MacPaw CleanMyPC Review: Is The Program Safe & Really Worth It?
Last updated: July 15, 2018
Review of: CleanMyPC (Version 1.8.7)
Use: PC maintenance and cleanup
Win back storage space & keep PC running smoothly
A one-time payment of $39.95 per PC
Ease of Use
Intuitive, quick and good looking
Email support and an online FAQ available
What I like:
- A clean, simple, and easy-to-use user interface
- Users can quickly recover a large amount of hard drive space
- Added tools like Uninstaller and the Autorun manager are handy and simple to use
What I dislike:
- Secure Erase added to context menus with no option to remove
- "Offers" and alerts can be irritating after a while
Summary: Available for Windows 10, 8, and 7 users and priced at just $39.95 for a single-PC license, CleanMyPC is a simple to use, lightweight piece of software for cleaning unwanted files from your computer, optimizing Windows start-up times, and ensuring your PC runs smoothly. The program is made up of eight distinct tools, including a disk cleaner, registry "fixer", a secure file deletion tool, and an uninstaller.
Over the course of this review, you'll see that I found the software both easy to use and effective. It cleaned up more than 5GB of unwanted files from my PC and fixed more than 100 registry issues in a matter of minutes. Aimed at users who want an all-in-one solution to keeping their PC fresh, CleanMyPC incorporates many existing Windows tools and builds on them to offer a simple and non-technical option for computer maintenance.
We've also tested CleanMyMac, another maintenance tool made for Mac users, also from MacPaw. I called it "perhaps the best Mac cleaning app" out there. Today, I'll be taking a look at CleanMyPC, the Windows-based alternative, to see whether MacPaw can replicate that success for PC users.
Editorial Note: The post has been revamped for freshness and accuracy in July 2018. The latest version of CleanMyPC is 1.9.5, while the screenshots in the post below were initially taken based on version 1.8.7. Also, the maker of CCleaner (one of CleanMyPC's main competitors), Piriform was acquired by Avast after we published this review. Learn more below.
Why Trust Me?
My name is Alex Sayers. I've been using many different PC maintenance tools for at least 12 years now, always looking for ways to improve and streamline my PC use. For several years, I've tested and written about software too, trying to give readers an unbiased look at the tools on offer from an amateur's point of view.
After downloading CleanMyPC v.1.8.7 from the MacPaw website, I've been testing every feature of the software for a few days, comparing it to similar tools that I've used in the past across two Windows PCs with different hardware and software onboard.
In writing this review, I've tested every feature of CleanMyPC, from the baseline cleanup options to the "shredder" facility, taking the time to get to know the software in detail. Over the course of this article, you should get a good idea of whether this tool is right for you, and get a look at the features and pros and cons of using it.
What Is MacPaw CleanMyPC?
CleanMyPC is a suite of tools designed to help you clean up unwanted files from your PC and ensure it continues running smoothly and quickly.
While the main attraction is its "cleaning" service, a scan of your computer for any unnecessary files that may be taking up space, it offers eight tools in total, including a service for cleaning up your PC's registry, an uninstaller tool, options for managing auto-run settings, and a browser extension manager.
Is CleanMyPC Free?
No it isn't. While there is a free trial, and it's free to download, you will be limited to a one-time 500mb cleanup and up to 50 items fixed in your registry. The free trial should be viewed as more of a demo than a free version, as most users will hit those limits almost immediately.
If you do want to go beyond the free trial, you'll need to purchase a license. It's available for $39.95 for a single-PC, $59.95 for two, or $89.95 for the "Family Pack" with codes for five computers.
Is CleanMyPC Safe?
Yes, it is. I downloaded the program from the developer's website and have had no issues after installing it on two separate PCs. Nothing has been flagged as malware or a virus, and I've had no compatibility issues with any other software.
CleanMyPC should be pretty safe for you to use, too. It won't delete anything vital from your PC, and it gives you a chance to change your mind before you delete anything at all. I've experienced no issues with the program deleting anything that it shouldn't. However, it's worth saying here that it always pays to take a little care to make sure you're not accidentally removing anything important.
I would like to see the inclusion of an alert to backup your registry before running the registry cleaner, however. It's a feature that has long been part of CCleaner, a rival product to CleanMyPC, and it offers a little more security and peace of mind when dealing with something so delicate and vital to your computer as the registry. Likewise, a little more detail about what exact files are being deleted during a cleanup would be welcome, if only to remove all doubt about what's being done.
