CCleaner Privacy And Cookie Management

CCleaner has had an interesting history. It was developed by a British software company, Piriform, and launched in 2004. Originally called “Crap Cleaner”, the name was shortened to “CCleaner”. It became quite popular for cleaning potentially unwanted files and invalid registry entries from Windows. Over the years it added capabilities and enjoyed even greater popularity, until April 2017. That’s when a group of hackers managed to compromise the CCleaner distribution servers and released an update with malware. CCleaner’s reputation was tarnished and its popularity plummeted.

Later in 2017, Piriform was acquired by Avast. That’s when CCleaner started having privacy concerns. Its popularity plummeted further.

Today there are also versions of CCleaner for Macs and Android.

You need to know that, even though CCleaner may not be as popular as it once was, it has some very useful capabilities and privacy concerns can be overcome. We are going to show you how to resolve the privacy concerns and how to use the cookie manager, an extremely useful capability.

Resolving Privacy Concerns

  1. Start CCleaner.
  2. Go to Options > Privacy and make sure that all three checkboxes are NOT checked as shown in the image below.privacy
  1. This last part of the privacy changes is optional. You may not be aware that CCleaner is still running, even after you close it by “Xing” out. You may not want it running all the time for its impact on PC performance and/or for possible privacy concerns. You can stop it from running by simply right-clicking on this symbol ccleaner-symbol in the Systray and choosing “Exit”.
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How To Use Cookie Management

What is a cookie? Why would you want to use a cookie manager? What’s wrong with deleting all browser cookies each day? Those are great questions.

A cookie is a small data file that a website saves to your computer or smartphone. A cookie usually has two types of data, one being a unique ID for each user, and the other a website name. Cookies make it possible for websites to get this information when you revisit them. That makes it possible for websites to remember you and your preferences and tailor the page content for you based on this information. Those are usually the “good” cookies. However, there are also “bad” cookies called “tracking” cookies. They are only “bad” if you don’t want websites you visit to know what other websites you have visited.

You would want to use a cookie manager to make sure that only the “bad” cookies are deleted and the “good” cookies that remember your website-specific data are kept. This then allows you to revisit websites tailored to your last visit. If you delete all cookies each time you close your browser, each future website visit would be exactly like the very first time you ever visited.

Because it’s so popular, let’s use Gmail as an example. When you log into one or more Gmail accounts, cookies such as these are saved:

  • accounts.google.com
  • chat.google.com
  • contacts.google.com
  • google.com
  • hangouts.google.com
  • mail-ads.google.com
  • mail.google.com
  • myaccount.google.com
  • www.google.com

If after closing your browser you want to go directly into Gmail again and have it just like the last time you visited, save all the above cookies except for “mail-ads.google.com”. These saved cookies make it possible for you to log in again without entering your credentials again. If you close your browser and then delete all cookies, you will have to reenter your login credentials again. Perhaps that’s what you want, but maybe not if you are using Gmail for hours and often close your browser.  Remember that when in Gmail you always are able to choose “Sign out of all accounts” (i.e. at the end of the day).

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This is how to use cookie management in CCleaner:

  1. Make sure that all your browsers are closed.
  2. Start CCleaner.
  3. Click on “Custom Clean” and then make sure that every browser listed in the “Windows” and “Applications” tabs has the “Cookies” checked as shown below.browsers-cookies
  4. Click on Options > Cookies as shown below. There are two sections on the right: “Cookies on Computer” and “Cookies to Keep”. As shown below, my “Cookies on Computer” is empty because I just ran Custom Clean. Unless you just ran Custom Clean, you will have all current cookies listed. If you’ve never used CCleaner cookie management before, your list in the right-most column under “Cookies to Keep” will be empty. As you can see below, mine is not empty.cookies
  5. To save any cookies on the LEFT that you want NOT deleted when you run Custom Clean, click on the cookie you want to be saved and then click on the arrow pointing from the left column to the right column as shown above. Note that you can use the search fields at the top of both columns to find cookies (i.e. search for “google” for Gmail cookies). You can choose as many cookies as you want to save by clicking on them (i.e. using Ctrl-Click) and then moving them from the left column to the right column. Similarly, if you no longer want specific cookies saved in the right column, click on the cookie and then click on the arrow pointing from the right column to the left column.
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Now your privacy in CCleaner is protected and you can manage cookies. Each time you run CCleaner Custom Clean you will delete all the “bad” cookies while the “good” cookies are saved.

If you have any concerns or questions about CCleaner privacy or cookie management or just want to chat, please use the comments section below.


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