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Windows 7: PrivaZer PC cleaner

01 Jan 2014   #1
Callender

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 7601 Multiprocessor Free Service Pack 1
 
 
PrivaZer PC cleaner (updated 04 January 2014)

PrivaZer is a free PC cleaner which cleans your PC and external devices, removes unwanted traces of your activities, and protects your privacy.

Most users would choose Ccleaner as their default go-to cleaning application and personally I use Ccleaner on a regular basis. PrivaZer is designed for users with privacy issues or who have need for a deeper clean.


This tutorial is written for PrivaZer v2.12.0 (Portable) although it should also serve as a guide for the full version. The setup options for the full version of PrivaZer also allow you to create a portable version so installing is not required.

New version available.

What's new in Portable PrivaZer 2.13:


January 3rd, 2014
  • Improved scans for non admin
  • Improved ShellBags scan
  • New feature added:
  • Scan traces in $Logfile
  • Clean traces in $Logfile

ShellBags Scan now improved to only remove obsolete entries


$Logfile cleanup added. Removes traces of file creation, deletion, renaming and residual traces of file names and operations.

Users who are reading this guide and using the latest version of Privazer can ignore the advice given on cleaning Shell Bags further down the page. Using the Shell Bags clean option no longer resets all Shell Bags.

You can read the PrivaZer User Guide to get an idea of how to use the software:

http://privazer.com/PrivaZer-User-Guide.pdf

Note   Note

Important Note:

Be aware that some users have reported unwanted changes made to their systems after scanning and cleaning with PrivaZer and you should continue reading below to avoid problems.


PrivaZer's aim is to clean evidence of your past activities on your PC at home or at work and will clean in-depth unwanted traces of what you've done, watched, downloaded, deleted, etc. and will prevent recovery by anyone who doesn't have very advanced technical knowledge. PrivaZer can also free up space on your hard drive although that is not it's main purpose.

If privacy is your aim and you don't care about potentially unwanted system changes then go ahead and run Privazer with maximum cleaning settings applied. This is not recommended for most users. Make sure that you have a system image backup to fall back on.

If you just wish to free up some space on your hard drive then read on.

Click on the image below to be taken to the PrivaZer download page:



Once downloaded and installed, Launch PrivaZer and you'll see an option to use a file to set up PrivaZer. For the first run you can ignore this option but for subsequent runs you can load the settings that you have saved from previous scan configuration(s). Users can create their own custom scan profiles and run them on demand when needed.

For now just choose "Go To Main Menu" and on the next screen switch from "Basic User" to "Advanced User" (Click to toggle if necessary) then choose "Advanced Options".









Make your choices but note that if you regularly securely wipe free space on your hard drive using other third party software there's no need to choose the secure overwrite methods listed under the "Cleanup" section - it will just slow down the cleanup process.

General Heading:
Make your choices. It's a good idea to choose the Registry Backup option.

Performance: Background Mode is for when you wish to use your computer during cleanup. It's really best to use Boost Mode and leave your machine alone when cleaning up.

Memory, Indexing: Choose Delete Page File at "Next PC Shutdown Only" unless you wish to clear it every shutdown which will increase the time taken for your computer to shut down every time it shuts down.

Disable Hibernation: Choose "Yes" if you never use hibernation. It will free up around 1GB of disk space.
If you make use if hibernation choose "No."

When you're happy with your choices click "OK" and you'll be taken to the screen where you can choose what type of device to scan. Choose "Computer" and if you then click the arrow the next to "Scan in Depth" you will see that further options are available from the drop down list. Let's stick with "Scan in Depth" and click "OK".

Choose the disks that you wish to scan from the drop down list near the top left of the screen. The default setting is Local Disk (C: ) - typically your Windows partition and other existing drives/ partitions can be added from the drop down list.

Select Scans:



In order to get an idea of how to configure PrivaZer to meet your own needs it's recommended to initially check the box for only one scan at a time, hit the scan button, then review the results for that individual scan in the right hand pane when the scan has finished - without actually choosing to go ahead with any cleaning. (Leave the Start Cleaning and Shutdown After Cleaning checkboxes empty).

Now here comes the tricky part.
It's important to review settings for each scan before going any further. Click on each of the scan names to highlight them then in the right hand pane review your options. (Perform this step for every type of scan listed).



The top four scans (The ones with yellow shields and exclamation marks) are safe to leave checked. The "Traces in MFT" scan will remove traces of deleted files from the Master File Table in addition checking "Index attributes" will enable a more thorough deletion of any trace of deleted and overwritten files such as file names and the dates they were created. File names can remain detectable even though the file contents might be unrecoverable and this option will delete all trace.

Internet Explorer: Stick to the recommended pre-selected choices.

Cookies, Flash, HTML5: You can opt to remove them all or keep the ones you need. You can move cookies to the "Keep" list or the "Delete" list by highlighting them and using the left/ right arrows. Alternatively you can let PrivaZer perform a "Smart Selection" of useful cookies to keep.





Tip:
For more information on cookies visit: Cookies - Frequently Asked Questions

Index.dat & WebCache: Stick to the recommended pre-selected choices.

Messengers: It's safe to choose any option here unless there are specific messages that you wish to keep. They can be added to the "Keep" list or the "Delete" list by highlighting them and moving them using the left/ right arrows.

