6 CCleaner Tips and Tricks to Effectively Clean Your Computer

Ben Stegner 06-03-2017

Updated by Tina Sieber on 26 September 2017.


CCleaner is a program that every Windows user should have installed New PC? 15 Must-Have Windows Applications You Should Install First Got a new computer or just reinstalled Windows? These essential apps are must-have software for Windows 10, no matter what! Read More . It’s a key component in cleaning up your PC The Best Way to Clean Windows 10: A Step-by-Step Guide Don't know how to clean Windows 10? Here's a clear step-by-step guide to getting your PC nice and tidy again. Read More , doesn’t cost anything, and comes without spyware or other junk files.

You’ve probably run a quick scan with CCleaner, but are you really taking advantage of everything it can do? Here are some tricks to get more use out of the tool.

Disclaimer: In September 2017, a 32-bit version of CCleaner for Windows was hacked to distribute malware CCleaner Was Distributing Malware for a Month CCleaner, a popular piece of security software with a squeaky clean reputation, was distributing malware for the best part of a month. Which means you need to update ASAP. Read More . If you’re using the latest version of CCleaner, you’re safe.

1. Choose What CCleaner Removes

When you analyze and run a cleaning scan, CCleaner picks some default types of information to delete. But some of these aren’t worth cleaning regularly. For instance, browser cache can build up over time and use lots of space on systems with smaller hard drives. However, the cache lets you access commonly visited sites quickly, so clearing it all the time is detrimental.

6 CCleaner Tips and Tricks to Effectively Clean Your Computer 01 CCleaner Choose Items to Clean


On the Cleaner tab, have a look at the various categories CCleaner lets you tweak. The Windows header contains entries for Edge and Internet Explorer, File Explorer, and other system elements like log files. The Applications header lets you clear browser information, as well as various utilities you might have installed like Foxit Reader, Office, 7-Zip, and more.

Browse though these items and uncheck everything you don’t want CCleaner to remove. If you often navigate via How to Get the Most Out of the Windows 10 File Explorer Windows File Explorer is one of the most underrated features of Windows 10. Here we demonstrate how to manage and control the Windows 10 File Explorer from the bottom up and reveal features you never... Read More the Recent Documents page in File Explorer, it’s not worth the minuscule storage you save by removing it.

2. Remove Startup and Context Menu Items

Whenever you install software, it often sets itself to run at startup and adds an entry to your right-click menu. In theory these are useful, but having too many startup items can slow down Remove Windows Startup Items to Fix Your Slow Computer for Free Programs launching at boot can affect both the Windows startup speed and your computer's overall performance. Fix your slow computer by removing applications from auto-start. We show you how to catch them all. Read More your system and a messy context menu is more frustrating than helpful.

CCleaner lets you easily edit both of these lists. Open the Tools tab and select the Startup option. Here, you can see startup programs under Windows, as well as Context Menu items and even Scheduled Tasks. Click an entry you don’t want, then click the Disable button on the right side. You shouldn’t Delete something unless you’re certain that you don’t need it.


6 CCleaner Tips and Tricks to Effectively Clean Your Computer 02 CCleaner Disable Startup Items

To keep a copy of everything you have in these lists, press Ctrl + A to select all items and click the Save to text file button. If you’re not sure what an entry is, right-click it and choose Open containing folder to find the source.

If you’re not sure which items to remove, check out the top items you don’t need at startup 10 Startup Programs You Can Safely Disable to Speed Up Windows Computer booting slowly? You probably have too many programs running at startup. Here's how to disable startup programs on Windows. Read More . And once you’ve removed useless entries, you should boost your context menu by adding great shortcuts How to Add & Remove Entries from the Windows Right-Click Menu Everyone loves shortcuts. Meanwhile, your context menu is cluttered with entries you never touch. We'll show you how to customize the right-click menu with shortcuts you'll actually want to use. Read More .

3. Find Duplicate Files

Duplicate files are a pain. Not only do they waste space, they might confuse you if you edit one file, then open the other one and wonder where the changes went. To combat this, use CCleaner’s tool to find extra copies and remove them.


6 CCleaner Tips and Tricks to Effectively Clean Your Computer 03 CCleaner Duplicate Finder

Head to Tools > Duplicate Finder to start. Here you can specify criteria, such as limiting file sizes, skipping over hidden and system files (which is a safe idea), and only searching certain drives. By default, the tool considers duplicate files as those with an identical name, file size, and modified date. You can also check the Content box to further restrict matches.

Once you click Search, the list will populate. Be careful with deleting these unused files; stick to removing your own documents and videos and avoid removing DLLs or other data used by programs.

4. Wipe a Drive’s Free Space

When you click Delete on a file in Windows, it disappears from your view. But that file is still on your hard drive for a while after deletion. Windows marks the spot where that data was stored as free space ready for new information, so until that happens you can recover the old file with the right software.


6 CCleaner Tips and Tricks to Effectively Clean Your Computer 04 CCleaner Drive Wiper

CCleaner provides a tool to securely erase data from your hard drive How to Securely Delete Files From Your HDD or SSD in Windows Did you know files never actually get deleted? That's why they can be recovered; by you or someone else. If this makes you feel uncomfortable, learn how to securely delete files. Read More so that others can’t access it. Visit Tools > Drive Wiper to access it. Under Wipe, select Free Space Only. A Simple Overwrite will do in most cases, but you can do an Advanced Overwrite with three passes if you’d prefer. Select the drives you want to perform this on, and click Wipe. Note that this will take some time, so you shouldn’t use your computer while it’s running.

