Cleaning up computers with BleachBit

BleachBit is an open source system cleaner and privacy tool for Windows and Linux, freeing disk space, removing hidden junk, and guarding privacy.

On Linux
Use your distribution’s package manager to fetch and install BleachBit. Alternatively, packages for several distributions are available for download.

The installer creates two menu entries (BleachBit, BleachBit as Administrator) in desktop environments that conform to the standards (e.g. Gnome, KDE, Xfce).

On Windows
Download the appropriate version and double-click to install. Unlike most security software, there is no need to install as administrator.

The installer creates a start menu entry only in the administrator’s account. You can copy this entry to a user’s account by copying the directory C:\Users\Admin\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\BleachBit\¬†and pasting it to C:\Users\USER\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\BleachBit\.

Portable Bleachbit
Portable BleachBit can be used to clean Windows computers without installation; perfect for cleaning other peoples’ boxes without wasting time installing (and later uninstalling) software. Download and unzip the portable package, then either copy it to a USB stick or burn it to CD. To run, simply double-click bleachbit.exe.

In Edit – Preferences, change the default settings as desired. The only thing I need to change are the languages to be retained.

The following is adapted from the BleachBit documentation

Open BleachBit. Notice on the left of the main window is a list of cleaners and options. (Each cleaner has one or more options.) Click on the label of the cleaner that interests you. (The label is the text next to the check box.) Read the cleaner’s description (which appears on the right). Check any options you want to clean, taking care to not clean something you want to keep (cookies and saved passwords in your browser, for example). Close any applications you will be cleaning. For example, you should not clean Firefox while Firefox is running. Click the Preview button, and review the list of files. The preview button is safe and makes no changes to your system. Make any adjustments to your selection of options, and preview again until you are comfortable with the changes. Click the Delete button.

BleachBit remembers your cleaning options, so subsequent uses of BleachBit will open with your previous cleaning options already selected.

TODO: Document if BleachBit can remove the application from the Add/Delete Programs list in Windows, like CCleaner can.

BleachBit only cleans the current user’s account, so repeat the above for each user on the computer. Don’t forget the administrative account. TODO: Investigate if BleachBit can be made to optionally clean all users’ accounts at one go.

BleachBit project site
Is BleachBit not what you’re looking for? There’s also CCleaner (proprietary, Windows only).


About Warren Post

So far: Customer support guy, jungle guide, IT consultant, beach bum, entrepreneur, teacher, diplomat, over-enthusiastic cyclist. Tomorrow: who knows?
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3 Responses to Cleaning up computers with BleachBit

  1. Pingback: Skype forensics | Warren's tech notes

  2. Pingback: Securing a Windows computer | Warren's tech notes

  3. Pingback: Cleaning up Windows computers with CCleaner | A maze of twisty little passages

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