03 August, 2013

System Cleaners (ccleaner vs PrivaZer)


As system cleaners go, there are an abundance of them to choose from. Their effectiveness and price vary. I'm going to compare the very popular free version of ccleaner to a new rising star in the system cleaner realm; PrivaZer.

To do a comparison, I did a complete system clean using the free version of ccleaner from Piriform. This included both the system cleaner and registry cleaner. The free version of ccleaner separates these two functions and the user has to run them individually. After having allowed ccleaner to clean and fix all issues in both, I downloaded and installed PrivaZer and ran its initial sweep. 

One of the first things that caught my attention was that PrivaZer gives you the option to add secure delete functionality to the recycle bin in addition to file and folder menus (right click options). After having used ccleaner for some time, I wasn't impressed with their version of appending a "Run ccleaner", and "Open ccleaner" to the Recycle Bin. I was even less impressed to find that neither of the added menu functions actually worked. I am impressed to see PrivaZer adding secure deletes to the recycle bin that actually work. I was also impressed with PrivaZer's level of detail in options for secure deletion of files. They provide various secure delete methods ranging from fast single overwrites to extreme 35 overwrites. 

After PrivaZer completed its initial sweep, it gave the following results:

As you can see, PrivaZer found a lot of residual system files in addition to 7861 registry objects after ccleaner;  freed up an additional 208MB of system files (seriously ccleaner missed that much?); recovered 1.5GB of RAM (function not available in ccleaner).  Worth mentioning again, PrivaZer was ran directly after ccleaner.

Additionally, PrivaZer allows you to add system cleaning on a schedule which is not available in the free version of ccleaner.  Lastly, PrivaZer's performance is astounding!   The above snapshot of a secure cleanup of my C: drive took 8 min 28s.   cclean's only comparable function of this is a complete drive wipe which took nearly 12 hours on my system.  PrivaZer warns during the first sector scan (zeroizing unused space) may take a long time the first time PrivaZer runs.  I suspect that my recent drive wipe with ccleaner gave way to a fast first run time in my case.  So my results on the "free sectors cleaned" probably reflect what consecutive execution times may resemble on a scheduled clean.  ccleaner does a blind drive wipe whether the drive sector needs it or not.



Note worthy improvements of PrivaZer over ccleaner:
  • Smart cookie cleaning:  If you've ever tried to configure ccleaner's cookie exceptions list, you'll understand how awesome this feature is.
  • Smart Cleaning:  Optimized cleaning cleans only free space that is needed (non-zeroized secure delete).  Massive performance improvement!
  • Scheduled Cleaning:  Included in the free version of PrivaZer
  • Graphical Representation of Cleaning: Defrag style free space secure delete scan. 
  • Vast Performance Improvement:  Time is the one thing we can all appreciate.  PrivaZer's optimized secure cleaning is in a class of its own.
  • RAM Cleaning!!!:  ccleaner free doesn't have this feature...
  • Easier Regestry backup and Restoral Points:  ccleaner does allow you to save a backup of your registry before fixing registry errors, but its interface is clumsy and confusing.  PrivaZer integrates an easy check box for registry backups.  More over, PrivaZer allows users to opt to create a restoral point in the same fashion.  ccleaner free version does not create restoral points.
  • Superior system cleaning:  In my test run of PrivaZer directly after a cclean system and registery clean,  PrivaZer recovered 208MB more of free space, freed 1.5GB of RAM on my 8GB system, and found nearly 8000 more registry objects to clean over ccleaner.
  • Simple and Extensive options for every function:  At first glance, PrivaZer's options seem rather simple under their main menu.  PrivaZer is pre-configured under the hood with the recommended options.  At the main menu, the basics are shown which doesn't mind boggle you. Additionally, after a system sweep, PrivaZer prompts with three general options ranging from fast (least secure) to slow (very secure) and provides an estimated time to complete each option.

     However, once you dive into the heart of the application, you'll find that you have complete control over every aspect of every function PrivaZer performs in cleaning your system.  You'll find an "options" link listed in each scan type listed.  Selecting that scan type (physically clicking it) allows you to open the options related to that scan as shown below for "System".


I've scheduled PrivaZer to clean my system every morning at 4AM so my system performs as clean and fast as from a fresh boot at the beginning of each day.  Review it yourself and download PrivaZer.  It's 100% free!

All in all, I give a high five to PrivaZer and rate it high and above the other system cleaners available thus far.  They've taken performance and wrapped it in a security blanket.

-- Update from Privizer



With PrivaZer's latest release, the application now dives into the NTFS transaction logs to securely delete $LogFile traces of file manipulations.  From an email from the Privazer Team regarding this update:

PrivaZer was already able to clean the USN Journal (Change Journal) for NTFS drives.  Now it is able to clean deeper...
Which traces can be found in the transactions log file?
  • the names of the most recently created files/folders
  • the names of the most recently deleted files/folders
  • the names of the most recently moved files/folders
  • the names of the most recently copied files/folders
  • the names of the most recently renamed files/folders  
We found that a $LogFile may record more than 300,000 operations of files/folders and contain around 10,000 file/folder names, so that it would be so easy to recover the names of files that had been deleted by a user... That's a privacy issue.