sure you’ve checked the â€œOpen the Properties dialogâ€¦.â€ option before clicking the Finish button.
- In the Properties dialog, set the task to â€œrun with highest privilegesâ€, and set any suitable run conditions under the â€œConditionsâ€ tab. You’ll be prompted for your Windows password so that the task can have elevated privileges.
Once the task has been scheduling, it’s time you get back to doing some actual work on your computer, and let Task Scheduler and CCleaner do the job of keeping your PC clean. For a more detailed, screenshot rich guide on accomplishing the same, check out this piece by the How-To Geek.
5. Launch CCleaner in auto-cleaning mode with a keyboard shortcut
Lets say that you really don’t like the idea of creating a schedule for running CCleaner automatically, but would like the manual cleaning process to be as simple as possible. Well, we have got you covered here as well!
Right-click anywhere on your desktop, click on New > Shortcut, and enter the path for the shortcut as shown in the screenshot.
Now right click on the shortcut, go to Properties, and enter any suitable keyboard combination you’d like under the â€œShortcut keyâ€ field (lets say Shift+Alt+C). You have to make sure that the keyboard shortcut hasn’t already been assigned to some other task by you or the operating system.
6. Reclaim disk space by removing old System Restore points
Windows regularly creates system restore points, so that you can easily go back in time in case something untoward happens. However, these system restore points can accumulate over time and take up as much as 10-15% of your system partition!
CCleaner helps you quickly remove the old system restore points with a click of a button. Go to Tools â€“> System Restore, select all or any of the old restore points, and hit the â€œRemoveâ€ button to get rid of them. You’ll find that the newest restore point is always disabled, so that you always have a fall-back option when something gets screwed up.
7. Prevent CCleaner from deleting useful browser cookies
While browser cookies get all the hate of this world, the true fact is that a vast majority of them are actually useful. They should be deleted every once in a while, but definitely not every time CCleaner runs.
To tackle this issue, CCleaner 3 introduced smart cookie deletion, which allows it to remove only the unnecessary tracking cookies while keeping the useful ones. However, it’s a work-in-progress and still far from perfect. A better solution is to disable cookie deletion in CCleaner altogether. To do this, open CCleaner, look for the browser that use you use (say Chrome), and uncheck the â€œCookiesâ€ option. You can also uncheck other options that you don’t want to be deleted, for example saved passwords, and autofill data.
So that was a list of lesser known CCleaner tricks. If you have your own little CCleaner hacks, let them out in the comments!
Ashutosh Mishra is the loony editor of PC Tonic, who wishes for a CCleaner for human beings.