Wiping the free space won’t affect the contents of your drive at all, but will prevent previously deleted files from being recovered. If you want to completely obliterate a drive 4 Ways to Completely Delete Your HDD When selling an old computer, or HDD, or even if you're just looking to dispose of it, securely erasing everything on your hard drive is very important. But how do you do that? Read More , select Entire Drive next to Wipe. This will irrevocably destroy all information on the drive, so use it with caution! For safety you can’t run this process on your Windows disk, but it’s great for wiping external drives.

5. Analyze Your Disk Space

While CCleaner can free up a good amount of space for you, chances are that the bulk of storage on your computer is taken up by your files and installed programs. There are several disk usage visualization tools, but CCleaner has its own built right in The Best Windows Cleaning Tool Gets A Disk Analyzer You can now clean crap more efficiently with CCleaner v5. The new disk analyzer feature reveals what files are hogging space. See how it complements CCleaner's proven junk removing tools. Read More .

6 CCleaner Tips and Tricks to Effectively Clean Your Computer 05 CCleaner Disk Analyzer

Check it out at Tools > Disk Analyzer. Specify which kind of files you’d like in the analysis and which drives to analyze, and give it a minute to process. Then, you’ll see not only which types of files are taking up the most space on your computer, but which ones are the biggest. You can right-click any file and choose Open containing folder to review and delete it, if needed.

6. Keep Important Cookies

When you clear browser information, cookies are one of the items CCleaner can remove. You probably don’t have any problem with tracking cookies going out the window, but removing the cookies for your email or social accounts means you have to log back into them. Head to Options > Cookies in CCleaner to remedy this.

6 CCleaner Tips and Tricks to Effectively Clean Your Computer 06 CCleaner Cookies

The left panel shows you every cookie on your machine, while the right lists the cookies that CCleaner doesn’t delete. You can scroll through the (likely massive) list and double-click any website to add it to the Keep list. For some help, right-click on the left side and click Intelligent Scan — CCleaner will automatically find cookies for sites like Google and AOL and move them to the Keep side. You can remove them if it keeps one you don’t want.

What Are Your Top CCleaner Tricks?

CCleaner packs a lot more functionality than you’d think. A few of its features, like cleaning automatically on a schedule, are only available in the $25 Pro version. However, you can easily set up CCleaner on a schedule 4 Boring Tasks You Can Automate With the Windows Task Scheduler Your time is too valuable to be wasted with repetitive tasks. Let us show you how to automate and schedule tasks. We have a few great examples, too. Read More manually for free. You don’t have to pay to get a ton of powerful features in one great utility. Start using CCleaner to its full potential today!

Got an Android phone? Find out what CCleaner can do on your smartphone CCleaner Is Now On Android: But Is It As Awesome As The Windows Cleaner? One of the best Windows programs, CCleaner, has finally made its way to Google Android. Should you get it? Read More .

Power CCleaner users, we want to hear from you! What are your best hidden tricks? Share them with us by leaving a comment!

Image Credit: Yuravector via

Related topics: Browser Cookies, CCleaner, Computer Maintenance, Defragmentation.

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  1. bobpat56
    December 16, 2017 at 4:06 am

    I purged ccleaner after they were hacked. I switched to Glary Utilities instead.

  2. Anne
    June 20, 2017 at 9:07 pm

    I'm using Chrome and VLC!

  3. Susan
    May 2, 2017 at 9:58 am

    I've been using CCleaner for years and did not know some of these tips. Thanks for the article.

    • Ben Stegner
      May 2, 2017 at 3:33 pm

      I'm so glad this helped you! It's amazing how even tools you use every day can have new and exciting features.

  4. viral
    March 14, 2017 at 4:01 am

    RIP to CCleaner, I stop using this program since i hooked up with 360 Total security.

  5. viral
    March 14, 2017 at 4:01 am

    RIP to CCleaner, I stop using this program since i hooked up with 360 Total security.

  6. Mark Tristan R. Ocampo
    March 8, 2017 at 9:19 am

    How about for CCleaner Mac users?

    In fact, I purchased the CCleaner Professional for Mac already.

  7. Abbas
    March 7, 2017 at 1:20 pm

    Just go download CCEnhancer and empower CCleaner

    • Overlord_Laharl
      March 13, 2017 at 3:23 pm

      Yes. This is the best tip.

  8. Shikhanshu Agarwal
    March 6, 2017 at 6:36 pm

    Is this a joke? "Ingenious tips and tricks you probably didn't know"? This article is just a listing of the most obvious way to use CCleaner (and that too just a small percentage of all the very obvious features of CCleaner).

    A waste of bits and a waste of the reader's time. No thanks.

    • Jean Chicoine
      March 7, 2017 at 12:01 am

      Never forget that some people have a very fuzzy idea of what a program like CCleaner can do. They install it and leave it at default, not really knowing how to manage it. A simple article like this one can help them acquire a better understanding of the program, what it can do, and of the functioning of their computer as well.

      • Shikhanshu Agarwal
        March 7, 2017 at 12:10 am

        Then the title of the post should be "Introduction to CCleaner" and not "Ingenious tips and tricks". Agree?

        • Jean Chicoine
          March 7, 2017 at 12:29 am


      • Mike
        April 15, 2017 at 4:17 am

        Exactly! Another clickbait i guess