Change CCleaner for Windows settings

This page explains how you can use CCleaner to save time and effort, wipe free disk space, and boost your cybersecurity. It also provides specific instructions.

Note: This page may contain information mainly suited to our app's advanced users. We highly recommend using CCleaner's default settings if you are unsure of anything. 

Saving time and effort:

1. Run CCleaner automatically when Windows starts:

  1. In CCleaner, click the Options icon at the left, and then click the Settings button.
  2. Select Run CCleaner when the computer starts.

2. Modify the Recycle Bin behavior:

  1. In CCleaner, click the Options icon at left and then click the Settings button.
  2. Select the Add "Run CCleaner" and/or Add "Open CCleaner…" option to the Recycle Bin context menu.
  • If you select the Add "Run CCleaner" option, you can right-click the Recycle Bin and run CCleaner automatically with the current Custom Clean settings.
  • If you select the Add "Open CCleaner" option, you can right-click the Recycle Bin to start the CCleaner application.

Wiping free disk space:

1. Set which drives CCleaner cleans when wiping free disk space:

  1. In CCleaner, click the Options icon at left and then click the Settings button.
  2. In the Wipe Free Space drives area, select the drive or drives.

2. Clean MFT free space (NTFS drives only):

The Master File Table (MFT) contains an index of the files on an NTFS drive. As the computer overwrites and deletes files, the MFT can accumulate free space. This space can contain remnants of index pointers to deleted files. More information is available here

You can set CCleaner to wipe the MFT free space, just as you have been able to set it to wipe free drive space.

To enable MFT free space cleaning, select the Wipe MFT Free Space checkbox.

Note: If you select both Wipe Free Space and Wipe MFT Free Space, CCleaner wipes the MFT free space first.

To increase the size of fonts used in CCleaner, please look here.

Cleaning options to help with cybersecurity:

1. Change CCleaner's deletion method:

  1. In CCleaner, click the Options icon at left and then click the Settings button.
  2. Do one of the following:
  • Select Normal file deletion (Faster) to delete files more quickly but less securely.
  • Select Secure file deletion (Slower) to delete files more securely but much more slowly.

2. Secure file deletion and solid-state drives (SSD) or Flash drives:

We recommend only using Normal file deletion (Faster) on solid-state drives or other Flash-based media. More information is available here.

3. CCleaner's 4 methods of secure deletion:

The first is a Simple Overwrite (1 pass), DOD 5220.22-M (3 passes), NSA (7 passes), and Gutmann (35 passes). A 'pass' refers to how many times CCleaner writes over the spot on the hard drive. The more times CCleaner writes to that spot, the harder the file will be to recover by any means. The drawback is that it will take CCleaner longer to complete the job.

For more information, see the Wikipedia entries on DOD 5220.22-M and the Gutmann method.

4. Secure file deletion and the Windows Recycle Bin: 

CCleaner only securely deletes files not deleted from the Recycle Bin. If you have already deleted files insecurely (for example, using Windows Explorer), you can delete them securely using Recuva.

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