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The 5 Best Free Tools That Will Clean Your Windows PC Like a Pro

Keep your PC running fast and clean for free by clearing out temporary files.

Keep your PC running fast and clean for free by clearing out temporary files.

If you spend a lot of time on your PC like me, you probably have some junk to get rid of. Why bother? Here are two good reasons:

  1. You can increase your PC speed by keeping it clean.
  2. Temporary files (Windows and Internet) can slow your PC down and harbor spyware, tracking cookies, and even malware.

Sure, you can pay a pro to clean your computer, but why would you when you have these free tools at your fingertips? These free apps will have your machine cleaned up in no time. Do note that while they are free, some of them have advanced paid versions or at least ask for donations.

Below are five free cleaners that have gained my trust over the years. Each tool listed is described in greater detail below, and links to each are provided.

5 Free Desktop Cleaning Software Options

  1. CCleaner
  2. ATF Cleaner
  3. TFC Cleaner
  4. SuperAntiSpyware
  5. Malwarebytes


1. CCleaner

CCleaner (pronounced see-cleaner) is a little tool I use every other day. When you first install this little app, you have the option to use desktop shortcuts, start menu shortcuts, and attach it to the recycling bin. I like a clean desktop, so I attach it to my recycling bin. When I want to run it, I simply right click the bin and select Open CCleaner.

A look at the CCleaner interface

A look at the CCleaner interface

Not only does it come loaded with many customizable features, but it also has the only registry cleaner I actually trust (and its free). If you decide to clean up your Windows registry, make sure to select Yes when asked if you would like to save a backup. I've never had to go back and restore mine (knock on wood), but it's always a good idea to have a backup. Another included tool to note is the uninstaller, under the Tools directory. There are lots of things you can do with this tool, but if you just want to leave it set to the defaults and use the Windows cleaner utility, that's fine too. Just hit the Run Cleaner button on the bottom right and you are done. After running this tool, you'll notice a difference in your PC speed.

ATF Cleaner

ATF Cleaner

2. ATF Cleaner

ATF Cleaner, or All Temp File Cleaner, was created for Windows XP. It is not officially supported for Windows Vista or Windows 7, but it does work. Once you're done downloading the file to your browser in Firefox or Chrome, right click it and select Open Containing Folder. Copy it from that folder and place it where ever you like, such as your desktop. While CCleaner did a great job of cleaning your personal user profile's cookies and temporary internet files, ATF Cleaner will also clean the Windows Temp directory, Current Users Temp directory, and All Windows users Temp directories. Once you've run this cleaner, save it in a folder for later use.

TFC Cleaner

TFC Cleaner

3. TFC Cleaner

Next up is TFC Cleaner. This tool takes PC cleaning to the next level, as it cleans all of the temporary internet files and cache for all the Windows user profiles on your computer! Ever use a machine that has been handed around the office a few times, with 8 or 9 people having used it over the years? Chances are very good that there is a lot of junk sitting in their Windows temp folders. Download TFC the same way as you did ATF Cleaner and put it on your desktop. Click Start, let it run for a second or two, and you are done. You may have to restart your PC when it finishes. I would put this tool in your newly created cleaner folder for later use.



4. SuperAntiSpyware

SuperAntiSpyware is essential for keeping your spyware tracking cookies in check! Like the name suggests, it removes spyware (tons of them) from your computer. Spyware and tracking cookies can greatly effect the speed of your PC. You can download the free edition (which is what I use), or the professional edition. If you already have an antivirus suite, then you want the free edition. The install package will fully install itself into your Windows program files directory and start up as soon as it's installed. You have two choices when scanning your PC, either a quick or full scan. I recommend running a full scan and then following up with a full PC scan at least once a month. You should run a quick scan once a week or so.



5. Malwarebytes

Malwarebytes is, in my humble opinion, the single greatest malware remover out right now. If you think your PC may be infected, this is the very first program you turn to. Chances are you could rid yourself of a nasty bug just by running a full up-to-date scan with this utility. Like SuperAntiSpyware, there are two choices when downloading, free and pro. If you already have an antivirus program, then you want the free edition (what I use). This program will install itself in your Windows Program Files directory. Upon its first run, I recommend a full scan. Always be sure to click the updates tab first to make sure your definitions are up to date, then run a scan. Your scan won't be nearly as effective if your definitions aren't up to date. Run a full scan once a month or so, and a quick scan once a week.

Keep Your Computer Clean and Healthy

Running these five cleaners will help you keep your Windows PC free of spyware, malware, and cookies and increase your machine's speed. Most importantly, they are all free! Pat yourself on the—you just saved yourself around 100 bucks by not calling a repair service.

Did you run these tools and increase your computer speed? Find any bugs along the way? Please feel free to leave a comment and let me know what you found.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.


logan parkinson on June 12, 2020:

Its the best Software i Have ever used its so simple and easy to use and clear all cache and history thankx for sharing

logan parkinson

Jeff Boettner (author) from Tampa, FL on October 05, 2019:

Hi Pat,

That's a great question and I was unaware that ccleaner does not work on edge. I'll do some research on this subject and respond when I have some answers -- Jeff

Pat on September 30, 2019:

I like CCleaner and have used it for years but it will not clean Microsoft Edge because Edge is set to pre launch. For almost a year they have been saying they are working on a fix but nothing yet. They do give instructions to remove edge from the pre launch, and I have tried but it never works. Which program will clean edge?

