OK, I’ll admit it. I’m something of a nut when it comes to utilities that get rid of unnecessary space-takers in Windows OSes. That’s why you’ll find more than a handful of utilities that get rid of unnecessary, unwanted, obsolete or superfluous files in this series. My first such tool is small, fast, unassuming and free. It’s from a Brazilian company named Josh Cell Softwares aka Michael Oliveira. You can tell two things right away when you start digging into this tool, which is named UnCleaner. Thing one is that English is obviously not the developer’s first or native language. Thing two is that, language barriers notwithstanding, these guys know something about where to look for and how to get rid of temporary, cache, and other transient Windows files. Right now, their website is rolling over to a Brazilian coupon outlet (ack!) so I’m going to recommend grabbing the package either from MajorGeeks or from Download.CNet.com.
Introducing Toolkit Item: Uncleaner
Here’s a snapshot after running Uncleaner on my production PC at the end of a busy day of work, writing and surfing the Internet:
Talk about a simple-minded UI: push the Clean button to put UnCleaner to work. That’s it!
Now here’s the after shot, once UnCleaner has worked its magic. Note: I can’t make UnCleaner happy with my default desktop state. I have too many apps open, services loaded and running, and temp/cache files and folder locked to produce a “Good. Your machine is very clean.” message in the program’s status field. I can (and often do) see that message on my less heavily-used test and traveling PCs, though.
Even though my Status is ‘Bad.’, I’m down by 1163 folders, 26,348 files, and 746.9 MB!
The following table, lifted from the program’s documentation, lists all the file types that UnCleaner removes from Windows systems. Please note that if you’re troubleshooting a system, you don’t want to run this utility because it will cheerfully remove log files and suchlike that you may actually want to examine. You’ve been warned! Nevertheless, it’s a pretty impressive list.
|UnCleaner Handles These File Types|
|Windows Update Downloaded & Log Files||Prefetch Cached Data||Logon Temp Files|
|Account Temp Files for All Users||DataStore Temp Files||WINSAT Log Files|
|LocalApplicationData Log Files||Explorer Temp Files||MSDTC Log Files|
|ApplicationData SubItems Logs||Narrator Temp Files||Debug Log Files|
|Microsoft .NET Framework Logs||Shell Cached Icons||Root Log Files|
|Windows Installer Temp Files||Shell Cached Files||Wbem Log Files|
|Windows Folder Log Files||Updates Temp Files||Font Cache Files|
|ServiceProfiles Log Files||System32 Log Files||Cached Folders|
|Downloaded Installations||*.tmp Stored Files||WER Log Files|
|Performance Log Files||Offline Web Pages||WDI Log Files|
|Drivers Inf Log Files||Cached Wallpapers||CatRoot Logs|
|ReportQueue Log Files||System Log Files||Recycle Bin|
|Shutdown Cache Files||Panther Log Files||Driver Logs|
I like, and regularly use, Piriform’s CCleaner utility. It’s a pretty good cleaner. But if I run UnCleaner after CCleaner on the same PC it usually finds 200 MB or more of stuff that CCleaner missed. Though not everyone may agree, to my way of thinking about removing dreck from Windows, that’s a good thing!
Author: Ed Tittel
Ed Tittel is a 30-plus-year computer industry veteran. He’s a Princeton and multiple University of Texas graduate who’s worked in IT since 1981 when he started his first programming job. Over the past three decades he’s also worked as a manager, technical evangelist, consultant, trainer, and an expert witness. See his professional bio for all the details.