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Microsoft is now detecting the popular CCleaner Windows optimization and Registry cleaner program as a potentially unwanted application (PUA) in Microsoft Defender.  Microsoft strongly advises against allowing any program to mess with your registry. CCleaner can do that, so Microsoft does not want you to get the idea that you can use it with impunity or that they endorse it in any way.

Before the acquisition of CCleaner’s maker Piriform by Avast in 2017, CCleaner did have a good reputation. But Avast has done some questionable things since the acquisition and that reputation has suffered.

In September 2017, researchers discovered that CCleaner was compromised by hackers who inserted a backdoor into the software, enabling remote access of infected machines.

It is possible that CCleaner may have tricked you into installing a PUP (potentially unwanted program) when you installed CCleaner. PUPs are not dangerous. Typically, just annoying adware. A scan with the free version of Malwarebytes should enable you to get rid of any PUPs.

In 2019, Microsoft temporarily banned CCleaner on the Microsoft Community forums that caused links to the program to be censored when posted.

This ban was due to Microsoft’s general stance that Registry cleaners and system optimizers can do more harm than good on Windows 10 systems.

Microsoft stated that “Some products such as registry cleaning utilities suggest that the registry needs regular maintenance or cleaning.  However, serious issues can occur when you modify the registry incorrectly using these types of utilities. These issues might require users to reinstall the operating system due to instability. Microsoft cannot guarantee that these problems can be solved without a reinstallation of the Operating System as the extent of the changes made by registry cleaning utilities varies from application to application.”

Let me now summarize about CCleaner:

• CCleaner malware is a malicious program disguised as legitimate software called CCleaner. discovered in September 2017,

• CCleaner malware was designed by hackers to steal sensitive data from unsuspecting users.

Couple of questions

Is CCleaner legit?

No, it is not.

CCleaner is a Windows application, which is useful for system optimization and maintenance and unused/temporary files removal.

It becomes harmful due to the malware that is hidden by hackers.

Why is CCleaner bad?

There are two fallacies to this. The first is that deleting files will speed up your computer. It may reduce the amount of hard drive space you use, but it will not necessarily make your computer run any faster.

The second fallacy is that do you even need CCleaner to do this.

If you want to Optimize Windows for better performance:

  • Try using the Performance troubleshooter.
  • Delete programs you never use.
  • Limit how many programs run at startup.
  • Clean up your hard disk.
  • Run fewer programs at the same time.
  • Turn off visual effects.
  • Restart regularly.
  • Change the size of virtual memory.

Third-party products may not do this correctly.

Stay protected!

George Cox is the owner of Computer Diagnostics and Repair.  He can be reached at 346-4217.

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