Windows History: You can stick with the default choices with a couple of caveats. Be careful when selecting the options to clean Shell Bags or Start & Jump Lists. You can read more below.

USB History: Check if you wish to remove the history and details of any previously connected USB devices.



Under the Software Use section:


UserAssist (Remove all): You might want to leave this unchecked and use other third party software to remove individual entries. You can use UserAssistView v1.02 from Nir Sofer to achieve this.

FirstFolder: This doesn't seem to apply to Windows 7, just to earlier versions of Windows.

Under the Used Files & Directories section:

ShellBags: Choosing this will remove all trace of deleted folders but it will also reset your view settings and folder template settings for every folder that exists on the drive that you've selected. Most users will want to leave this unchecked and use another program Shell Bag Analyzer and Cleaner also available from PrivaZer to remove individual entries. I understand that this feature will be incorporated into PrivaZer soon.

Update: The Shell Bags cleaner has now been updated in the latest version of PrivaZer and the paragraph above refers to users running PrivaZer v2.12 or earlier versions. The current version (PrivaZer v2.13) only removes obsolete shell bag entries.

Prefetch Window: Leave the default settings checked.

Registry: Leave everything checked but make sure that you have configured the Registry Backup option in PrivaZer. The Registry cleanup is only concerned with issues that affect privacy and is not an aggressive registry cleaner. You can skip this choice if you prefer.

Memory: Leave "Ram" checked and if your aim is privacy also check "Pagefile.sys" and the Pagefile(s) will be cleared on shutdown.

Start & Jump Lists: Do not select for clean up if you make regular use of them. (Unless you are prepared to create fresh lists). These are the lists of recently used software that you see when you click the Start button on the bottom left of your screen. There are options to delete individual jump lists if required. As before - highlight the Start & Jump Lists scan then choose options from the right hand pane.

System: It's safe to leave everything checked unless you think that you might need access to old event logs, memory dumps or thumbnails.

Copy, Burning: and all other types of software scans listed: Removes histories from the selected programs.
IMPORTANT: Before going any further make sure that you have selected the options to create a registry backup and system restore point (if system restore is enabled. If it isn't make a system image backup instead).



ENSURE: That the "start cleaning" and "shutdown after cleaning" boxes are not checked then choose "Scan" to start the scan. The scan will take some time so be patient.if you wish to speed up scans you can opt to choose fewer of the available scans and run them in small groups or even one at a time.

When each stage of the scan completes check the results in the right hand pane and make sure that you're happy with the results before continuing. The first four scans listed (the ones with an exclamation mark on a yellow background) are safe to run and won't have any undesired effects on your system. As for the remainder of the scans review the results and if there's anything that you're unsure about cancel the scan and then exclude those elements from future scans.

Once the scan is complete and you're happy to go ahead and clean, scan again and choose "start cleaning" and optionally "shut down after cleaning" before starting the scan.

Bear in mind that if privacy is your aim, when you next boot into Windows and are happy that there are no problems after the cleanup you should ideally proceed to delete all System Restore Points and any registry backups made by yourself or any other third party software before securely overwriting free space on your Windows partition using your preferred method.




My System SpecsSystem Spec
.
01 Jan 2014   #2
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

Quote:
Be aware that some users have reported unwanted changes made to their systems after scanning and cleaning with PrivaZer and you should continue reading below to avoid problems.


In other words - it is better not to use it. I would suggest to use CCleaner instead. Nobody has ever reported problems with that.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Jan 2014   #3
Callender

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 7601 Multiprocessor Free Service Pack 1
 
 
Ccleaner usage

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by whs View Post
Quote:
Be aware that some users have reported unwanted changes made to their systems after scanning and cleaning with PrivaZer and you should continue reading below to avoid problems.

In other words - it is better not to use it. I would suggest to use CCleaner instead. Nobody has ever reported problems with that.
Hi,

I have to agree with you that Ccleaner is a good choice for most users. I use it every day! It does however seem to have the same issues with shell bags and jump lists for the unwary user. (Bleachbit too). In my opinion PrivaZer is good for a deep clean only if and when it's needed.

Anyway the purpose of the tutorial is to make users aware of the pitfalls as clearly some members have used PrivaZer without really getting to grips with the settings.

The first choice for a general cleanup has still surely got to be Ccleaner!

Best,

Chris.


Attached Thumbnails
PrivaZer PC cleaner-2014-01-01-21_51_46-piriform-ccleaner.jpg  
Attached Images
PrivaZer PC cleaner-2014-01-01-21_49_48-bleachbit.jpg 
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

01 Jan 2014   #4
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

Fair comment and good advice.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Jan 2014   #5
OvenMaster

Win7 Pro 32bit; Zorin OS 9 Core (in VM)
 
 

I have used PrivaZer for about six months now and, conservatively used, wipes stuff that CCleaner and BleachBit leave behind. I'm very satisfied with what it does.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Jan 2014   #6
Callender

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 7601 Multiprocessor Free Service Pack 1
 
 

New version available.

What's new in Portable PrivaZer 2.13:

January 3rd, 2014
  • Improved scans for non admin
  • Improved ShellBags scan
  • New feature added:
  • Scan traces in $Logfile
  • Clean traces in $Logfile

ShellBags Scan now improved to only remove obsolete entries


$Logfile cleanup added. Removes traces of file creation, deletion, renaming and residual traces of file names and operations.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
Reply

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