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Changes in v5.45 and your feedback

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2 hours ago, Kernol said:

RETRACTION ***** - Please ignore my post above giving "respect" to Piriform / Avast.  They have failed abysmally once again - telemetry STILL runs even after un-ticking the Privacy Options which would lead you to believe they allowed a paid user to turn off the data flow to both their servers [CCleaner and Avast].  Without blocking them at the Firewall - they will still be accessing your data ?

I also had noticed this. Had to change my firewall settings to prevent this.

This club is not very trustworthy.

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@Kernol   @mta  @Augeas

I have NOT yet tried version of 5.46 of CC - I reverted to 5.44 (and am still using it) when all the monitoring problems with 5.45 started, so perhaps you could answer this for me please:

I read the the v5.46 changelog but I'm not entirely clear whether the telemetry that is now running is due to the Settings option "Inform me of updates to CCleaner" being ticked.

It strikes me that with that option on, then CC MUST "phone home" in order to see if there's is in fact a newer version available.  If that's the case then it would make sense that the only way to block it would be via the firewall.

I have the  "Inform me of updates to CCleaner"    option OFF in 5.44 until I'm happy to get 5.46 but if you've already installed 5.46 perhaps you, (or anybody else using 5.46) could check? 

Thanks. :D

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1 hour ago, Clean MisterB said:

@Kernol   @mta  @Augeas

I have NOT yet tried version of 5.46 of CC - I reverted to 5.44 (and am still using it) when all the monitoring problems with 5.45 started, so perhaps you could answer this for me please:

I read the the v5.46 changelog but I'm not entirely clear whether the telemetry that is now running is due to the Settings option "Inform me of updates to CCleaner" being ticked.

It strikes me that with that option on, then CC MUST "phone home" in order to see if there's is in fact a newer version available.  If that's the case then it would make sense that the only way to block it would be via the firewall.

I have the  "Inform me of updates to CCleaner"    option OFF in 5.44 until I'm happy to get 5.46 but if you've already installed 5.46 perhaps you, (or anybody else using 5.46) could check? 

Thanks. :D

I posted this in another thread yesterday, I'll repeat it here for ease of reading:

Quote

I have 'inform me of updates' unchecked, and always delete CCupdate.exe (I put it as in 'Include' in CCleaner itself).
I am currently not seeing any connection to Piriform/Avast when running 5.46.
I'm using netstat in a powershell to monitor it.
https://www.howtogeek.com/98601/easily-monitor-your-computers-internet-connection-activity/

As I see it then if you have unchecked the privacy/data collection setting, unchecked the 'Inform me of updates', and deleted the 'emergency' updtater (CCupdate.exe) then there is no reason whatsoever for CCleaner to be phoning home and I have not seen 5.46 do so (yet).

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@Clean MisterB for me, with the whole trust thing blown to pieces and the balls-up of most of the year's releases, I'm not leaving v5.40 until it stops doing what I want and then I just solely use cleanmgr.

I recommend to all CC users to delete the ccupdate file and add firewall rules to block CC.
yep, you hinder auto updates but with Piriform's recent form, that's peanuts compared to what users got with auto updates.

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Much obliged to @nukecad and @mta

A combination of your suggestions sounds like the way to go - i'll report back if I have any new findings. :D

@nukecad I just tried your netstat suggestion -  now I need to do a bit of digging to find out what some of these mysterious  communications are about. I'm pleased to say that CC is NOT amongst them - that whole link contains some very interesting info .:)  Please see my UPDATE below

One question for you both (as you both mention it)

 if you delete the ccupdate file, does that prevent the manual Check for updates button   image.png from working? 

I've always found that even if CCleaner offers an update, whether automatically or after a manual check,one can choose to ignore it.

Clearly, one must be aware aware that manually checking for updates results in a communication with Piriform. I would prefer to retain that facility - to me it's all about retaining control of what my devices do!

