CCleaner Power User Tips

ccleaner-icon As an author of PCMech I download and try out a ton of software. Of course, this means not only installing but uninstalling as well which leaves behind a bunch of Windows registry crap in many instances.

My preferred registry cleaner of choice is CCleaner because a) it works and b) the price is nice (free). In fact my use of it has been since it was formerly named “Crap Cleaner”.

There are a few things I’ve learned in my use of the software that allows it to do a “better job”, so to speak.

1. Run after uninstalling of apps and a reboot

What I previously used to do is run CCleaner right after I would uninstall an app. I don’t do that anymore. Instead I will uninstall whatever app I need to, reboot the computer, then run CCleaner. This seems to work much better.

2. Run the registry cleaner multiple times until zero “problems” are found.

While in the CCleaner app, under the big “Cleaner” icon on the left is “Registry” underneath. I run that after running the Cleaner. However what I will do is run that, clean out the crap, then run it again. If it finds more “problems”, I will keep running it and “fixing” stuff until it finds zero “problems”.

To date, the most I’ve ever had to run it in a single sitting was 5 times. However I did uninstall somewhere in the neighborhood 10 to 15 large applications that left of lot of garbage behind.

3. Do not select everything under “Advanced” in “Registry”.

This might seem like a good idea at first but it isn’t. Granted, it won’t harm your computer if you put a checkbox in all that stuff, but you’re better off either leaving everything unchecked or only check the ones you need cleaned out.

The two I have selected there are “Old Prefetch data” and “Window Size/Location Cache”.

There are some that say messing with Windows prefetch is a bad idea, however when I’m installing and uninstalling as many apps as I do, it’s more or less required I have to clean it up. To note: I do not disable prefetch, but I do clean it out periodically.

Concerning application window locations, I periodically run into apps that take it upon themselves to move stuff around that I don’t want moved around; that’s the reason I have that cache cleared.

The #1 reason I use CCleaner is:

It keeps me from having to reinstall Windows every 90 days.

Before I found CCleaner it was guaranteed I’d have to reinstall Windows every 3 months – and did so routinely. It seemed that was the only way to get Windows running smooth again. After CCleaner I didn’t have to do that anymore.

To note: CCleaner is not the only thing I use to clean up my Windows. I do manually perform registry edits, inspect the hard drive for “leftover” folders from old apps and so on. However CCleaner does take care of the major stuff that causes most slowdowns in the first place.


  1. Tony Keeping says:

    I find that even running ccleaner if i then enter the programme name in regseeker, find in registry this always picks up more entries.

    • Hence the reason I still perform manual registry edits. There isn’t any reg cleaner I’ve ever used that cleans everything 100%. However, CCleaner gets the most garbage out in my experience.

  2. I’ve got CCleaner, Tune Up 2008, Wopti Utilities and an in-built registry cleaner in BitDefender (which I really don’t use) and I have to agree that CCleaner, is without a doubt, the best around.
    Tune Up and Wopti are both really good programs still, IMO, and have certain points or value to make one better over the other. At least between the 3 I’m guaranteed to get rid of all trace elements of any programs that have been uninstalled.

  3. Does Windows not have a registry cleaner built in?

  4. Rick, also check out REGSEEKER ( for another “tool” in your arsenal…

  5. Synapse Syndrome says:

    If you were smarter, you’d use Sandboxie or a virtual machine to test out all that shareware, instead of introducing all that shrapnel into your working OS installations.

    In any case, there are far more thorough and safe to use registry cleaners than CCleaner. I am not one of those who think that registry cleaners are bad.

    • If you were smarter, you’d realize Sandboxie is junk. And there is no v-machine app available (not even VMWare Fusion on a Mac Pro) that can test high-powered apps like video editing software effectively. You have to do it native and there’s no other way to do it right.

      And if you’re going to state there are “far more thorough and safe” methods, try citing example methods next time. You didn’t even name one.

  6. Another thing that can be done to clean more crap is go to options, then advanced, and un-check “only delete files in windows temp folders older than 48 hours”.

  7. I love CCleaner and use it daily, but with my new Win7 64-bit OS, I do not use its registry cleaning feature. I used to use RegSeeker on my old Win98SE desktop, but I tried it once on my Win7 desktop and it found far too many registry items that in my opinion should not be deleted. With these new 64-bit systems, one must exercise great caution in trusting old 32-bit apps to properly detect and clean registry items.

  8. I choose it because it's free, simply, and yes, good.

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