Everyone’s computer builds up with unwanted and leftover files as time goes on, which can start to have a drag on performance if left unchecked. Windows’ own Disk Clean tool can help in some quarters, but it barely scratches the surface when it comes to clearing out redundant files.
There’s another problem too: when you delete a file from your computer, the data is left on your hard drive until it’s overwritten by another file – in other words, there could be sensitive data you thought you’d deleted that’s still lurking somewhere.
What you need is a program that can deal with both problems: disk-cleaning utilities are ten-a-penny, and there are plenty of file-shredding tools too, but rarely do they come together under one roof. BleachBit offers both capabilities in one program: it can clean up after a large number of programs as well as Windows, plus allows you to securely shred individual files (or the free space on a hard disk, ensuring that previously deleted files can’t be recovered) too. These aren’t too intuitive to use, and you’ll need to check the online documentation to work out exactly what’s required.
The cleaning tools – by contrast – are pretty straightforward to use: launch the program, and a list of all available options for each supported program is listed: either tick individual options or tick the program itself to select all the options for that program (if you need an explanation of what’s being deleted, just select one of the entries). Click Preview to see what will be deleted, plus how much space will be saved, then click Delete to remove the lot.
This no-frills tool does a reasonable job of cleaning out redundant files from your hard drive, but its disk-wiping tools need work going forward.