One can then peruse Release notes, read here and other forums to make a decision - not that that should be necessary of course :huh:

The problem with using the excellent cleanmgr, (which I use between Windows Feature Updates and Macrium images) is that I don't think it clears browsing history and cookies, for which I've always used CC on a daily basis.

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The manual check for updates button will NOT work if you follow all the advice given.

No big deal in my view as it is simple enough to go to the website to check - PLUS check this forum before updating - in case more "tricks" have been bolted in to the latest update.

On updating you will find that the CCUpdate.exe is again installed - and you should also check your "Smart Clean" and "Privacy" settings again - just in case your settings get overwritten.

Important to note: Spyware has always been part of CCleaner ... so those relying on older versions under the belief that telemetry is NOT being provided to Piriform/Avast are mistaken.

The solutions posted above are relevant to ALL versions of CCleaner [and any other of their products made use of].

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UPDATE to my post above

I've created 2 small batch files, one using @nukecad suggestion to create a text-file list of connections in C:\ (Continuous connection activity.bat) and another to create a snapshot of running connections, also in C:\. These are attached - they need to be run in Administrator mode  - right-click the file and......

image.png.43e7144096f5d3b2eba1bf4f339770ea.png

Continuous connection activity.bat

Connection activity snapshot.bat

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4 hours ago, Clean MisterB said:

....  cleanmgr, (which I use between Windows Feature Updates and Macrium images) is that I don't think it clears browsing history and cookies, for which I've always used CC on a daily basis.

correct, but for me that's OK.
I actually don't want CC to ever update, and if I did, it's a manual download from the website of the portable version.
plus I only run my browsers in private mode so no cleaning on that front when they exit.
and if there was, I'd set their internal options to 'clean on exit' or get an add-on to do it for me.

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10 hours ago, Kernol said:

On updating you will find that the CCUpdate.exe is again installed - and you should also check your "Smart Clean" and "Privacy" settings again - just in case your settings get overwritten.

CCUpdate.exe is supposed to be a stand alone application to allow Piriform to force update your CCleaner in the event of an 'emergency'.

It was introduced following last years malware hack in the installer.
It will reinstall itself everytime you install CCleaner or Update CCleaner.

I have recently discovered that as it installs itself it also changes your firewall rules to allow itself through.

This behaviour is repeatable- remove the emergency updater 'allow' rule from your firewall, then reinstall/update CCleaner and the emergency updater is added to the firewall 'allow' rules again.

Users who are using their firewall to block connections to/from Piriform/Avast might want to take a look at that.
(I'm not sure how it would affect 'Hosts' blocking).

Remember that this is NOT CCleaner itself. (It's the emergency updater and I can understand why it has to do it to work, if you want it to work that is).

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ouch, when a program starts changing your security settings to give itself access to areas you manually blocked it from, what's the word for that sort of program again.....??? :ph34r:

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Am I correct in understanding that 5.46 still phones home even if certain settings are chosen which should not only (a) make it unnecessary but also (b) preclude it from doing so? Am I correct in understanding that 5.46's improvements to the problematic monitoring in 5.45 are, therefore, only half-improvements? I have tried to gather what information I could, from reading threads such as this one, but I'm not yet convinced that I should adopt 5.46 over 5.45. Right now, due to the issues with CCleaner version 5.45, I have retro-graded to 5.32, which I understand to be the last version released by Piriform before Avast took over. I think I'm staying with 5.32 ... or is 5.46 now "safe"?

 

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maybe an official response from higher up will confirm/deny these things.
all us users (just like yourself) can say, based on monitored firewall traffic is, Yes, it still 'phones home'.  (but that was never going to stop, just process was changing)

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2 hours ago, cliftonprince said:

Am I correct in understanding that 5.46 still phones home even if certain settings are chosen which should not only (a) make it unnecessary but also (b) preclude it from doing so? Am I correct in understanding that 5.46's improvements to the problematic monitoring in 5.45 are, therefore, only half-improvements? I have tried to gather what information I could, from reading threads such as this one, but I'm not yet convinced that I should adopt 5.46 over 5.45....

