CCleaner v6.25 Free System Cleaner Review

There are several good reasons why CCleaner is at the top of our list of free registry cleaners. In addition to being completely free and available on all versions of Windows, two other things stand out.

First of all, I've never had CCleaner cause problems in the Windows registry, which is often the case with less polished registry repair tools. Second, because it is optionally available in a portable format (i.e. no installation required).

Read my full CCleaner review below for a feature list, pros and cons, my thoughts on the program, and some basic instructions, or head directly to the download page linked above.

what we like
  • Quick installation

  • Various installation options

  • Keep cookies it knows you may not want to delete (e.g. webmail login)

  • Unobtrusive context menu added to Recycle Bin

  • Regular program updates have a long history (and can be updated automatically)

  • Create a backup file before making any changes to the registry

  • Killer feature set

  • Can avoid scanning registry keys and values ​​you tell it to skip

  • Available as Android and Mac apps

what we don't like
  • The standard download page is confusing and makes it look like the program costs money, but it doesn't

  • The regular installer adds another program to your computer unless you explicitly deny it

  • Promote professional features in the free version

The latest version of CCleaner works with Windows 11 and Windows 10, as well as older Windows operating systems such as Windows 8 and Windows 7. It also runs on all versions of Windows 2008 and 2012 Server.

This review is for CCleaner v6.25.11093 for Windows, released on June 19, 2024. Please let us know if an updated version is available for review.

There are four installation methods to choose from:

  • The latest official version is the latest version of the standard installer and is a complete installation of the program. It includes an option to also install another program (I see antivirus software and CCleaner browser here).
  • The official sunset version is the standard installer for Windows Vista and XP users.
  • Slim has the same options as the normal installer, but without the toolbar (you will still be asked to install additional software).
  • The Portable I recommend requires no installation at all.

CCleaner is actually more than just a registry cleaning tool. It's probably more accurately called a system cleaner , since it actually cleans more than just your registry.

As far as registry cleaning capabilities go, CCleaner, like all registry cleaners, is primarily concerned with removing entries in the Windows registry that reference files, programs, or other resources that no longer exist.

For example, CCleaner will delete registry keys and values ​​that point to programs and files that no longer exist in Windows. These features are exactly why running CCleaner or another well-designed registry cleaner is a great troubleshooter when you encounter errors like "Missing File" or "File Not Found," especially when Windows starts. step.

Specifically, CCleaner will remove registry keys pointing to the following if they no longer exist: DLL files, file extensions, ActiveX objects, type libraries, applications and application paths, fonts, help files, installers, software , MUI cache, sound events and services.

Please only download CCleaner from the Piriform website ( CCleaner.com ), which I've linked to at the top of this page! There are malicious programs that look and sound like CCleaner, but charge for cleaning. Learn more about this in our Registry Cleaner FAQ.

In addition to the registry, CCleaner also deletes temporary browser data such as cookies, history, and cache from all popular browsers. You can also perform operations such as emptying the Recycle Bin, clearing the MRU list, clearing the thumbnail cache in Windows, deleting old memory dumps and log files, and more.

CCleaner also has a tools area where you can uninstall programs, view and change the programs that launch with Windows, find and delete files that take up a lot of disk space, find duplicate files, delete restore points, and even wipe drives.

If it's not already obvious, I love CCleaner. It's small, fast, and thorough. It doesn't claim to fix every problem like many "registry repair" tools do. But it does what it's supposed to do, and that's good enough. I like.

I really like that there are several ways to "install" CCleaner. While I'm generally a big fan of portable programs, one advantage of actually installing CCleaner is the added "Run CCleaner" and "Open CCleaner" right-click options in the Recycle Bin. This is a very handy feature if you plan to use CCleaner for general system cleaning.

My only real complaint is the confusing download page, which you can see here. While I've linked to their clearer build page elsewhere in this review, the standard CCleaner download page that most people end up on is a bit confusing.

