Optimizing CCleaner: The Best Settings

CCleaner is a windows tool that can be used to increase the Windows® performances. It can, however, be fatal to use if you set it wrong, i.e., may cause your Windows® to crash or to have slight errors while running them. This may occur if the file needed to run Windows® was deleted by the CCleaner.

While it is said that the CCleaner may improve your computer performances, the truth may or may not be the opposite (rather than make your computer operates faster it may also make it slower) depending on the settings you made. How come?

So, how to set the CCleaner right and properly?

Let’s start with knowing what it is first.

What is CCleaner?

CCleaner or “Crap Cleaner“, just from the name itself we can learn, or at least guess, its function is to clean the crap files from Windows® in order to increase the computer performances.

The Windows® Utility Tool’s size is quite small, only 5 MB. Despite its tiny size, the tool has plenty of use such as to clean the no-longer-needed file from windows like temporary files, broken shortcuts, browsing and internet history in your internet browser, unused registry and to disable unimportant startup programs which run from the start as Windows® running.

To improve the computer performance by using CCleaner you need to make sure that you make the right setting. It is worth noting that you need to be real careful deleting files with CCleaner. If somehow you delete the wrong files which are still used by Windows® system you may encounter a system crash.

CCleaner Tutorial: The Right Setting

First, you need to know the function of the files you want to delete. Here are the brief explanations:


Windows Tab

1. Internet Explorer files

Temporary Internet Files – These are HTML files, images, JavaScript files, and other files that Internet Explorer saves as you browse so that if you go back to the page, it can quickly pull the files from the disk instead of having to request them again from the server.
Cookies – For a further discussion of cookies, please see the Choosing which cookies to keep topic.

History – Internet Explorer stores pages you’ve visited and the time and date you visited them.

Recently Typed URLs – Internet Explorer saves your recently-typed URLs so it can suggest them as you type new URLs with the same starting letters. This rule removes them.

Index.dat files – These files function as an index for the browser, and store temporary information about URLs, search queries, and recently stored files to speed up browser operation.

Last Download Location – Internet Explorer remembers where you downloaded the last file.

Cached Feeds – Web feed is a data format used for providing users with frequently updated content. If deleted, it will be redownloaded upon next Browser restart

Add-ons Statistics – Internet Explorer stores all internal statistics about add-ons, which were installed on IE.

Autocomplete Form History – Once you’ve used Internet Explorer for a while, you’ll notice that as you start typing letters into a text box on a form, it will present you with suggestions. Note: Using this cleaning rule will also deleted your saved passwords.

Saved Passwords – Internet Explorer stores passwords for pages you’ve visited.

2. Windows Explorer files

Recent Documents – This option clears the list Windows Explorer maintains of your most recently-opened files (see, for example, the My Recent Documents item on the Start menu).

Run (in Start Menu) – This option clears the list that the Start Menu’s Run dialog box maintains of programs you’ve run from it.

Other Explorer MRUs – Windows Explorer also maintains Most Recently Used (MRU) lists for the following types of information: Find Files, Find Computer, printer ports, and streaming data. If you select this check box, CCleaner will also clean the breadcrumb records used by Windows 7 (breadcrumbs appear in the Explorer path box and display the path you took to get to a folder).

Thumbnail Cache – This option clears the Windows Explorer image thumbnail cache, which is maintained to speed up the browsing of folders containing photos and images. But it will also contain the thumbnails of images that are no longer on the system. (This rule is for Window Vista only.)

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Taskbar Jump Lists – When CCleaner is minimized to the taskbar, clicking right mouse button on its icon you will show you Jump List Tasks of CCleaner.

3. System files

Empty Recycle Bin – If you select this check box, CCleaner will empty your Recycle Bin.

Temporary Files – CCleaner will delete the Windows temporary files which are not in use. By default it only removes files that have not been accessed in 48 hours. This can be changed to clean all temp files in the Advanced Settings.

Clipboard – CCleaner will clear the contents of the Windows Clipboard.

Memory Dumps – When Windows crashes, it stores small memory dumps so that technical users can debug their systems. CCleaner will delete these files.

Chkdsk File Fragments – These are clusters and chains that are left over after you run CHKDSK. CCleaner will delete them.

Windows Log Files – Windows logs many events and activities, such as access, policy changes, Internet use, tasks, and so on. As a result, the dozens of logs it creates are scattered across the system. They will all be deleted by CCleaner.

Windows Error Reporting – (Vista only) Whenever a program crashes, Windows saves details of the crash to report back to Microsoft. This option will clean all the error reports from your system.