Hi cliftonprince:

If you disable Options | Settings | Inform Me of Updates to CCleaner, Options | Privacy | Help Improve CCleaner by Sending Anonymous Usage Data and Options | Monitoring | Enable Active Monitoring in v5.46 , my understanding is that v5.46 will still be collecting limited data and phoning home - see the table in the new Data Factsheet at https://www.ccleaner.com/about/data-factsheet.  The previous v5.45 was even more intrusive than v5.46 because the CCleaner executable would continue to run after the program interface was closed in v5.45 even if you disabled Active Monitoring and you would have to manually kill the ccleaner.exe (or ccleaner64.exe) process in your Windows Task Manager to stop the collection of "heartbeat" data - see Avast employee Paul Piriform's 27-Jul-2018 post in the thread Piriform Personal Security Concern with CCleaner Latest v. 5.45.6611.

I would also suggest using the portable build of CCleaner that does not require installation on your hard drive.  Just download the zipped file (e.g., ccsetup546.zip) from the builds page at https://www.ccleaner.com/ccleaner/builds and save it to a folder on a removable USB thumb drive (e.g., F:\CCleaner).  Then unzip that file on your USB thumb drive and double-click the correct executable (ccleaner.exe for 32-bit OSs; ccleaner64.exe for 64-bit OSs) to run the program. I've tested with CCleaner Portable v5.46 and I can't see any trace of the Emergency Updater (i.e., no bundled ccupdate.exe and no scheduled tasks associated with CCleaner created in my Windows Task Scheduler) - at least on my 32-bit OS. As a precaution I've blocked all traffic for the CCleaner executable through my firewall, but as you noted in a previous post, that only prevents me from running a check for available program updates on the Avast/Piriform servers.

Quote

...Right now, due to the issues with CCleaner version 5.45, I have retro-graded to 5.32, which I understand to be the last version released by Piriform before Avast took over. I think I'm staying with 5.32 ... or is 5.46 now "safe"?

The v5.32 you're currently using might eventually cause problems because this version has out-of-date digital signatures (e.g., it might be flagged as a possible threat by your antivirus). If you want to minimize the amount of collected data being sent back Avast/Piriform I wouldn't advise rolling back any further than v5.35.6210 released on 20-Sep-2017 since the v5.35 executables are signed with newer digital signatures (i.e., it was released after the bundled Floxif malware of v5.33 and old digital signatures of v5.34 but prior to the Emergency Updater of v5.36).  Just keep in mind these earlier versions of CCleaner were optimized for older versions/builds of your Windows OS and browser and might not work correctly if you use v5.35 to clean the current software installed on your system.
-----------
32-bit Vista Home Premium SP2 * Firefox ESR v52.9.0 * Norton Security Premium v22.15.0.18 * CCleaner Portable 5.35.6210

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7 hours ago, lmacri said:

Just keep in mind these earlier versions of CCleaner were optimized for older versions/builds of your Windows OS and browser and might not work correctly if you use v5.35 to clean the current software installed on your system.

for example, certainly don't run the registry cleaner!!!

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Everyone that's worried about CCUpdate.exe running should know you can create a Policy to block apps from running (have to admit it seems to be much less of a pain to do on old WinXP when compared to Win10) and then the OS itself will block it.

Combine that app block with making some Includes (or a Winapp2.ini entry) in CCleaner which will then remove CCUpdate.exe itself when clicking Run Cleaner, and any registry data or firewall rules for it will be automatically removed for you -- or you can use a batch file (ran with admin privileges) to do it.

Doing the above you wouldn't even have to remember to manually remove it every time you updated CCleaner.

Then again, if you're having to do some rather serious workarounds to give you "peace of mind" using an app then why are you still using the app becomes a question.

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9 hours ago, Andavari said:

Then again, if you're having to do some rather serious workarounds to give you "peace of mind" using an app then why are you still using the app becomes a question.

That has become the main question.

I got to thinking about just why I am using CCleaner, and what does it do for me? The 2 questions can be asked for any cleaning (or other) software.

The first answer came down to - CCleaner was widely recommended and it is convienent to use.
The second was a bit more tricky and I am still analysing that one. I mainly started using it in the first place to clear cookies.

I have already replaced it's cookie clearing functions with a browser addon, and have written a batch file to handle the cleaning of 'supercookies' and some other stuff.
But there is still stuff that CC finds to clean which I need to investigate further. (And decide if it needs to be cleaned at all).
The recent ability to schedule Windows built in Storage Sense may/should take care of Windows logfiles and temporary files.
(And I only see Storage Sense being improved in the next major Win10 update).
Some of CC's internal rules for which files to clean seem very odd, but of course I can only compare what if finds to what it leaves, and I just don't understand the rules yet.

Then of course there is the question of the other tools included in CCleaner, if you use any of them.

Overall I've decided that CCleaner, like any other cleaning software, is just a convienence - particularly convienient for non-techie minded computer users.
It has it's place, but I'm no longer sure that it's my place.
Everything it does can be done using other methods, usually by Windows itself, but may take a bit more knowledge/time. (or may even be faster if you can write a batch/script).
A car is convienent, but you could still get there by train, or bus, or taxi, or walking. And if your car starts acting up then.....

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- I see another reason why a user would want to turn off the "Monitoring" feature. If one's computer is busy with a task that requires a lot of CPU power then every extra (CPU consuming) task (e.g. CC "monitoring" one's HD) can lead to an overall slowdown of one's system.

- I was watching a video and during that process I started CC. And I noticed that the video (player) started to stutter. As soon as I closed down CC and the CC monitoring feature, the stutter (in the video) was gone. Perhaps some other process was also using a lot of CPU but nonetheless, I found the difference to be remarkable. It was simply one task too many for the CPU.

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17 hours ago, Willy2 said:

- I see another reason why a user would want to turn off the "Monitoring" feature. If one's computer is busy with a task that requires a lot of CPU power then every extra (CPU consuming) task (e.g. CC "monitoring" one's HD) can lead to an overall slowdown of one's system.

- I was watching a video and during that process I started CC. And I noticed that the video (player) started to stutter. As soon as I closed down CC and the CC monitoring feature, the stutter (in the video) was gone. Perhaps some other process was also using a lot of CPU but nonetheless, I found the difference to be remarkable. It was simply one task too many for the CPU.

That's a valid use case. The Smart Cleaning feature (to call it by its new name) should have a small footprint most of the time. Periodically, it analyses (the same thing as clicking the 'Analyse' button) to see if you've reached the 'junk threshold' specified in the Smart Cleaning settings.

I'd be curious to know what type of processor you have (advertised speeds, number of cores, system architecture and OS version). The easiest way to gather this info is Run > "DxDiag", and then saving the results as a text file. It would also be helpful to get an idea for what your percentage CPU usage baseline is when you're not running any videos. One other clarification would be if the video is saved with some special codec (meaning smaller filesize but probably bigger CPU load to access & stream it into a playable format), or if it was streamed directly from disc using a more standard format (DVD/Blu-ray).

This information would help us try to assess the impact of the Smart Cleaning background process, particularly the analysis process, on a similar setup. Ultimately it would help us to understand if CCleaner is being a performance hog (which we of course don't want), if it has compatibility issues with specific hardware, or if it was simply was one of many contributing factors to a high baseline CPU load when initialising a CPU-intensive operation.

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- System setup: See my signature !!!!

- I will report back with more info. Your reply gave me some clues

- Suggestions:

1) Make sure that this monitoring feature runs with a (much) lower priority.

