Piriform CCleaner Professional is the premium version of an enormously popular free PC optimization suite. As with its free counterpart, CCleaner Professional's basic scan checks for cookies, cached files, downloaded files and history in all the major browsers, including Edge, Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer and Opera (though bear in mind that deleting cached pages and images means sites you visit frequently will load more slowly next time you open them).
Your saved passwords and browsing sessions are kept by default, but checkboxes are provided if you’d prefer to clear them. You can do this through each browser’s security settings, but CCleaner makes the process much more convenient.
This scan also looks for non-essential system files, including logs, clipboard contents, and thumbnails. Again, it’s worth noting that although they take up a small amount of drive space, some of these files exist to speed up common tasks by avoiding the need to reload files. Files that could have a significant effect on your system are unchecked by default, and selecting one will present you with an explanation of its purpose – something many system optimization tools don’t offer.
This flexibility is one of CCleaner’s most impressive features: the default settings will cleam up your PC as thoroughly as any other optimization tool, but more advanced options are available for more confident users.
Clicking the Applications tab reveals the other applications that will be cleaned up during a basic scan. CCleaner Professional supports an impressive collection of programs, and will clear logs and temporary files you might not even be aware of (such as antivirus scan logs).
The scan itself is quick, and once you’ve run the cleaner you’ll be able to see how many tracking cookies and junk files CCleaner Professional has erased. There’s an optional ‘advanced’ report, but it’s not much more detailed.
CCleaner also includes a comprehensive registry cleaner. This is likely to have limited effect on overall system performance, but is handy if you’re experiencing registry-specific problems such as a new version of a program refusing to install, despite the older one being uninstalled. Helpfully, CCleaner Professional doesn’t simply delete all the ‘problem’ registry entries it finds automatically.
Unlike most registry cleaners, it informs you why you should consider removing an entry, and gives you the opportunity to deselect it. The software can also make a backup of the registry, so you can restore it in the unlikely event that cleaning it up causes problems further down the line.
CCleaner Professional also includes a software uninstaller. It's a shame that it doesn’t let you remove multiple programs at once (for that, you’ll need a dedicated tool like IObit Uninstaller), but it displays many more applications than Windows’ built in program manager – including pre-installed Windows 10 apps, which are otherwise difficult to purge. Not a fan of Solitaire? It’s gone. Don’t care for Skype? Wave goodbye.
CCleaner Professional doesn’t automatically check for leftover files and registry entries after programs are uninstalled, which is a pity, but a quick sweep with its cleanup tools will do the job just as well.
There’s also a solid startup manager, which includes options for pruning the Windows context menu. This is extremely useful if you’re sick of being offered options for programs you rarely use (such as a software uninstaller or malware scan) whenever you right-click a file.
The plugin manager is very convenient if you’ve noticed any of your web browsers behaving strangely recently, and suspect an unwanted plugin might be the culprit. CCleaner Professional also gives you quick acccess to System Restore, plus a duplicate file finder, though it might make sense if this was an option when performing the standard scan, rather than a separate tool tucked away in a sub-menu.
CCleaner's drive wiper is useful if you’re planning to recycle or sell a drive, and you can use it to clear ‘empty’ space to remove traces of deleted files that might still be recoverable. Delve into CCleaner’s options, and you’ll see that you can set the software to overwrite files several times whenever it deletes them.
You can also choose to have CCleaner run its standard scan on a regular schedule – daily, weekly, monthly, or whenever you log into Windows. This is one of the features that sets CCleaner Professional apart from its free counterpart, and is extremely convenient – just set it and forget it. If you share your PC, you can restrict CCleaner to certain accounts (so files aren’t purged whenever your kids log in, for example).
The software can be totally unobtrusive, closing itself automatically after cleaning, hiding warning messages (including those irritating user account control alerts), and even shutting down the PC after cleaning if you set it clean last thing at night.
Unlike the free edition of the software, CCleaner Professional also offers automatic updates, which it can download silently in the background.
All in all, CCleaner Professional is one of the best premium PC maintenance tools available today. A few of its supplementary tools are a little disappointing (the software uninstaller's inability to remove more than one program at a time being the main letdown), but the scanning and cleanup tools are excellent – whatever your level of experience.
- Need something cheaper? Check out the best free PC optimization tools