Does CCleaner Get Rid of Malware?

by Kevin Lee

Over time your computer may slow down as you install programs, delete files and surf the Web. CCleaner, like many PC maintenance applications, has tools that help computer owners fix problems that prevent their machines from running smoothly. Because malware can harm your computer and steal personal information, you’ll need to use a security program to protect your computer. CCleaner does not detect malware or remove it.

CCleaner Benefits

CCleaner can help you free up hard drive space by removing temporary files and finding duplicate files you may not need. Use CCleaner's Startup tool when you'd like to prevent unnecessary programs from launching when your computer boots. You also have the ability to delete files securely using the Drive Wiper feature. However, if you check the program's user interface, you won't find any button or tool that detects or removes malware.

Registry Cleaning

Windows and other applications use the system registry to perform their tasks. While some malware leaves traces in the registry, CCleaner isn't designed to hunt and remove them specifically. After CCleaner scans your computer, it may display a list of registry keys that have problems. While these problems are often minor, it often helps to resolve them. Click “Fix Selected Issues” if you’d like CCleaner fix the problems automatically or perform the job manually by reviewing recommendations the program provides. If you use CCleaner to resolve registry issues, click “Yes” to back the registry up when the programs displays that prompt. You’ll then be able to restore the registry to its original state If anything goes wrong.

Anti-Virus Protection

Windows 8 comes with Windows Defender, a built-in anti-virus program. It doesn’t clean computers the way CCleaner does, but Windows Defender will help you work safely on and off the Web. While it’s not wise to use your computer without malware protection, you can turn Windows Defender off if you like. You may want to do that if you install a third-party security program such as Avira or AVG. For added protection, install an anti-virus program that has a firewall. Firewalls help keep unwanted traffic from entering or leaving your computer over the Internet or a network.


You don’t have to use CCleaner to make your computer run more efficiently. NCleaner, for instance, performs many of the jobs that CCleaner does. Both apps are free, install quickly and have help documentation. You can also clean computers yourself using utilities that come with Windows. Run Disk Cleanup when you’d like to delete files you don’t need anymore. Learn to use Msconfig, and you can disable programs that start when Windows starts. It also never hurts to uninstall long forgotten programs that you once used but may never touch anymore.

About the Author

After majoring in physics, Kevin Lee began writing professionally in 1989 when, as a software developer, he also created technical articles for the Johnson Space Center. Today this urban Texas cowboy continues to crank out high-quality software as well as non-technical articles covering a multitude of diverse topics ranging from gaming to current affairs.