2) CC can be set up to run upon start up. But I also know that Windows performs A LOT OF disk I/O in the first say 2 to 5 minutes after the user starts his/her computer. That could interfere with CC. Perhaps Piriform can build in a "start up delay" of anything between say 2, 3, 4 or say 5 minutes ? (I know 2 programs that have such a "start up delay").

 

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2 hours ago, Willy2 said:

- System setup: See my signature !!!!

- I will report back with more info. Your reply gave me some clues

- Suggestions:

1) Make sure that this monitoring feature runs with a (much) lower priority.

2) CC can be set up to run upon start up. But I also know that Windows performs A LOT OF disk I/O in the first say 2 to 5 minutes after the user starts his/her computer. That could interfere with CC. Perhaps Piriform can build in a "start up delay" of anything between say 2, 3, 4 or say 5 minutes ? (I know 2 programs that have such a "start up delay").

 

Interesting thoughts, appreciate the feedback.

The Core i5 520M is quite an old CPU, which makes me lean towards the hypothesis of CCleaner being the straw that broke the camel's back if you have an old system that has accumulated many services and background processes over the years.

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- I know my second hand laptop is far from top notch. But it's good enough for my computer needs.

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4 minutes ago, Willy2 said:

- I know my second hand laptop is far from top notch. But it's good enough for my computer needs.

Yes, not trying to denigrate! Just observing that the age of the machine may be an indicator of the performance profile, both in terms of processing power and applications accumulated.

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- I know, I know. Don't worry:  No offense taken.

- Another suggestion: Perhaps start both the "monitoring feature" and the CC "automatic cleanup" program code upon start up but let them wait for say 2, 4 or 6 minutes before the CC program code allows these features to come to live.

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- I found out what the reason is of the stuttering video. While watching a video I started CC. But when CC starts it reads and processes the file "Winapp.ini". That file is on my system over 700 kb in size (made by "Voldermort").Then it takes CC "more than a few seconds" to process that file. At the same time CPU of CC goes "through the roof" of one of my 4 CPU cores (I have a i5 Intel CPU, see my signature).

- The odd thing is that, with the monitoring feature enabled, there are 2 processes called "Ccleaner.exe" and CPU of BOTH CC processes "go through the roof" (a second CPU core, see Task Manager) together, when "Winapp.ini" is being processed. Seems that the process controlling the monitoring process is somehow intertwined with the other CC process and has more difficulty of doing its job as well.

- When "Winapp.ini" has been processed CPU of both CC processes go down to (almost) zero.

- I also noticed that - from time to time - my webbrowser can push CPU usage to (very) high levels. When these things happen at the same time (browser, starting CC and watching a video) then it's no surprise to see CPU go through  the roof and a video that starts to stutter (more than) a bit.

 

Came up with more suggestions:

1)  Isn't it possible to re-write the program code that processes the file "Winapp.ini" to avoid high CPU readings for the process "CCleaner.exe" ? Doesn't the CC program code remember at what place/point it was when it had checked each line in the file "Winapp.ini" ? Does CC start to read the file  "Winapp.ini" from the beginning of the file, each time it has processed one line in "Winapp.ini" ? If so, then I think that re-writing the program code could (dramatically) reduce the time needed for processing "Winapp.ini".

2) Let the "monitoring" feature remain idle until CC has finished processing the file "Winapp.ini". I think this way CC can avoid high CPU usage of the "monitoring" part of the program code. This could be combined with a delay of say 2 to say 4 minutes before starting the process.

(Although this particular situation was an exception, it did provide some good clues on what the logic is inside the CC program code and could provide the developers of CC some insightful clues on how a future version of the program can  be improved).

(I also attached the file procduced by "Run DxDiag", as requested in a previous post in this thread)

DxDiag.txt

Edited by Nergal
mentioned the unmentionable

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