Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

Tutorial: Using CCleaner

I wouldn’t go anywhere without CCleaner

CCleaner (the “C” stands for ‘crap’) is a free system optimization, privacy and cleaning tool. It removes unused files from your system – allowing Windows to run faster and freeing up hard disk space. It also protects your privacy by cleaning (erasing) traces of your online activities such as cookies, and your Internet history. Additionally it contains a safe, fully featured registry cleaner.

Cnet_CClnr_rtng

click to read CNet's review/download

I have reco’d CCleaner many times here, and if you surf other geeky sites, you will surely see it mentioned (no doubt, recommended) if you haven’t already. If I could only download 10 tools, one of them would be CCleaner. (If memory serves, it was the first item I recommended here on T4E..) “CCleaner is the number-one tool for cleaning your Windows PC. Keep your privacy safe online, and make your computer faster and more secure. Over 500 million downloads.

Recently, Piriform released CCleaner 3.0, and I have been using this new version for a while. Today I am going to show you how I use it.

How I use CCleaner: If you have not done so already, download and install CCleaner 3.0. Note: during the install process, you will be asked to let CCleaner scan for “good cookies” (good cookies are, like, your email login) – let it (aka answer “OK”).

1) Launch (aka “Open”, aka “Run”) CCleaner.

2) By default, it opens to the crap cleaning tool (the paintbrush), and the “Windows” tab. Here is where you make selections for the “system”, and Internet. My preferences are shown, but you might want to include browsing histories.. (No one else has access to my machines, and use History as a timesaver, to return to previously visited sites, etc.)

Before you begin: Click “Options“, then “Advanced“, and uncheck the “Only delete temp files older than 24 hours” checkbox.

options

We can now go back to the paintbrush.. Note my choices.

settings for cleaner tool

3) Now click the “Applications” tab.

Notice how every “application is checked?

4) Click the “Analyze” button. This will start the cleaning scanner, and generate a report on the items CCleaner will remove. Check this, and make sure nothing you want is accidentally included, then..

5) Click “Run Cleaner”.

Some people do this every night before shutting down. Others, after every “browsing” session. I do it a little more casually than that — I run CCleaner at least once a week, as GP. But I make a point of running it after each time I visit a new website for the first time (which I do several times a day) with a special emphasis on Internet “temp” files. (Those files contain a Trojan.downloader more often than you might think!)
Why not? Running CCleaner’s cleaner tool takes about 30 seconds.. or less.

Now let’s look at the Registry tool: It is very important you understand – so important, in fact, I wrote: Top Tech Tip #2: Leave Registry Cleaners Alone – that one does not fiddle lightly with the Windows Registry. I cannot tell you how many times someone has come to me with messed up systems because they downloaded some “optimizer” hoping for faster Internet, or because their ancient machine crawls along like a turtle. (I reco you take a look at the article now.. it will open in a separate place.)
Registry defraggers/optimizers/”tune ups”/etc. is one of the bigger scams going. And everyone has one for sale. Why? Because the “average computer user” is ignorant of the facts. It’s that simple.

CCleaner is one of the (few) exceptions. And there are certain times when Registry cleaning is advisable (as the article above mentions).

1) Click on the “Registry” icon on the left. Again, note my selections.

—> —> ANSWER “YES”. MAKE A BACKUP!!! <— <—
(I Save directly to C:\, and name the file “regbackup”. To make it easy to find in an emergency.)

Someone will look at this and want to comment on why I have un-checked the first two. Let me answer that now. You do not have to follow my practice. You have made a backup, after all.
But, I do not trust anyone but myself to decide which dynamic link libraries (DLL‘s) I might need; and just because I haven’t used a file extension yet, doesn’t necessarily mean I want to remove a Registry pointer. (And.. I do not think of Help files as “space wasters”.) Yes, CCleaner’s Reg tool is safe, but messing with the Registry can introduce as many ‘glitches’ as it cures, and this habit of mine reduces the chance of that.. IMHO.

My Registry scan shows no “errors”. But yours – most likely – will. Maybe several hundred of them. Go ahead and ‘fix’ them. (I repeat: ANSWER “YES”. MAKE A BACKUP!!!)

2) Run the scanner again. (You do not need to save backups during these additional sweeps, but if you do, label them regbackup2, regbackup3, etc.)

3) Run it again, and again if you have to… until it reports “no errors found.”

This will not turn your turtle into thoroughbred race horse. But it may very well cure those strange “computer oddities” (aka ‘glitches’).

I encourage you to explore CCleaner’s Toolbox as well. I use use the Startup tool instead of msconfig, for example. If you are not already a CCleaner fan, click on the CNet image (top of article): read Seth’s review: download.

I have been using CCleaner for a lot of years, and this new version is everything I’ve come to expect, and more. (I especially like the improved 64-bit support.. one of those invisible “under the hood” items..)
And yes. I meant what I said about ‘go anywhere’. I copy CCleaner from my Program Files folder onto the thumbdrive that is my keychain’s fob.

Copyright 2007-2010 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


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November 17, 2010 Posted by | computers, file system, free software, how to, Internet, PC, performance, privacy, security, software, tech, tweaks | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Worth Repeating – Top Tech Tip #2*

Some time ago I was asked by a reader what my one piece of advice for a non-techie was (Click here to read my reply). That was a good question. A challenging question. Limiting myself to one answer was what I found so difficult.

So today I am going to offer you, Dear Reader, my “Probably The Second Most Important Piece Of Geek Advice For Non-Techies“.

* Leave Registry “Cleaners” Alone *

What happens is this: older computers get slower, and so the owner enters “slow PC” (or, “my computer is slow”, or sumsuch) or “slow internet” into a search engine — where they get sold a computer “optimizer”. What this is – usually – is a “Registry Cleaner”, which promises to “find errors” and fix them.

WOT warnings on "speed up your PC" sites

WOT warnings on "speed up your PC" sites

Sounds good, doesn’t it?

Here’s the real deal — there are two cases (IMHO) when you actually need a reliable Registry cleaner:
1) You’re an experimental sort and you uninstall a lot of 3rd-party (non-Microsoft) programs; like.. you try every new program that comes along. (And you forgot to use Revo to uninstall them when you’re done.)

2) You have just completed a manual malware removal.

That doesn’t describe you? Leave the Registry “cleaner” alone!

Now, my regular readers will remember my mentioning this before, but for the rest of you, here’s why you want to avoid messing with the Registry: and this happens a lot actually, it can kill your machine.

What?!

Yup. Read the user forums. The odds of this increase if you have more than one User Account on your system. Ask yourself this: do you know what the Windows Registry is? (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_registry)

Even if a “cleaning” does not kill your machine, no one can convince me that any Registry cleaner – and they have been many over the years – has ever actually sped up their PC. And I am certainly not alone in this opinion.

So what should you do to speed up a machine that has slowed down over time? Well, you already have the tools you need to “optimize” and rejuvenate your PC. Please read Four Vital Tools You Already Have… But Might Not Know About. There you will find the answers! And, guess what? They’re free. (Probably why they’re not advertised, eh?)

… and if you’re the type who is not going to click the link and actually read more, and are just itching to download something, well, the safe and effective Registry cleaner CCleaner will do this for you for free. As will the free Glary Utilities, or the free Advanced Windows Care, and you won’t find user forums filled with complains of wrecked systems, if you should use one of those.
Fair enough?

[Note: BEFORE making any changes to the Registry, please read (and follow) this Microsoft article: How to back up and restore the registry in Windows]

* Orig post: 08/19/09

Copyright 2007-9 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.jaanix post to jaanix

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December 12, 2009 Posted by | advice, computers, performance | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment