Security and privacy are becoming more and more important to understand, yet it seems that the methods of understanding them hasn’t really followed. In addition, neither has the ability to easily manage your computer in a way to make it more secure and private. We have a lot of articles here on MakeUseOf that help you with that, however there is also a browser security tool that makes this process much easier to do too.
Click&Clean is your solution and because of that, we’ve made listed it as one of the best Chrome security extensions to add to your browser. But, Click&Clean isn’t just for Chrome – it supports Firefox too (although it’s not as fully featured as the Chrome extension). Operating systems that are supported are Windows, Mac and Linux.
Note: Although this extension supports Windows 8, Mac & Linux, this review only covers it on Windows 7 (assuming performance is similar on Vista and XP).
STOP! I know what you’re about to do. You’re about to go download this browser security extension without reading the rest of this article and certainly without checking out the extension’s options. You must customize the options prior to just clicking buttons. Otherwise, you won’t have complete functionality and may even do something you didn’t want to do. As far as not reading the rest of this article, I can’t keep you from that, however, we’d greatly appreciate it if you did.
About The Installation
If you’re comfortable with following directions and installing Chrome extensions, this is probably nothing new, although Click&Clean does include a couple additional steps that the average Chrome extension doesn’t. If you’re a Firefox user, you can skip this section almost entirely – read at least the very last line, titled Note.
Whenever you click the “Add to Chrome” button in the Web Store, you will be prompted with a tab like the one below.
There isn’t really any action needed except for clicking the Install button. On a separate note, don’t you love the scenic background? I thought it was a nice choice. Perhaps there’s a subliminal message in it saying “This extension is different from all the others.”
Once you click the install button, you’ll be prompted with the ever familiar “Add to Chrome” popup.
Once that has completed, you’ll be prompted to view the Quick Start Guide for Click&Clean. Don’t discard this – there is some helpful information here. And because of that I’m not going to include much of it in this article, contrary to other articles where I might have to explain how to use an extension. They do a great job of explaining how to use Click&Clean to you, so take advantage of it.
Also, the replies to any inquiries you might have are prompt and thorough. I actually had one myself and they did well in answering the question clearly. I was trying to find out why there weren’t additional options with the extension, when some pages on their website indicated so (links go to various pages on their website which support my claim).
It appears there are no extension-related options which are accessible. I am happy to provide a screenshot. I’m somewhat stumped as to why the Options link is “grayed out” upon right clicking the extension button. It is also not even present on the Extensions page.
It turns out that those pages are for previous versions and the most recent version was made with those options in the extension itself, or removed for simplicity. It appears that no functionality was lost in this update (although I can’t confirm that 100%).
Here’s a section of their response:
Actually, the Click&Clean v8.0 doesn’t have a separate options-only page, so we have just not declared Options page in a manifest. In that case, the options are greyed out. Chrome uses this approach for all extensions and apps e.g YouTube, Google Search etc. We understand that this concept can be a little confusing, but to date, we have received only one report regarding this issue.
So to clarify, the Chrome extension does have additional options, they just are no longer accessed though right clicking the icon, but instead in the dropdown menu.
Note: This is only regarding Chrome. The Firefox extension does have an options window (at the time of publishing).
A Varying, Yet Still Easy To Use UI
The Chrome and Firefox extensions are actually quite different in their user interface.
The Click&Clean UI for Firefox is pretty “normal” and what you’d expect. The Chrome extension, however, surprised me with a theme that resembles the new Windows 8 UI. I’m not completely fond of this and I was at first intrigued at the thought of other available themes. Later I found out that skinning was a feature in which you accessed through Options – obviously only present in previous versions, but we’ve already gone over that.
All in all though, the “new Windows look” isn’t that bad and it does make the extension easy to use.
What Click&Clean Does & Its Key Features
In the simplest form, Click&Clean helps you delete your browsing and download history, typed URLs, browser cache and cookies, and other private data.
I want to make another mention of the Quick Start Guide for the Chrome extension. There it shares about all of the extension’s functionality and explains how to use it – no use in me repeating it here. Instead, I’ll show a couple of the key features.
A Look At The Features In Firefox
Click Main Button To Clear & Clean Everything
Here you can clear browsing and download history, form & search history, cookies, cache, active logins, offline website data and site preferences. You can also specify a time range, which includes the last hour, two hours, four hours, today, and everything. Be careful here – I don’t think I need to explain why.
More Options Under The Dropdown Menu
The first option is Clear Browsing Data, which is the same command that clicking the main button is. The rest I’ve labeled with descriptions in the image below.
Here is an example of what is displayed when clicking the Cache Viewer.
In addition to these features, there are more options and customizations available.
Note that the Firefox has fewer features as it doesn’t do much to help clean or secure your computer in itself, but only is a tool for removing unneeded browser files.
A Look At The Features In Chrome
Below is an image from the Chrome Web Store that does a good job of labeling each feature.
There are two other tabs, Chrome and System, both of which are merely buttons to access tools or pages in a simpler fashion.
For example in the image below, you can see the Chrome tab extended with buttons such as Plug-ins, Extensions, Experiments, History, etc. Most of these are just a means of easily accessing different pages that Chrome doesn’t necessarily make real easy access to.
There are two buttons that do have additional functions, however, and those are Cache and Generate Passwords.
Cache opens up the Cache Viewer which allows you to view and manage the cache in your browser.
There are buttons to view all types, as well as specific types like images, video, music, scripts, CSS and HTML. There’s also a search field to look for a specific URL.
In addition to the cache manager, the page also provides explanation to what cache, how Cache Viewer works, and a legal note.
The System tab is simply a source to conveniently launch default system (in this case, Windows) applications and windows directly from your browser.
Of course, there are options via the button on the Main tab. Click&Clean highly recommends that you explore and customize these prior to using the extension.
As you can tell, Click&Clean is very thorough and certainly has a positive reputation. The guide displays that as well as their prompt replies. We at MakeUseOf highly recommend this extension and know it will add value to your browser and computer experience, as well as help you be safer. That said, I don’t think anyone would argue that this extension alone can protect your computer. There are several excellent and free antivirus and maintenance programs available to use in addition.
Do you use Click&Clean? We’d love to hear some user and MakeUseOf reader testimonials! If you have any other thoughts on Click&Clean those are welcome too! And remember than any questions about this extension can be easily answered by the Click&Clean developers which you can contact through their contact page, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ pages and YouTube channel.
Get Click&Clean For Chrome:
Get Click&Clean For Firefox:
Click&Clean On Firefox Add-Ons Page [No Longer Available]