Published June 12, 2019
Piriform's CCleaner has been around for over 15 years now (released September, 2003). It’s a popular PC cleaning tool which has a ton of free features. Additionally, it has a paid version called CCleaner Professional which adds even more functionality.
So what exactly does CCleaner Professional do compared to the free version? Is CCleaner Pro worth $25/year?
Keep reading to find out what a long-term user of CCleaner thinks.
CCleaner Professional Review
|What I Liked||What I Didn't Like||TL;DR|
|Lots of features||Not all features are simple|| 4.0/5|
|Effective at freeing space|
Is CCleaner Pro Worth it?
I’ll just get right into it and say that I think CCleaner Pro is worth the money. Even though the free version has a ton of features, the pro version has really useful additions such as scheduled cleanings, smart cleaning, cleaning across multiple users on your computer, and more.
However, like most PC cleaners, it most likely won't actually speed up your computer. In fact, the only PC cleaner that noticeably sped up my computer was Iolo System Mechanic. It's a little more expensive than CCleaner Pro but will give you results.
With that being said, let's jump into the facts and features of CCleaner.
CCleaner Free vs Pro
Although the free version of CCleaner has a ton of features, there are some that you only get in CCleaner Pro. They are:
- Cleaning across multiple users on your computer
- Smart cleaning to monitor your system and automatically clean it
- Scheduled cleanings
- CCleaner auto-updates
- Priority e-mail support
- First notification of updates, beta programs, and special offers
Let’s go into more details on what features the free and pro versions of CCleaner have.
CCleaner Professional’s Smart Cleaning lets you control automatic browser data cleaning, and automatic junk file cleaning. Based on your own preferences, you can decide when and what to clean up.
I really like this because it makes sure my PC never fills up with junk files, and it gets rid of my browsing data automatically for privacy.
With Smart Cleaning and Scheduling, CCleaner Professional pretty much takes care of your computer for you in the background. If you schedule a monthly scan, auto-clean junk files when they get more than 1 GB, and run the Disk Analyzer once in awhile, you’ll notice you almost have too much free space.
Clean Across Multiple Users
If you use a shared computer with say, your family, this is really useful to either clean the computer for everyone, or only certain users. CCleaner's free version only runs for the current user, so if you wanted to clean the whole computer you would have to log in for each user to run CCleaner.
First Priority for Support and Offers
If you’re not the best at diagnosing and fixing computer problems yourself, good software support is important. According to user reviews, customer support for CCleaner is pretty good already. If you have CCleaner Professional you can jump to the front of the line for getting help, and for any updates and offers CCleaner releases.
I personally don’t find this useful since I usually don’t need software support, but it may be useful to you.
For reference, here’s the Trustpilot for CCleaner:
Honestly, this is a feature that should be free since it’s not really that important. This all comes down to whether or not you’ll have to click a few extra buttons to update CCleaner.
This is probably my favorite feature. There’s only so much space you can free up by doing an automatic clean because those mostly target junk files, temp files, and log files.
So why not take things into your own hands? The Disk Analyzer tells you which types of files are taking up the most space so you can remove them yourself. I found out I had a bunch of old movies and shows I didn’t even know about taking up 20 GB!
Like the Disk Analyzer, the Duplicate Finder allows you to take cleaning matters into your own hands to get rid of use duplicate files. Once again, I was able to free up a ton of space because of this.
This is the bread and butter of CCleaner where you can remove browsing data to protect your privacy, and get rid of old files taking up space. This is convenient if you want to free up some space in two clicks.
Since I like to have more control over what gets cleaned up, I mostly use CCleaner’s Custom Clean. As you can see below, this gives you more control, and a more detailed analysis of exactly what you’re deleting.
I particularly like how you can remove junk or temp files from applications other than your internet browsers.
I’m not going to lie to you and say that cleaning out your registry will speed up your PC, because it won't. However, I still think it’s a good idea to do since broken registry items could cause issues with your computer.
CCleaner’s Uninstaller allows you to see which programs are taking up the most space, and uninstall them. This is useful purely for its convenience, since you can do this yourself in the Control Panel.
This feature allows you to see which programs on your computer need to be updated, and to update them all at once. See here for why you should keep your software updated. Like the Uninstaller, this is a convenience feature since most programs will tell you they need to be updated when you open them anyway.
Manage Startup Programs
Another feature of CCleaner is the ability to enable or disable startup programs. Although you can control startup programs yourself in Windows, CCleaner supercharges this. You’re able to change:
- Scheduled tasks running on your computer
- Startup processes that run
- Programs that modify what options you get when you right-click (i.e. context menu)
I like this since I’m a nerd and love customizing these kind of things.
Manage Browser Plugins
Instead of having to go into the settings of each individual browser, CCleaner gives you the ability to manage all your plugins, add-ons, and extensions for browsers.
Again, something you can do yourself but it’s pretty convenient.
Manage System Restore Points
Although you can manage your system restore points yourself, CCleaner makes it easy for you by including this as one of its features.
Honestly? This seems pretty pointless to me since all you can do is view and remove your restore points here anyway.
Did you know that when you delete a file, it’s not actually deleted? The underlying data is still on your hard drive, but it’s marked as free space that can be overwritten. Unless the deleted data is overwritten, it can still be recovered.
The Drive Wiper makes sure your files are gone forever by overwriting any free space on your computer. I like this to get rid of files I really don’t want anyone else to see. Ever.
Is CCleaner Safe?
In short, yes. The only unsafe thing about CCleaner is potentially deleting files you didn’t mean to delete, or disabling programs you didn’t mean to disable. As long as you double check everything you should have no problems.
Full disclosure: in September 2017, illegal code made it into Version 5.33.6162 for 32-bit Windows. This code collected information about users’ computers such as the name of the computers, list of installed software, and list of running processes (read more here).
Although no actual harm was done to any computers, this information could have been used to target computers in the future. This is still a careless oversight by Piriform. To their credit, this is the only incident like this, and CCleaner has been completely safe ever since.
There are several PC cleaners out there today, like:
If you're looking for an alternative that's also free like CCleaner, check out Glary Utilities. It has some features CCleaner doesn't like file encryption and restoring deleted files.
However, if you want to actually speed up your computer and don't mind paying a little, check out Iolo System Mechanic. The main thing that makes it stand out is its "LiveBoost" feature that dynamically re-allocates system resources to programs that are actually being used.
Overall, I think CCleaner Professional is a great PC cleaning tool, and worth the money. Even the free version is better than other cleanup tools like Avast Cleanup.
Despite the initial learning curve to use CCleaner to its fullest potential, and the security incident that happened a few years ago, CCleaner still remains a top tool for me.
However, like most PC cleaners, it won't actually speed up your computer. The only software that gave me noticeable results was Iolo System Mechanic.
Anyway, go check out CCleaner yourself, and let me know what you think. The pro version offers a 14-day trial so you can decide for yourself.