DNS Cache – When you visit a Web site, Windows attempts to speed up future visits to that site by writing its DNS information to the DNS cache. This option will clear out the cache so that Windows can start storing DNS information from scratch.

FTP Accounts – All available FTP accounts with their usernames and passwords to the servers are remembered in the system.

Start Menu Shortcuts – This option will delete Start Menu shortcuts that are invalid (they point to files that no longer exist).

Desktop Shortcuts – This option will delete desktop shortcuts that are invalid (they point to files that no longer exist).

4. Advanced Windows files

Old Prefetch Data – To run quickly, Windows uses prefetch files to store information about programs that you frequently use. The Cleaner deletes old prefetch data for programs that no longer exist or haven’t been used in a long time.

Menu Order Cache – When you drag and drop items on the Start menu into different locations, Windows stores this information in the Menu Order Cache.

Tray Notifications Cache – This cache stores information about any items that have ever appeared in your System Tray, and whether or not you have set them to Hide, Hide When Inactive, or Always Show.

Window Size/Location Cache – When you open and close Windows Explorer, Windows records folder settings for window position, sort order, columns, folder type, toolbar toggles, and search result views.

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User Assist History – User Assist History is a built-in monitoring feature of Windows that records when you access programs, shortcuts, Control Panel applets, and possibly even Web sites.

IIS Log Files – Microsoft’s IIS server keeps logs of its activities on your system.

Hotfix Uninstallers – (XP only) Every time you download and run a Hotfix from Microsoft, Windows stores an uninstallation program for that Hotfix on your system.

Custom Files and Folders – This setting relates to CCleaner rather than any part of Windows. If you select Custom Files and Folders, CCleaner will use the information in the Include and Exclude part of its Advanced section to add or ignore files, folders, and Registry keys while cleaning.

Wipe Free Space – When you delete files from your hard drive, Windows only deletes the reference to the files, not the files themselves. Over time, the contents of the files will be overwritten as Windows writes new files, but it’s possible to recover some or all parts of deleted files.

Applications Tab

1. Web Browsers

Cookies – Web cookies stored by each browser. Note that the cookie list in the Options section of CCleaner controls cookies for all browsers you have installed, not just Internet Explorer.

Download History – A list of files you downloaded through that browser.

Session – You can save the session and reopen it at the later time. Session contains all saved and opened tabs.

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Internet Cache – HTML, images, and other files accumulated while you surfed the Web using that browser.

Internet History – A list of the sites you visited and the dates on which you visited them.

Saved Form Information – User names, passwords, search terms, and anything else you typed into any forms that appeared in the browser’s HTML canvas.

Compact Databases – Some Web browsers (notably Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome) use databases to store bookmarks, history, and other data. When you remove information from these databases, they may still take up room with fragmented space. If you select Compact Database, CCleaner will defragment and trim unused space from these databases.

Website Icons – Some browsers store website icons which are displayed on the address bar and in the favorites list.

Saved Passwords – Web browsers can store passwords for pages you’ve visited.

2. Other applications and utilities

Applications – These refer to third-party applications you’ve installed that don’t fall under the Internet, Multimedia, or Utilities category. Some examples are CD/DVD-burning programs and word processing software.

Internet – These programs include browser add-ons such as Flash and the Google toolbar, instant messaging programs, and firewalls.

Multimedia – These programs are video players and editors, or video helper programs for Web browsers.

Utilities – These include utilities such as Zip management, disk tools, and spyware scanners.

Windows – Some of Windows’ own applications contain lists of recently-used documents. Examples are Paint and Wordpad.

Do we need to delete these files?

If you pay a close attention to the function of those files, then I think that we do not need to delete the files.

Briefly speaking, those files are created by some programs that may make it easier and faster to be used by the programs later on.

For instance, the Temporary Internet Files or Internet Cache, with these cache files we can browse the web faster.

Like when we browse facebook.com, when the first time we visit the site, it takes longer time to load because the internet browser need to download files like HTML, CSS, Javascript and graphic files. All these files will be stored in the browser cache folder, and when you reopen the facebook.com sites later on the stored files will be ‘recalled’ from the hard drive which will make the loading process faster.

Next is the Windows Explorer thumbnail. It is used to take a peek on the brief view of folder contents, and if you clean the thumbnail cache then when you open certain folder it will take more time for windows explorer to make other thumbnails.

The Browser cookies are used to make you stay logged in into your particular favorite websites, like facebook, so that you don’t need to log in again.

