After the acquisition of CCleaner by Avast and the attacks by hackers, a lot of people are worried about using it. They have been asking “Is CCleaner Safe for My PC?” on various forums, threads, and social websites. If you are also finding a proper answer to that, this post is specially written for you.
Here, I will provide an honest answer to the question if CCleaner is safe to use or not. This analysis will help you to decide if it is worth using in 2020. Or, if you should switch to some other alternatives.
What is CCleaner?
CCleaner is a widely popular and used PC cleaning, optimization, and protection software. It has been one of the mainstays for both Windows and Mac computers. This program is developed and published by Piriform. But, Avast acquired it in 2017 and it is now operated by them. CCleaner has two main features-
- Cleaner or Optimizer
- Registry Cleaner
The cleaner or optimizer works on browsers, apps, and the cache or temporary files generated by them. It helps you to clean up the computer and keep it free from junk. On the other hand, the Registry Cleaner works to remove unused, incomplete, broken, and old entries in the computer’s registry.
Is CCleaner Safe? Review
If you are looking for a short and simple answer, then it would be a NO. But, if you want a long one with all the explanations, then keep reading further. CCleaner was a very useful tool back then, before 2016 to be precise. This was because Windows lacked several required protection features (They are available now).
Image Courtesy: Forbes.com
But now, CCleaner is not an ‘essential utility’ for your computer anymore. You can do the stuff it does automatically by yourself. After Avast acquired CCleaner in 2017, it experienced two major attacks by hackers in the span of two years. This made the users question the integrity of the program.
Why CCleaner is Not Safe for your PC?
CCleaner was once a fan-favorite program. It was so popular that everyone used to recommend it whenever some had a slowed down computer. But now, the behavior of the program has become shady and less transparent. Here are some of the explanations for why CCleaner is not safe on your computer.
Monitors and Collects your System Information
CCleaner introduced a feature known as ‘Active Monitoring’ in version 5.45. This feature allows them to collect full information about your system automatically. Being a program that claims to protect your privacy, this step was widely controversial for the users. You have the option to disable it. However, even when you do, it automatically becomes active when you restart the PC.
Automatically Updates without needing Permission
CCleaner now silently installs updates automatically without requiring the user’s permission. They simply ignore the user’s preferences to check for updates and ask before updating. A lot of users are unhappy due to this and have been complaining about it in various online forums. The Piriform staff claims that this change has been made to meet legal requirements and give users more transparency over their privacy. Now that sounds a bit ironic to me.
It even distributed Malware
What could be worse for a protection program than distributing malware to the computers it was meant to protect. Yes, Piriform found out that CCleaner was hacked and distributed malware with the 32-bit version. It was a Trojan that collected system information and was even able to run codes. Luckily, it was caught before it could cause major damage. However, it still dealt enough damage to Avast’s reputation.
CCleaner is Pretty Hard to Close & Keeps Running in Background
CCleaner can’t be closed than any other regular pc software. When you click on the X button to quit the program, it doesn’t get closed but gets minimized to the System Tray. It keeps running in the background and collects data about your activity for Avast. If you actually have to close it, you’ll have to use the Task Manager. However, a lot of casual users don’t know about it.
Should you Use CCleaner?
The decision to use CCleaner is all yours. I can only explain the risk you’ll have to face while using it. But, if you are fine with them, you can surely keep using the program. Keep in mind that it is not at all essential for your computer. What CCleaner is able to do, can be done by you manually by using Window’s built-in utilities.
So, you can use it but I wouldn’t recommend that you should use it. After all, my answer to the ‘Is CCleaner safe’ question is a ‘No.’ Only use it when you are sure what you are going to do.
If you have decided, you can Uninstall CCleaner
Now that you know that CCleaner is not much safe for your computer and you can manually do what it automates, you can opt to remove it from your system. If you have decided, I will help you to do that. Follow these simple steps to uninstall CCleaner from your computer.
- Step-1: Press the Windows + I key together to access the Settings window.
- Step-2: Now find and click on Apps. Next, click on Apps & Features and scroll through the list of installed apps.
- Step-3: Once you find CCleaner (You can also use the search box to find it), click on it, and then click on Uninstall.
- Step-4: Follow the on-screen instructions properly and uninstall it.
That’s it. This is how you remove CCleaner from your computer. After that, open the File Explorer and navigate to C:\Program Files\CCleaner and delete the remaining files of the program.
CCleaner is a very popular PC clean up and optimization program. With the recent changes in their policy, I don’t find it safe for your computer. There are various reasons why CCleaner is not safe for your PC. I have explained all of them above. It is not even an essential utility now as you can manually do what it does with the help of Window’s built-in utilities. If you want to learn more about them, let me know in the comments.
That’s all for this post. I hope you find it helpful. For any questions or suggestions, feel free to use the comment box. I’ll be glad to read from you.