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Do you use the Internet a lot and have a huge list of programs installed on your computer that you use regularly? If so, then your computer is probably full up with bloating temporary files and other data. Additionally, Temporary Internet Files accumulate fast and act as basically a track record of your activities online. Clearing data up from all of these programs could take a lot of time. Some commercial software will do a lot for a fee, but there is not many more that will clean more than CCleaner for you - and it's free - and it's also capable of secure (unrecoverable) file deletion.
Introduction & Requirements
|Software you must download and install|
|Required: CCleaner is used in this guide, and is one of the best freeware utilities that you could have installed on your computer. Download!|
You must download the CCleaner installer and run it. CCleaner does not just clear your temporary files, it has a long list of supported applications it can process too to clean them up. Additionally, it also has features to securely delete files (make them unrecoverable), fix registry issues and other things.
Run the CCleaner installation and just run through the steps. Please note that the installation gives you the option of adding the CCleaner Yahoo! Toolbar to your browser so you can easily use it from there. If toolbars aren't your thing (like me), then make sure to unselect this option on Installation. Run the Installer until completion and then run CCleaner from your Desktop or Start Menu shortcuts.
The CCleaner interface is very easily understood. Under the Cleaner options (button ticked on the left), you have a list of assets you can choose to be analyzed and cleaned by CCleaner. These are split into Windows and Applications (we can see this later). Before we get into this part of it, we need to check some Settings first.
Click the Options button on the left bar as shown in the picture above. You have some options you can change here to your preferences, such as "Run CCleaner when the computer starts". What I want you to choose here is what kind of Deletion you want. CCleaner will be removing thousands of files on its first run, that's usually a guarantee. You have an option to keep "Normal File Deletion" selected and in turn, get the fastest performance, or you can tick "Secure File Deletion" and it will be slower.
If you want to Securely Delete Files, then choose your overwrite option from the drop-list. A simple overwrite will suffice (it will overwrite the data before it is deleted making it unrecoverable), but if you want more secure options then choose any of the other 3. The amount of passes is the amount of time the data is overwritten. Each method uses different methods to achieve the same task, with Gutmann being the most intensive by far. This is your option.
Select Application to Clean
CCleaner supports most Windows components, but it also supports many other pieces of software that you might have installed. Click the Cleaner button on the left again, and click the Applications tab as shown in the picture above this text. For example you can see that CCleaner can remove temporary data and other information from Firefox, Google Earth, ImgBurn, IsoBuster, Dreamweaver, Office, OpenOffice and other stuff. If you don't want anything to be affected by CCleaner, simply untick it. The same goes for Windows components, which are shown under the Windows tab.
Click the Analyze button and CCleaner will start working to see how much space it can save you. It will provide a list of items that will be removed as well as other very detailed information.
The results in my picture are undoubtedly different to yours, as I have only recently ran CCleaner. Regardless, you can see how the list of options will be presented, as well as the amount of data that will be removed and the File deletion method you have chosen earlier. When you are done, click Run Cleaner to start the process.
CCleaner will warn you that what you are about to do will remove data permanently from your system (and any hope of recovery is gone if you chose Secure file deletion options). Make sure you understand this point. When you are ready, click OK.
The amount of time the process will take depends entirely on the amount of data that has to be removed, and the type of secure file deletion method you have chosen (if you did indeed choose secure deletion). It is recommended to run this program regularly to keep your system free of temporary data. Remember however that clearing the browser caches will make browsing websites initially slower the first time after running CCleaner
Written by: James "Dela" Delahunty
Last updated: 30 January 2009
Last updated: 30 January 2009