Registry Cleaner

  • Missing Shared DLLs – Removes entries for libraries which are shared by multiple programs but no longer exist.
  • Unused File Extensions – Removes entries for file extensions that are no longer associated with applications.
  • ActiveX and Class Issues – Removes invalid entries for COM/ActiveX object that refer to a non-existing files.
  • Type Libraries – Removes invalid entries for type libraries that refer to non-existing files.
  • Applications – Removes invalid entries for non-existent programs.
  • Fonts – Removes invalid entries for fonts that no longer exist in the Windows Fonts folder.
  • Application Paths – Removes entries for registered application paths that no longer exist.
  • Help Files – Removes entries referring to help files that no longer exist.
  • Installer – Removes unnecessary uninstallers or the remnants of left over uninstallations.
  • Obsolete Software – Removes entries for applications that are no longer installed.
  • Run At Startup – Removes entries for Startup applications that no longer exist.
  • Start Menu Ordering – Removes entries for Start menu application that no longer exist.
  • MUI Cache – Removes invalid entries from a cache of recently run programs.
  • Sound Events – Removes references to sound files that do not exist.
  • Windows Services – Removes Windows Services, for which the executables are no longer present.

Backup and Restore Registry in CCleaner


Make sure you do a registry backup before doing the cleaning. The backup feature is already provided by CCleaner. It is useful particularly when the system crash after the registry cleaning.

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To restore the registry backup, all you have to do is just right-click the backup.reg file and select Merge. or You can open Registry Editor and from File choose import.

CCleaner Tools

1. Uninstall

This feature has function, as the uninstall program feature on windows® control panel, of uninstalling the unused programs.

To uninstall programs, I personally advise to use Revo Uninstaller which has more complete feature.

2. Startup

Having too many automatically running programs on windows® startup will make your computer runs slower. Choosing wisely and properly the startup software will make the computer in better performance.

By using this feature, you can choose which program authorized to run automatically on startup.

3. Disk Analyzer.

If your computer’s hard drive is full, you can delete some files and documents that are no longer needed to enlarge the hard drive free space. However, with numerous files available and stored in the hard drive will make you hard in finding huge and unused files, like movie files.

With Disk Analyzer, you can see sorted files based on their size, from the biggest to the smallest. This feature also categorizes files into 6 categories: Pictures, Music, Documents, Video, Compressed, and Other Files. You can choose which files you would like to delete.

4. Duplicate Finder

This feature function is to seek for identical files and documents (duplicate). We can improve the hard drive free space by deleting these duplicate files.

5. System Restore

This feature is usually used when our computer encounter errors, like when we install software or update new driver and having windows crash. We need to backup our system first before using this feature.

6. Drive Wiper

Do you know that when we delete files or documents from the hard drive it is actually only remove them from windows explorer and not the real “data” on the hard drive? It means that we can recover the deleted files or documents with the help of recovery software, like Recuva.

If you want to delete confidential files, important files, and privacy files then you need to use the Drive Wiper feature so that the files or documents are fully deleted beyond recovery.

How to Using CCleaner Properly

1. Protecting your privacy.

When you use public computers, like those in the library or schools, you obviously don’t want that your browsing history seen by others, but if you use your own personal computer then I think it won’t be necessary.

2. Fixing Errors on windows explorer thumbnail.

If this happens, you can see it from the mismatch between what the thumbnail show and the content of the folder, you can clean the thumbnail cache.

3. Mismatch view of the website you visit.

Take for example, you open your Facebook account but the news feed on your Timeline remains intact. This may be caused by the html files stored in your hard drive. You may need to do cache cleaning.

4. Your computer hard drive is almost full.

This may cause your computer to operate slower because of the storage deficiency (there is no more or not much room to store your data in your hard drive). With the assistance of CCleaner you can delete the unused files.

5. Registry Cleaner.

I usually use this after uninstalling certain program. Usually the uninstall process only deletes the related files on your hard drive thus some files remain intact in the registry (for more complete feature of this function you can use Revo Uninstaller). The unused registry entry of the uninstalled program needs to be cleaned.


Briefly speaking, CCleaner more likely has function of deleting unused files and documents with the purpose of providing more free space on your computer hard drive.

CCleaner is more suitable to be used on the slow computer caused by insufficient free space on the computer hard drives.

I personally use CCleaner after uninstalling certain program or if some errors occur as I mentioned above. Sometimes I also use CCleaner periodically, like once a month, to complete cleanaing the file cache so that my computer has its performance improved and fresh.

How often do you use CCleaner?

Or perhaps you have more interesting tips in using CCleaner?

Please do share your experience.