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Get Your E-Spring Cleaning Done With OnyX and CCleaner

We've got a double dose of Switched Downloads for you. Normally we try to cover cross platform apps so everyone can get in on the fun, but with the category of app we're covering today, that just isn't an option. CCleaner and OnyX are system cleaning and optimization tools for Windows and Mac respectively. We searched for a comparable product for Linux, but the closest we could find is the unreliable (and potentially dangerous) System Janitor built into Ubuntu.

PC: CCleaner

What it is:

CCleaner, which is generally understood to stand for 'Crap Cleaner,' removes all sorts of data that might gunk up your system. The program clears your browser cache, empties your recycling bin and clipboard, deletes temporary files, and straightens the disaster that is the Windows registry. Not only does this clear up hard disk space and leave less information lying around for cyber-criminals to harvest, but it can actually make your computer run a bit faster.

What we like:

CCleaner does exactly what it says with little fuss. The app is reasonably lightweight and intuitive, and is quite effective at clearing out digital refuse. CCleaner can clear cache history and other temporary data for all the major browsers -- Firefox, Chrome, IE, Opera and Safari. It can even uninstall applications, leaving behind fewer setup or configuration files than the in-built Windows tool. The app is the most effective registry cleaner we've ever seen -- though, that's not saying too much.

What we don't like:

The registry cleaner still isn't perfect. While we've yet to see it unintentionally take out a PC (as its competitors have been known to do when tinkering with the registry), you will have to run it three or four times to locate and fix all of the problems. We'd also like to see CCleaner locate residual files from apps that have already been uninstalled.

Bottom line:

CCleaner is an essential tool for maintaining a Windows PC -- go download it now.

Mac: OnyX

What it is:

OnyX is a free system-maintenance and customization app for Mac OS X. Just like Windows machines, Macs are susceptible to computer gunk (e.g., files from unused programs, caches, etc.) that take up space and slow down your computer. Like most system maintenance utilities, OnyX simply provides an easy-to-use graphical interface for common Terminal commands. As MacWorld cautions, though, many of these commands can delete important underlying system and preference files, so proceed with caution.

What we like:



Download CCleaner here.


Download Onyx here.
A free app, OnyX doesn't skimp on any features. OnyX determines your hard drive's health, cleans out preferences (as well as browser history, downloads, cache, and even cookies), and gives you complete control over each action. You can elect to do these one at a time, or, via the automation tab, all at once.

Aside from giving you access to those maintenance and cleaning tools, OnyX also opens up all sorts of interesting OS X preferences for the tinkerers. You can rearrange the location and number of arrows in the scroll bar, modify the appearance of the dock, and even animate your desktop background.

What we don't like:

OnyX may have been one of our first installations on every computer we've used since the early '00s, but it's winning no awards in the looks department. Most of the app's functionality is distributed among a mix of tabs and radio buttons haphazardly organized under eight primary tabs.

Another small annoyance is OnyX's multiple versions. There's a separate app for every release of OS X since 2002's 10.2 "Jaguar," so be careful to download the correct app for the system you're running.

Bottom line:

OnyX is a must download if you're in need of a powerful, no-nonsense maintenance utility.

Tags: ccleaner, features, onyx, os x, OsX, registry, switcheddownload, top, windows