Warning against CCleaner - a cleaning program for Mac and Windows

Does CCleaner spy on its users and is it dubious?

After this article went online today, it only took me a few minutes to get multiple feedback from readers advising me to warn rather than recommend the program. The two main criticisms are:

  • CCleaner spies on user data and there is no way to turn it off
  • CCleaner automatically installs updates without user consent

In order to respond to this and other criticism, I would like to name a few sources that reported some time ago about the privacy problems with CCleaner.

Sources reporting on CCleaner's problems

  • CCleaner spies on its users: This is the manufacturer's lame excuse - chip.de
  • Warning: CCleaner 5.45 is spying on users, cannot be switched off - winfuture.de
  • Big update for CCleaner: New version without hidden espionage - chip.de
  • CCleaner overwrites settings and makes a forced update to version 5.46 (Original: "CCleaner Disregarding Settings and Forcing Update to Latest 5.46 Version") - bleepingcomputer.com
  • Attention: The CCleaner not only spies, it also overwrites your data protection - futurezone.de
  • Be careful with the CCleaner: the program wants to install Avast without being asked - chip.de
  • CCleaner 5.46: Developers want to regain trust - pcwelt.de
  • CCleaner Malware Disaster: What You Need to Know Now - pc-magazin.de
  • CCleaner infected with malware - malware infects known maintenance software - mirror.de
  • Backdoor in CCleaner enabled remote access - update strongly recommended - heise.de

All points that were not the case in the past - before the takeover by Avast. I know an old version of the program and it has served me well to clean the programs and memory of my friends ’bitchy Windows boxes. For this reason I wanted to pass it on to you as a recommendation.

If you read the comments in the messages linked above, you can see that many felt the same. The old versions of CCleaner have been praised and served well, but the software has been going downhill since it was acquired by Avast.

In retrospect, I have to say that I'm glad I got so much feedback from my readers. After reading so many reports about the tool, I can confidently put it in the "dubious" corner and advise against installing it.

More interesting posts in the blog:

Open source alternative to CCleaner

A reader gave me the program "BitBleach"Cited as a possible, free alternative to CCleaner. BitBleach is open source and therefore free of advertising. You can be sure that you will not get another" auxiliary program "installed on the side or that your own user data will not be sent around the world.

Due to the messages about CCleaner linked at the top, I am no longer sure whether CCleaner is a recommendation. The sometimes very dubious practices that the developers have shown here do not create any trust in me - even if the software may actually do a good job.

I would tend to go for the free "BitBleacher"(WIN) or the paid tools CleanMyMac or CleanMyPC guess.

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12 comments

  1. Enc says:

    An indication of the company's critical data collection behavior would have been nice. Since then I have been using the open source software BitBleach ... not so pretty, but sufficient functionality and no data collection.

    • Sir Apfelot says:

      Hello Enc! Thank you for this objection. In fact, I was not aware of that. The post will be expanded by a paragraph ... obviously this data collection started after CCleaner was taken over by Avast. The privacy settings to prevent this data collection apparently no longer exist ... so now more of a "questionable" program.

      I would write an article about BitBleach in the near future. That sounds like a good alternative!

    • Lara says:

      Hello Enc, thank you for your hint.

      But unfortunately this software is not available for the Mac?

      • Sir Apfelot says:

        Hello Lara! Yes that's true. I just looked, but there is only one version that you have to run with the terminal. I don't know of a free alternative either. Except "About This Mac"> "Hard Drives"> "Manage" and then "Optimize Storage" and "Reduce Chaos". Those are two new options in macOS (since High Sierra I believe). This gets rid of a bit of data junk.

        The software works nicer, more effectively and more comprehensively CleanMyMac XI've been using for years. Unfortunately, it costs money.

  2. Froyo52 says:

    Now that the second enormously harmful "tool" has been published here, I will have to uninstall the "Sir Apfelot" RSS feed in my reader.
    In my opinion, it is outrageous to present such things here and also to recommend them.
    This disqualifies the author as an expert.

    • Sir Apfelot says:

      Hello Froyo52! Thank you for your comment. I really made the wrong recommendation here. CCleaner used to be fine, but has apparently evolved into a data collector (spyware) since the Avast acquisition. I'm sorry ... the article will be rewritten as appropriate tonight to provide a warning. I hope I can keep you as an RSS reader. It would be a shame to lose such professionals and critical readers as you. Even if we disagree with CleanMyMac - there are no discussions with CCleaner! LG!

  3. Siegfried says:

    Hello, the ccleaner has often attracted negative attention in the past. Among other things, there was a contribution to a backdoor in the software on Heise.
    Therefore, I would also view this software very critically and, if in doubt, advise against it.

    https://www.heise.de/security/meldung/Backdoor-in-CCleaner-ermoeglichte-Fernzugriff-Update-dringend-empfohlen-3834851.html

    • Sir Apfelot says:

      Hello Siegfried! Thank you for your feedback signal. I know CCleaner from before, but obviously the software has gotten a lot worse. I will rephrase the article and make it a warning. That is more likely than a recommendation.

  4. Michael schommed says:

    Hello, I didn't take part in the first update and I'm still in the U version without the tangled spiogentenkruff. Still does its services without problems and only complains when starting because of update. I can live with that.

  5. Piet says:

    Following the discussion, I think it is completely wrong to leave this article in its assessment in the blog, only the warning should remain, I agree with the previous speakers.

    Jens, clarity is required here, I understand, you put a lot of time into research etc., but the result is clear.

    Delete article and leave the warning of data octopus!

    • Sir Apfelot says:

      Hello Piet! Yes, you're right. Even though I've read about people who still achieve good "cleanup results" with old versions, I also think that it is better to warn than recommend. I'll take everything out after the warning and will revise the article again when the opportunity arises. I wish you a merry Christmas time! LG!

  6. Rudolf says:

    Hmm, some people have discovered a lot, but the relationships don't seem to be really clear for everything.
    Years ago I started with CCleaner, then downloaded from FileHippo, where I've never downloaded since, a package of malware, so it's not exactly new.
    With downloads from formerly piriform now ccleaner.com I've never caught anything over the years.
    Then there was an auto-download from Avast during an update.
    That only happened to me because I had overlooked the hint that you could tick whether you want Avast or not.
    CCleaner spies on activity?
    I can't check that, but that would be really bad!
    All in all, I still find it very useful, but just download ONLY FROM THEIR website and check with every click whether there is anything else that you should read first.
    When installing the following recommendation: Do not just click install but MUST open the small text link underneath that says something like "Settings or Preferences" or something like that, there you can uncheck everything you don't want to have installed, for example I always choose only one point "create desktop icon", I don't want anything else, especially not that it is also messed up in the taskbar as an active program!

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