Nowadays, cookies, temporary files, and various other means of tracking your Web footprint are par for the course. Some of these trackers are useful, while others can be potentially intrusive. Thankfully, there are myriad freeware cleaners out there that help keep your system in check. CCleaner is one of the better ones for its ease of use and powerful cleaning capabilities.
CCleaner's simple and intuitive layout will appeal to users of all skill levels. Its four features -- Cleaner, Registry, Tools, and Options -- are prominently displayed on the left side of the window. We started with the Cleaner first, which breaks down your cleaning options into two tabs: Windows and Applications. The program works by first analyzing your system and then running the cleaner itself. By selecting the appropriate check boxes, we were able to clean our temporary Internet files, cookies, history, and cache in both Internet Explorer and Firefox at the same time, as well as empty our Recycle Bin and rid our computer of Windows log files. The Registry feature acts in the same fashion, letting you check off on the options you'd like to scan for issues. In less than 30 seconds, the program had scanned and displayed a long list of invalid entries that we could then opt to fix or leave alone by unchecking the boxes. In less time than it took to scan, the program fixed the issues we had selected. One note: We did have to run the Registry cleaner three times in a row before it came back with no issues found; each time it came back with fewer and fewer invalid entries. Using the Tools feature, we were able to manage our startup programs and successfully uninstall programs. We especially liked that CCleaner lets you manage your cookies so that you don't delete ones that are useful when browsing the Web. As with all Registry cleaners, we recommend that you proceed with caution before fixing or deleting any files. CCleaner does offer an online help feature, but for basic cleaning, you probably won't need it.
By default, the project opts you in for installing desktop and Start menu shortcuts, as well as adding run and open options in your Context menu. It also opts you in for installing Google Chrome and making it your default browser, so you'll have to uncheck the boxes to opt out. CCleaner installs and uninstalls without leaving any files or folders behind.