Sam Crees on July 20, 2018:

Wanted to add a thought, since your article was so wonderful. So many people love cool gadgets, and my all time favorite that gets people into trouble, (and I had to get one guy to invest in LifeLock immediately, and it saved his rear side) is password protection schemes, or automatic autofill programs which one of the downloads asked me if I wanted it, thus the post now. I have since I 1st got on the Net, have had a hand written log of all my sites, passwords, and other important data, and this has been since 1989, the book is almost 1" thick. I also never, put any personal data, spreadsheets or anything on my Internet access portal, I have a private machine for this. And as I said my logs are for the most part clean since i never visit sites on purpose that have questionable anything.

Thanks so much, once again !

Sam Crees on July 20, 2018:

Was reading up and came to your article; very nice! I have used CCleaner since it was Open Source beginning, but the others, interesting, since I work on friends machines, and am terrified by just checking and reading their logs to see where they have been, or accidentally went to? Anyway, CCleaner, after a few years I bought Pro just because I owed them a debt of gratitude, it is even better!

Keep up the great work! And I will use 2 of these programs you suggest, just because they sound great and are easier to run than my old fashion way of finding the problems. Why not fix the easy stuff 1st, the easy way, and then see if there is anything left?

Take care and as I said keep up the good work. on April 16, 2018:

Very Nice Article which Solved my Problem with cleaning my PC.

Terry on April 14, 2018:

I have a malware program, will your program conflick with mine?

Leah on February 18, 2018:

I'm trying to download TFC Cleaner (where it has the download button) but it's not doing anything. What should I do?

Pancho Marana from USA on February 23, 2015:

I use auslogics registry cleaner and the built in windows disk cleaner. On my other laptop, I use linux mint 17.1 ( the best windows cleaner).

Tim Anthony on January 27, 2014:

I have been using CCleaner since it was still in its infancy. It has improved quite much over time. I still use this great software, and I've never had any problems with it.

Jeff Boettner (author) from Tampa, FL on February 16, 2013:

Thanks for the awesome comment Amal, and for stopping by!

Amal on February 10, 2013:

Truly saying that is awesome

Jeff Boettner (author) from Tampa, FL on February 01, 2013:

@moonlake -- Thanks for the positive feedback!

moonlake from America on January 30, 2013:

Great information and good tools I have a few of them. Voted up and shared.

Jeff Boettner (author) from Tampa, FL on October 18, 2012:

Thanks TycoonSam :), I use these tools all of the time. They do make a difference. If you turn off some of your uneeded services as well you'll be GTG. Thanks for stopping by!

TycoonSam from Washington, MI on October 17, 2012:

Thanks for the tips Jeff. Can't wait to use them!

Voted up and useful

Jeff Boettner (author) from Tampa, FL on October 03, 2012:

Hello dahoglund :), give them a shot, lemme know how it goes. I'll be reading up on your hubs (especially the Dog Breeds) as well. Glad you stopped by.

Don A. Hoglund from Wisconsin Rapids on October 03, 2012:

Thanks, I'll give them a try..

Jeff Boettner (author) from Tampa, FL on October 03, 2012:

Thanks ITcoach, looks like you have some great hubs that i'll be reading in the future. Thanks for stopping by

Jeff Boettner (author) from Tampa, FL on October 03, 2012:

Hey Brett :), thanks for the Comodo tip, I just discovered Comodo firewall as well, didn't know about the system cleaner, I'll be checking that out today.

Brett C from Asia on October 03, 2012:

Great tools, I have used most of them before and they are good. TFC is a new one, which I may have to check out. I would also recommend that you check out Comodo System cleaner (from or and see what you think ... it is a comprehensive and save cleaner with an 'auto clean' feature ;-).

Shared, up and useful.

Jeff Boettner (author) from Tampa, FL on September 03, 2012:

Thanks again chefmancave, good feedback, and autoruns a great utility, might be adding that one tomorrow :)

Robert Loescher from Michigan on September 03, 2012:

Another great article from Howlermonkey. I just want to add one suggestion: Use Autoruns to disable "junk" programs that run at Startup. Many Apps and devices are notorious for adding a Startup program that checks for updates. The programs eat up System Resources. HP printer software is particular bad about loading 3 to 6 Apps when you install the printer.

Autoruns (Free from Microsoft) lets you see everything-and I mean everything- that is running at Startup.

All the rest of your suggestions are excellent tips!

theframjak from East Coast on August 05, 2012:

Great article howlermunkey. I have used Malwarebytes but was not familiar with the others on the list. Thanks for sharing.

Jeff Boettner (author) from Tampa, FL on May 21, 2012:

Thanks for the Positive Feedback BritinTexas! I'm glad you found that "high" risk file and got rid of it. If you ever have any questions please feel free to comment or email me. Thanks again :)

BritInTexas from San Antonio, Texas on May 20, 2012:

Excellent article, and extremely useful. I installed and ran CCleaner, and it got rid of over 2.5 GIG of crap my laptop! The SuperAntiSpyware programme removed 5 issues, one of which was 'hight-risk'.

I also want to thank you for the instructions on how to install CCleaner - I would never have known about the option to link it to my recycle bin (when the option came up during installation, I wouldn't have understood what it meant!), so that was very informative.

Thank you for posting this list!