CCleaner alternative: freeware, open source or full version?

The popular CCleaner is plagued by malware and espionage scandals – plus adware pop-ups. The alternatives offered here sometimes do a lot more.

The CCleaner has gotten out of the negative headlines that overshadowed it in 2018 – but still, not all is well. The manufacturer gave the tool an annoying additional function in 2020 with the “Health Check”. This replaces the classic cleanup. The CCleaner will still be an advertising tool in 2021, as it displays pop-ups. There are also more and more functions that advertise the fee-based CCleaner Professional and that cannot be used with the CCleaner Free, the keywords are the software updater and the driver updater.

The CCleaner has been part of Avast for a long time; the Czech antivirus provider recently became the property of the US antivirus company NortonLifeLock.Even loyal CCleaner fans could have lost their trust in the tuning tool or they could be bothered by the developments. A group of alternative cleanup tools promptly comes to the rescue. Below is a selection to thoroughly clean up Windows 10 and Windows 7 / 8.1.

Alternative registry cleaners often track down more baggage because they also take into account empty registry keys. If you combine several tools, you will even get significantly better cleaning results in total. Incidentally, the tips are ideal in combination with the CCleaner – according to the motto: garbage that one tool cannot find, the other may discover.

As an alternative to the CCleaner, the PrivaZer is positioned , which the manufacturer often makes happy with updates. The latest version 4.0.30 brings an improved user interface.


CCleaner alternative: WinOptimizer for free


Ashampoo WinOptimizer 18 is extensive and thorough(AWO 18),users receive the optimization suite exclusively as a free full version. Equipped with more functions than CCleaner, the program practically follows in the footsteps of the AVG software PC TuneUp. The latter is available for a fee as a subscription – and is based on the TuneUp Utilities set (which were free of subscription fees).

The AVG product is only partially suitable as a CCleaner alternative: If you have lost trust in the CCleaner / Piriform owner Avast, you should avoid it – AVG is ultimately part of Avast due to a takeover. The Ashampoo Winoptimizer 18 costs EUR 49.99. It finds all kinds of junk data, tidies up the Windows startup and services configuration and changes numerous system settings – a separate module configures Windows 10 privacy.

PrivaZer: More privacy by tidying up

With the portable PrivaZer you can scan devices of all kinds for ballast and clear them out. There are scan modes for “Computer”, “Internal storage drive / HDD / SSD”, “External storage drive / HDD / SSD”, “USB stick”, “iPod”, “MP3 player”, “SD memory card” and “Network Storage, NAS”. The tool deletes the contents of the Windows Recent folder, for example.

This shows which files you have recently opened. The removal of the RunMRU chronicle is also beneficial to privacy; Windows uses this to record in the registry which run dialog commands (Windows key and R) have been entered.

In addition to native tools, you can wipe through third-party programs such as Microsoft Edge, Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Skype, Trillian, TeamSpeak, Pidgin, Xfire, BurnAware Free, ImgBurn, Acronis True Image and Active ISO Burner. On request, the software sends the TRIM command to SSDs in order to keep the write performance permanently high.

BleachBit: open source software against data garbage

BleachBit is an open source solution for eliminating junk data . A registry cleaner module is missing in the program, which skeptics of such tools should welcome. In CCleaner style, you can free whole or partial areas of your internal hard drive / SSD from ballast. Before you initiate an optimization, a previous scan is recommended. A shredder can be reached via the menu icon at the top left, with which you can call up an open dialog for permanently deleting files and folders. What is interesting about BleachBit is that it allows the compression of program data from Firefox and Google Chrome; theoretically this speeds up the browser start.

Glary Utilities Pro as a free full version

The Glary Utilities Pro are comparable to the AWO 18 . What is special here is the 1-click maintenance, which, in addition to standard maintenance, includes an adware and spyware search. If you wish, Windows will shut down automatically after the optimization – useful for saving energy.

FileFusion: More storage space without deleting

FileFusion seems downright magicalon: Without deleting files, the program recovers storage space. For this purpose, the Abelssoft tool identifies so-called duplicates – i.e. multiple existing files. The software removes the doppelgangers, but this content is not lost. Because an automatic system replaces the identified wasted storage space with tricky hard links. Such Windows file system references redirect to the original NTFS drive resource.

In practice, the treated duplicate files work as usual – Windows behaves differently in the background, but users do not notice anything. Normally, hard links are set with command line commands, FileFusion does this for you at the push of a button – you should allow a few seconds to minutes to wait.

Additional cleaners for the file system and registry

The Wise Disk Cleaner helps against memory loss by removing temporary files and cleaning up Windows standard tools. A special feature is the removal of Windows-specific files: if you separate yourself from background images and help files, you will gain the last bit of free space. Glary Disk Cleaner is comparable and automatically begins to search for unnecessary items , saving time.

Wise Registry Cleaner is recommended as a replacement for the registry cleaner in the CCleaner(WRC). With one of three selectable thoroughness levels, you can find ballast from uninstalled programs, for example, in order to delete them. Changeable system settings (tweaks) promise more speed and stability; Similar to AWO 18 and Glary Utilities Pro, the registry can be defragmented with the WRC.

The Wise Registry Cleaner isn’t the only tweaking tool, there are other such programs – some are even better. In the article ” Windows tweaking: The best free tweaking tools for more individuality ” we go into the corresponding functionality of the WRC as well as the alternatives .

CCleaner: History of the Scandal

Anyone who installed CCleaner 5.33 or CCleaner Cloud in 2018 compromised Windows 32-bit with malicious code. This is not at all clear in a program, especially if it comes from an antivirus provider (Avast) like the CCleaner. A spy function in CCleaner 5.45 was questionable – the manufacturer removed it via an update after user protests; every trace of 5.45 disappeared from the changelog.

In terms of functions, current versions offer the new area “Tools> Software Updater” and the new standard view “Health Check” (previously called “Simple cleanup” and less advertising-intensive). If you want the good old cleaning with setting options, you have to switch to “Advanced cleaning” with a click or select it as the start view – both were unnecessary in the past. In addition, advertising windows are nerve-racking for the user community. This includes windows on Black Friday that already advertised a 50 percent discount.

A tip for the health check: If you want to deactivate it, this works via the Windows registry: Start the registry editor with Windows-R and regedit , navigate there with double- clicks to the key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ SOFTWARE \ Piriform \ CCleaner and change in the right area the value of the string entry “(Cfg) HealthCheck” from 1 to 0.

This returns the earlier “Simple cleanup” instead of the “Health Check”.Would you like to use the CCleaner with the health check and (!) The simple cleanup? Our exclusive CCleaner Health Check activation switch is recommended for this .

It was once necessary to make the then still hidden health check display available – it was not readily available, but is now used as a standard. The unlock tool is still useful, because it allows you to open two CCleaner windows in one go, one with the old and one with the new view.

CCleaner alternative for Mac

OnyX , which cleans up the file system , is ideal for cleaning up Mac systems . Since macOS does not have a registry, there is no registry cleaning component.

Finally, as an alternative to CCleaner, Windows Disk Cleanup is an option. Functionally, the tool only offers lean food – but users who view tuning programs critically like that. The start works via Windows-R and cleanmgr .

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