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Computer Cleanup Part 2 – Getting Rid of Unused Programs and Files

By James Wise
web posted April 13, 2009
TECH TIPS – Recently, we talked about how to see where your computer’s disk space was going using a program called WinDirStat. That is really helpful for files you’ve placed on your computer which must be manually removed if you don’t want them. There are other files to consider as well though for computer cleanup and deleting these unused files can also help speed up your computer. To address these files, we’re going to talk about the free program CCleaner. This program can also help with removing old programs you no longer use.

Installing CCleaner

1)    If you want to read up on the program, go to: http://www.ccleaner.com/. A download link is located near the top of the page (or you can just go to http://www.filehippo.com/download_ccleaner/ to download the program directly).
2)    Click on Download Latest Version located toward the top right hand side of the page.
3)    When prompted, run this file (or save it to your hard drive and run it from there).
4)    Choose your language (e.g. English) and click OK
5)    Click Next
6)    Review the license terms and click I Agree
7)    Choose a directory (I generally just stay with the default that comes up) and click Next
8)    For Install Options, I normally leave everything checked EXCEPT Add CCleaner Yahoo Toolbar and click Install
9)    Click Finish

As you use your computer or browse the Internet, temporary files and log files are created. This is a completely normal process but those files can build up over time and aren’t always automatically deleted. Other files call “cookies” are created when browsing the Internet. These files generally make it easier for websites to remember preferences but sometimes, you can have cookie files you don’t want (related to advertising). Windows has a “disk cleanup” tool to address files like this and Internet Explorer/Firefox also have tools for removing unused files/cookies. However, CCleaner can do all of this and more without having to use multiple tools.  

Using CCleaner – For File Cleanup

1)    Close any open Internet Explorer/Firefox Windows (otherwise CCleaner won’t be able to cleanup Internet related files).
2)    Click on start, all programs, CCleaner, CCleaner.
3)    On the left hand side of the program you can choose what you want cleaned. I generally just go with the default (but you can uncheck anything you don’t want cleaned) and click Run Cleaner
4)    Click OK
5)    The program will take a few minutes to run. When it completes, you’ll see a log of what was done and at the top of this log, you’ll see how much disk space was recovered.

I try out a lot of different programs on my computer. Sometimes, I like them and use them frequently but not always. Generally if you install a new version of a program, the new version will replace the old one but that doesn’t always happen. So, I recommend checking your installed programs from time to time and removing programs you NEVER use (or older versions you never use). To do this, you can click on start, control panel (or start, settings, control panel), add/remove programs. However, you can also use CCleaner for this purpose.

Using CCleaner – To Remove Unused Programs

1)    If you aren’t already running CCleaner, click on start, all programs, CCleaner, CCleaner.
2)    Click Tools
3)    You will see a list of installed programs. If you find a program you want to remove, click it and then click Run Uninstaller. The screens you will see following this will depend on the program you are removing but generally they should be self explanatory.

!!! Be sure to only remove program though which you no longer want to run. If you think you might want to run them again, make sure that you at least have the installation software before removing the program in case you might want to install it again in the future. !!!

CCleaner also includes a registry cleaner. The Windows Registry is basically a database of settings and options for Windows and programs installed. It is a CRITICAL component of your Windows Computer. Over time, there can be fragments of programs left behind or other registry issues. Generally, this doesn’t create programs but these items could slow your computer down or cause problems. You can use the CCleaner Registry cleaner to correct these problems. Generally, I consider this a more advanced step and so I haven’t covered it in detail within this column.

I didn’t make a video of this program because I figured it was easy to use and that the instructions above would be sufficient. If you would like a video though or more detailed instructions with screenshots, please email me at edgefieldtechhelp@gmail.com. You can also checkout a video I found on youtube that someone else made by going to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wzBMzVd0H90 (note that this is an older version but the video is still okay otherwise I think).

Do you have a tech question you would like answered or a program you would like to recommend? Email me at edgefieldtechhelp@gmail.com. For computer questions, please include your operating system version (e.g. Windows Vista) and sorry, but I don’t do Macs.

Disclaimer: Software, tips, and links provided are used at the risk of the reader.


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