CleanMyPC vs CCleaner
For several years now, I've been a big fan of CCleaner, a disk cleanup tool from Piriform (later acquired by Avast), that I use personally on my PCs and recommend to friends and family.
A little later on in this review I'll show you a comparison of the disk cleaning tools within CleanMyPC and CCleaner, but those aren't the only similarities that the tools share. Both programs also include a registry cleaner (again, compared further down the page), a browser plugin manager, autorun program organizer, and an uninstaller tool.
For the most part, the tools on offer from each are very similar - they function in a very similar way and produce comparable results. CCleaner does have some nice added extras that I feel could improve CleanMyPC, such as scheduled cleanups, disk monitoring, and a disk analyzer, but I'd be lying if I told you that I'd used any of those additional tools with any regularity.
Take a look through my results in the rest of the review and decide for yourself which of these tools is right for you. CCleaner does, for me, have the edge in terms of the number of options and customizability available, but it's undeniable that CleanMyPC is more user-friendly and probably a better option for less advanced users.
CleanMyPC: A Review of Its Features and Benefits
So we've taken a look at what the software offers and how you can get your hands on it, and now I'll run through each of the eight tools that it provides to see what benefits it can bring to your PC.
We'll start with the main selling point of this cleaning program, its file cleanup tool.
I was pleasantly surprised to find that, having not done a scan for a few weeks, CleanMyPC found just over 1GB more unneeded files to delete than CCleaner did - around 2.5GB of cache, temp, and memory dump files in total.
CCleaner does give you the option of seeing exactly which files have been found and flagged for deletion, something which the MacPaw program lacks, but there's no denying that CleanMyPC does a thorough search of your hard drive.
As a nice added touch, you can also set a size limit on your recycle bin through CleanMyPC, flagging it to automatically empty if it gets too full. Also in the options menu is the choice to allow the cleaning of attached USB devices, saving you space on your USB drives and external HDDs.
The cleanup process is as simple as can be, with just a "scan" and a "clean" button being all that stands between users and plenty of reclaimed disk space. The scan and clean were quick too, both on SSDs and older HDDs, and the checkbox list of discovered items gives you some control over what files you delete.
Just as with the cleaning application, CleanMyPC appeared to be much more thorough in its search for registry "issues" to fix than CCleaner was, finding 112 in total while Piriform's software identified just seven.
Again, the scan was simple to run and quick to complete. The vast majority of issues identified by these two programs--and any others I've ever tried, for that matter--are issues which users would never have noticed, however, so it's difficult to assess the effect that a quick registry cleanup like this might have on your PC. Still, it's reassuring that MacPaw has made their tool so thorough in performing its duties.
As I mentioned earlier, I do wish that CleanMyPC had a built-in option for backing up your registry before you start "fixing" items in it, if just for a little peace of mind, but it is something that you can do manually outside of the program if you choose.
CleanMyPC's Uninstaller function comes in two parts. First, it runs the selected program's own uninstaller, the one that the developer built, and then it runs CleanMyPC's own service to tidy up the files and extensions typically left behind by the uninstallation process.
It's unlikely that you'll regain much disk space from a function like this. In my experience, it's usually just empty folders left behind or registry associations. It could, though, help to keep everything organized and structured on your disk and avoid any registry issues in the future.
This process was quick and simple, so I see no reason not to use it if you don't trust a program's built-in uninstaller to remove every last hint of itself.
Hibernation files are used by Windows as part of an ultra-low power state called, you guessed it, hibernation. Used mostly on laptops, hibernation is a way for your computer to consume practically no power at all while still remembering your files and the PC's state before you switch it off. It's similar to sleep mode, but instead of open files being stored in RAM until the computer is woken up again, information is saved to your hard drive to consume less power.
Desktop users will usually never make use of this function, but Windows creates and stores hibernation files all the same, potentially taking up a large chunk of disk space. In my case, Windows was apparently using a little more than 3GB for hibernation, and CleanMyPC offers a quick way to both delete the files and switch off the hibernation function entirely.
The program's built-in extension manager is a simple tool for removing unwanted browser extensions and Windows gadgets, displaying a list of each extension enabled in all of the browsers installed on your PC.
With the click of a button, any extension can be uninstalled in seconds. Perhaps it's not useful for most users, but it might be a lifesaver for those whose browsers are cluttered with multiple add-ons or those who want to clean multiple browsers at once.
