How to use CCleaner to free up disk space on your Windows PC

CCleaner is a Windows freeware utility that scans certain locations on your hard drive looking for temporary files that have been left behind and are no longer needed, and deletes them for you. You can also use it to locate and delete registry entries that aren’t needed anymore, clear your browser cache, cookies and browsing history. It’s totally customizable so that you won’t delete anything that you don’t want to. Continue reading for a complete walkthrough on using CCleaner.

  1. First up, download CCleaner. The installation process is similar to most Windows programs – you’ll click Next a bunch of times and you’re done.
  2. Launch CCleaner from your desktop or Start menu.

  3. With Cleaner selected from the left menu, and the Windows tab selected, determine what you’d like cleaned. In the example screenshot below, I opted not to delete my Internet Explorer cookies, history and recently typed URLs, because I still use those. I did select my Temporary Internet Files to be deleted, because I want to free up the space they take.

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  5. Scroll through the Windows list and place check marks in the boxes representing things you want to delete. Once you hit the Advanced section, be particularly careful. I opted to leave it entirely alone.

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  7. If you do decide to clear things using the Advanced options, you’ll be warned about a number of the items you’re flagging to be deleted.

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  9. Now select the Applications tab, and check off the things you want to delete. When you’re ready, click the Run Cleaner button.

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  11. Click OK on the warning dialogue window. And now your useless, temporary files will be deleted.
  12. Select the Registry button from the left navigation. I’d suggest leaving everything checked, but you can alter the settings to your liking. Click Scan for Issues when you’re ready.

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  14. CCleaner will check your registry for errors, and return a list of anything it finds. Click the Fix selected issues… button.

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  16. You’ll be prompted to create a backup on the registry. This is a great, great idea. So click Yes.
  17. And choose a save location for the changes. Click Save to save the changes file.

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  19. With each registry fix, CCleaner will tell you what it’s done, and you can opt to fix it or not. I selected Fix All Selected Issues.

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  21. And was again prompted to confirm.
  22. Now my registry is error free.

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  24. Click the Tools button from the left menu. From here you can uninstall programs (on the Uninstall tab). You can also “remove” entries from the Add/Remove programs if you’ve already uninstalled the program, but the entry remains in Add/Remove Programs.

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  26. Select the Startup tab, and you’ll be presented with a list of things that run once Windows starts. Use a lot of caution when removing any of these entries.

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  28. Now select Options from the left menu. The Settings tab is exactly what you’d expect – the place where you can change the CCleaner settings.

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  30. Select the cookies tab. Here you can tell CCleaner which cookies you want to keep, so if you do clear the cookies in the future, CCleaner will leave the ones you select alone.

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  32. On to the Include tab. From here you can add folders and files that you want CCleaner to check and delete each time you run a cleaning.

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  34. Select the Exclude tab, and from here you can do the exact opposite – select files or folders that you want CCleaner to never bother checking – and always leave alone.

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  36. Finally, click the Advanced tab. I left the default settings, but you can feel free to tweak as you see fit.

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