At first glance, their download page looks like if you want CCleaner to actually do something, you have to pay. I often receive emails about CCleaner not being free. However, it is free but you can choose to pay for its Professional or Business version to get personal support, software updaters, and some other features. The free version of CCleaner is 100% functional and won't prompt you to pay any fees to clean the registry or other files (but some settings in the free version only work if you have the pro version).

It should be clear that while CCleaner is completely free, it is only free for home users. If you plan to use the program anywhere other than home/personal scenarios, you'll need the commercial version of CCleaner.

Another minor issue I encountered with CCleaner is that at the beginning of the installer you are asked if you want to install another program along with this one. I've seen another Piriform program and Avast! There are ads for free antivirus software here, but others may be too. If you don't need anything other than CCleaner, just uncheck/deny any of the programs mentioned and proceed with installing CCleaner normally.

All in all, if you think you need a registry cleaner to solve some computer problems you're having, I highly recommend choosing CCleaner. If you're interested in some other really cool system cleaning features, know that CCleaner may be your best choice among those programs as well. This is simply a great program.

Piriform, the company behind CCleaner, also makes many other free and highly-rated system programs, such as the free data recovery tool Recuva, the completely free defragmenter Defraggler, and the free system information utility Speccy.

CCleaner is easy to install. Just head to their build page and select your desired installation option.

Choose the standard installer or the lite version to install CCleaner just like any normal program. If you want to run CCleaner from a flash drive or simply don't want to install another program on your computer, choose the portable version. In this case, you need to unzip the program before running it.

Once up and running, follow these steps to clean the registry:

  1. Select the registry icon on the left.

  2. Under the "Registry Cleaner" heading, make sure all options are selected.

    If you know exactly what you want CCleaner to "clean" from the registry, be sure to limit your choices. For example, if you get an error when Windows starts about a program you no longer have installed, you can just check Run on startup .

  3. Select a scan question . When the green progress bar at the top of the screen reaches 100% , CCleaner will finish scanning the registry for unnecessary entries.

    If you decide to cancel the scan midway (perhaps because it took too long to complete), you can still fix what was found before canceling the scan.

  4. Select View selected issues .

    Although all registry keys found by CCleaner are selected by default, you can uncheck any entries that you want to keep. One of the great things about CCleaner compared to its competitors is that it doesn't go overboard. You can probably safely delete anything it finds.

  5. Select "Yes" in the dialog box that asks "Do you want to back up the registry before making changes?" .

    If you are not asked whether to back up the registry, you can make sure you back up the registry next time by enabling "Show prompts for backup registry problems" in Options > Advanced .

  6. Choose a suitable location to save the REG file and select Save .

    This REG file can be used to undo changes made to the registry by CCleaner. If you later decide to use a REG backup, see How to restore the Windows registry.

  7. On the next screen, select Fix all selected issues .

    You can also select "Fix Problems" to delete each entry one at a time, but chances are you're not sure which entries should be kept or deleted. Fortunately, CCleaner does a great job of determining this for you, so you're better off deleting them all at once, especially if there are hundreds or thousands of them.

  8. Select Close when all changes are complete. This may only take a second or two, or up to a few seconds, depending on the number of registry keys CCleaner removed or changed and the speed of your computer.

It is now safe to close CCleaner or use the program to perform some other system cleaning tasks.

However, even if you have just completed a registry cleanup using CCleaner, it is a good idea to repeat the above steps again. Repeated scans are necessary because some previously deleted items may create more objects that need to be deleted, in which case just a second scan (or third or fourth, etc.) will remove these New orphan entry.

If you run an additional scan and the results are the same as the previous scan (i.e., the same entries were removed in both instances), you can stop repeating the cleanup process. One reason this happens is that if a process requires these entries, the system will recreate them even if you delete them.

CCleaner is fully documented on its website, which is a great resource if you need help.