It could also be handy if your browser or an extension is either corrupted or infected with malware. Often malicious or corrupted extensions and add-ons will prevent the browser from being opened or remove your ability to uninstall the offending item, and CleanMyPC might be a good way to work around that.
Staying on top of run-at-startup programs is a simple way of keeping your PC running quickly, and slow boot-up times are one of the biggest complaints that people often have with older PCs that haven't been looked after. Quite often multiple programs can be added to the startup list without users realizing it, which adds seconds of boot-up time with no real benefit to the user.
Managing which programs run when you start Windows is a fairly simple process without making use of any additional software. However, MacPaw's tools do a good job of presenting a simple list to users, complete with an ‘on-off' switch for each item.
The one thing I would like to see included in future versions is a way to add to your list of startup programs. Again, it is something which can be done manually outside of CleanMyPC, but it would be a nice touch to be able to both add and remove programs in one place.
The privacy tab allows you to manage what information is stored in each of your installed browsers, with the option to individually clear caches, saved history, sessions, and cookie information from each one.
It's something that could be managed manually with the options built into each browser, but CleanMyPC's interface offers a quick and simple way to manage them all at once. It's a worthwhile thing to have if you're giving your entire PC a refresh.
The final tool in MacPaw's suite is the "shredder", a method of securely erasing files and folders from your computer that you want to be unrecoverable. Designed with sensitive information in mind, like financial records or password files, Shredder deletes the files you select and then overwrites them up to three times to ensure that they can't be brought back.
There are other tools out there which do the same job. Both they and the Shredder facility do a good job of granting you some peace of mind when handling sensitive information or disposing of an old HDD.
Reasons Behind My Ratings
CleanMyPC works well. It quickly identified a lot of files taking up space on both of the PCs I tested it on. It found more than 100 registry issues to fix, and made quick work of uninstalling programs and managing the extensions and autorun settings that I asked it to.
There are some minor missing features that I'd like to see added — registry backups, the option to add autorun programs, and a more detailed display of the files it intends to delete — but those are small tweaks which possibly wouldn't be missed by most users.
Even though the program comes with a limited trial, it is clearly intended more as a brief demo than a free stripped-back version of the full program. You'll hit its limits very soon after installation.
While it's true that all of the features could be replicated with a suite of free alternatives, CleanMyPC packages them well in an easy-to-use form and takes some of the technical know-how out of your hands. And for some people, $39.95 is a small price to pay for a hassle-free approach to PC maintenance.
Ease of Use: 5/5
I can't fault how easy it is to use CleanMyPC. Within the few short minutes I had downloaded and installed the program, my PC had been scanned and I was already reclaiming space from unwanted files.
Not only is it quick and easy to use, but the layout and look of the UI is great, too. It's clean and simple, presenting all of the information that you need without having to click through complex menus or understand technical jargon.
Support from MacPaw is good. There's an extensive online knowledge base for CleanMyPC, they have an email form through which you can contact their team, and you can download a 21-page manual from their website for the program.
I do think it would be great, however, if they offered phone support or an online chat on their website. Even help via social media would be a welcome addition, especially for families paying almost $90 for a set of licenses.
Alternatives to CleanMyPC
CleanMyPC is good, but it might not be for everyone. While it is easy to use and offers an all-in-one approach to PC maintenance, many people won't need or use all of the features available, and some might instead look for more in-depth versions of a particular function.
If CleanMyPC doesn't take your fancy, here are three alternatives which provide similar functionality (you can also see our PC cleaner review for more options):
- CCleaner - Developed by Piriform, CCleaner offers a very similar cleanup and registry fixing service. The premium version adds scheduling, support and real-time monitoring.
- Glary Utilities - A suite of tools from Glarysoft, Glary Utilities offers many of the same features while also adding disk defragmentation, driver backups, and malware protection.
- System Mechanic - Claiming to provide a 229-point diagnostic check of your PC, this software offers several tools for cleaning your disk, speeding up your computer, and boosting performance.
If you're looking for an all-in-one solution for your PC maintenance, you can't go far wrong with MacPaw's CleanMyPC.
From clearing up space and shortening boot times to secure file disposal and registry fixes, this program does offer something for everyone. While advanced PC users might not make use of all of the tools, or might work around them using built-in Windows alternatives, it is a handy program to fall back on if you're looking to quickly give your computer a refresh.
If only for its ease of use, intuitive design and efficiency when searching out unwanted files to delete, CleanMyPC is a worthwhile addition to any PC user's maintenance toolbox.