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Clean your Mac's disk with CCleaner for OS X

Date: 1st March 2012     

CCleaner has been available for Windows for many years and it is one of the most popular tools for cleaning up the hard disk drive, erasing your tracks, maintaining your privacy, recovering lost disk space and more. Every Windows user knows about CCleaner, but if you're a Mac user you may not be aware of this great app. It's free and it deserves a place in your Utilities folder.

CCleaner can be installed from the Mac App Store, but it can also be downloaded directly from the developer's website. Run the app and you'll see a very familiar interface. Well, familiar if you have ever used the Windows version. It is not particularly Mac-like, but it is very easy to navigate the functions, it is easy to use and you won't need to hunt through a manual or help file to work out how to use it. It couldn't be more obvious.

Select the Cleaner icon on the left and there are two tabs, Mac OS X and Applications. The first contains a list of Safari and OS X items that can be cleaned, such as Safari's cache, the download history, the Trash folder, system logs, and so on. The Applications tab lists software you have installed, such as Firefox, Chrome, Flash Player, Garage Bandm, LibreOffice, Skype, TweetDeck and so on. The list depends on what software you have installed, so you won't see Skype or TweetDeck if you don't have them for example, but you might see other popular apps that you have installed. Everyone's Applications list will be different.

Each of the items that can be cleaned has a series of tick boxes and you can select or exclude items from the cleanup process. When you are happy with the list, click Analyze and a report showing the files to be removed is displayed. Click Clean and they are deleted.

CCleaner for Mac OS X

Select Tools on the left and there are three options. You can erase the free space on the hard disk drive for security purposes by overwriting it, you can repair file permissions, which can fix faults, and you can uninstall applications. The uninstaller lists all the apps that are installed and it is a trivial task to select one and click Uninstall to remove it.

It is always advisable to have a backup before you run any cleanup tool because they can remove things you actually need. For example, suppose you need a username and password to log into a website or web service. If you completely erase the browser cache, history, and other information, those login details will be lost. That's great for security, but not so good if you have forgotten your login details! You won't auto-login to the site or service and you'll need to enter your username and password manually.