Clean your computer -- maybe -- with Xleaner

Get a set of tidying tools in this inconsistent software.

For better or worse, our computers keep pretty good records of our activities in the form of cookies, temporary folders, search histories, and other bits of info that you might not even be aware of. There are plenty of programs out there to help you manage this data, both to protect your privacy and clear out junk files that take up space and slow down performance. Xleaner is one of these, though it's definitely not the most effective or user-friendly one we've tried. It's not awful, but we find it hard to recommend when there are so many good alternatives.

Xleaner has a fairly straightforward Explorer-style interface. It's not as intuitive as many other programs of this type -- they often feature wizards that help you with configuration -- but the Options menu does provide plenty of ways to customize Xleaner's behavior. Tasks are separated into tabs for Windows, Browsers, Office, and Custom, and there's a surprisingly comprehensive lists of tasks that can be enabled or disabled using check boxes. Once you've configured Xleaner the way you want it, simply click the Run Cleaner button. The program displays a list of tasks as it completes them, and it also produces a log that can be copied or saved. Our experience with Xleaner's performance was mixed; it performed some Windows tasks as directed, but it didn't seem to do anything in Firefox, even though we'd instructed it to delete our browser history and cookies. The program is light on documentation, and what it does have has been translated from German, so it's of limited value. Overall, we thought Xleaner was promising -- we liked its feature set very much -- but we're not sure it can be counted on to perform reliably.

Xleaner comes as a ZIP file. It installs politely but leaves a folder behind upon removal.

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