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  • Freeware Spotlight — ccPortable

    Posted on Tracey Capen Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Home Forums AskWoody blog Freeware Spotlight — ccPortable

    This topic contains 31 replies, has 13 voices, and was last updated by

     rc primak 1 month ago.

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    • #1846365 Reply

      Tracey Capen
      AskWoody MVP

      Sometimes, great software can fall out of grace with its users, often due to bad decisions (or perceived bad decisions) by its authors. A classic exam
      [See the full post at: Freeware Spotlight — ccPortable]

      2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #1846413 Reply

      daraghy
      AskWoody Plus

      How does the use of ccPortable address the issues of data user collection and bundling that tainted cCleaner to begin with for many of us?

      1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #1846620 Reply

        TweakHound
        AskWoody Lounger
        • #1846647 Reply

          satrow
          AskWoody MVP

          Then work through the Settings/Privacy options to reduce/disable data collection, unnecessary auto-running and Scheduled Tasks, etc., just as you should with all software – though if you’re really concerned about privacy/data leaks then maybe a 3rd-party firewall that works with the Windows one, and/or a good HIPS, should be installed before loading up with ‘utility’ software.

          2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #1846960 Reply

        anonymous

        @ daraghy: “How does the use of ccPortable address the issues of data user collection and bundling that tainted cCleaner to begin with for many of us?”

        1) ccPortable PAF does NOT prevent user data mining by the recent versions of CCleaner, because the PAF wrapper does not modify the binaries obtained from source. The wrapper happens to extract the binaries contained in the “Standard” installer build from the developer.

        Note:- For each version, identical CCleaner.exe & CCleaner64.exe binaries are used for the 3 respective builds from the developer: “Standard” (PUP-bundled) installer, “Slim” (no PUPs) installer, as well as the Portable ZIP archive.

        As such, if CCleaner binaries were to be again tainted at source — ala the Floxif/Nyetya backdoor trojan supply-chain hack (which Piriform, AVAST & practically all malware scanners failed to detect) — ccPortable PAF would be equally compromised as well.

        2) As for data mining & user privacy issues, CCleaner from v5.41.6446 (released: 13 Mar 2018) onwards is known to connect to various URLs during its runtime, such as:

        • ipm-provider.ff.avast.com
        • ip-info.ff.avast.com
        • shepherd.sb.avast.com
        • analytics.ff.avast.com
        • google-analytics.com

        CCleaner sends info such as the user’s IP address, ISP name, GPS coordinates, city/country, timezone, CCleaner launch timestamps, views, button clicks, types of junk cleaned from system, other running apps when CCleaner is is use, etc.

        You can block the above web domains using the Windows HOSTS file or a firewall, but this is akin to a whack-a-mole exercise, since Piriform/AVAST can change the URLs at will.

        Refs:
        https://forum.piriform.com/topic/52838-more-tracking-and-data-gathering
        https://www.ccleaner.com/about/data-factsheet

        Also from v5.41.6446 (13 Mar 2018) onwards, CCleaner upon every launch auto adds (& re-adds) additional “whitelisted” cookies to keep:

        • ipm-provider.ff.avast.com
        • avast.com

        3) Furthermore, users have complained about sections of “experimental” features mysteriously appearing, disappearing & re-appearing in CCleaner’s GUI between launches, even though they have not updated CCleaner, & the file hashes of the main binaries (CCleaner.exe, CCleaner64.exe) remain unchanged.

        So far, the developers have kept mum on how the above hiding & un-hiding act is effected (ie. non-transparently testing out CCleaner on end-users). But their continuous silence on this issue — whilst actively responding to other feedback at the same Piriform forum — implies that the above-mentioned behaviour is not a bug but an embedded feature.

        2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #1847778 Reply

        rc primak
        AskWoody_MVP

        If it definitively prevents the drive-by installation of Avast Free Antivirus, this alone would make me think seriously about using ccPortable instead of their installed version. Removing that Avast program every month involves going into Windows 10 Safe Mode and running a special Avast Removal Tool. Not worth it for a little temp files cleanup and unnecessary Registry entries removals.

        I almost never use the other CCleaner features. Other tools, like Geek Uninstaller can handle almost all program removals, but the CCleaner ability to remove even the baked-in Windows Store Apps is a reason to maybe keep CC around. Maybe.

        For just the temp files removals, consider Glary Utilities as an alternative. Although, Glary also is loaded with spyware, and it has a Windows Startup item which is difficult to manage, just like CCleaner.

        Both of these products are doing little more than the built-in Windows Storage Sense (formerly known as Disk Cleanup) can do, without additional privacy and security risks.

        -- rc primak

        • This reply was modified 1 month ago by
           rc primak.
        • This reply was modified 1 month ago by
           rc primak.
    • #1846437 Reply

      anonymous

      I just downloaded the file from the link provided on Old Geeks and VirustTotal.com says it has Trojan.Shelma! in the file.  Daniel

      • #1847782 Reply

        rc primak
        AskWoody_MVP

        Was that just a single detection, or did more than a few engines at VirusTotal agree that there is a Trojan in there?

        -- rc primak

    • #1846459 Reply

      OlderGeeks.com
      AskWoody Lounger

      We have tested the file and Yandex is the only scanner that detects this. As those of you who use VirusTotal on a regular basis, as we do, you are probably familiar with this type of result from a few of the scanners on VirusTotal (Not naming any names. 😉 ). The machine we tested the program on uses Vipre Advanced Security, Windows Defender and Malwarebytes Premium. No issues. We also ran it on another computer to make screenshots for the article. This machine has Avast Pro, Windows Defender and Malwarebytes Premium. Still no issues.

      -Randy

      OlderGeeks.com

      OlderGeeks.com - No ads, no crapware, no b.s.

      3 users thanked author for this post.
    • #1846632 Reply

      Alex5723
      AskWoody Plus

      ccPortable is no different from Piriform’s own CCleaner Portable except for PortableApps wrapper.

      https://www.ccleaner.com/ccleaner/builds

      1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #1846642 Reply

        OlderGeeks.com
        AskWoody Lounger

        The Piriform (aka Avast) version has never been truly portable. It’s the ability to write to the system which has allowed them to bundle adware and such. The PortableApps wrapper prevents this and makes it totally portable. So it is different.

        -Randy

        OlderGeeks.com

        OlderGeeks.com - No ads, no crapware, no b.s.

        2 users thanked author for this post.
        • #1846932 Reply

          anonymous
          • @ OlderGeeks.com: “The Piriform (aka Avast) version has never been truly portable. It’s the ability to write to the system which has allowed them to bundle adware and such.”

          And also:

          @ OlderGeeks.com: “The portable version on Piriform is not truly portable. This means it does some writing to the system that could be used for future (who knows) use. The ccPortable program uses PortableApps’ wrapper to keep it totally portable and contained.”

          The above is inaccurate. The official Piriform (whether AVAST-owned or not) CCleaner portable build (“no installer” ZIP archive):

          1. Is NOT bundled with anything — not even the so-called “emergency updater” CCUpdate.exe (which is otherwise bundled with both the “Standard” & “Slim” installer builds). CCUpdate.exe allows Piriform to silently push new versions (& other program features) to user’s PC, even when user does not actively seek them out;
          2. Writes all user settings to “ccleaner.ini” in its own folder, & does NOT write user settings or junk files either to the filesystem or the registry;
          3. Writes standard tracing registry subkeys (to HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Tracing\CCleaner), but this does not affect portability. This registry branch merely indicates that the software involved can be traced via their error logs & debugged if necessary, & also contains tracing subkeys from dozens of other software.

          The PortableApps PAF setup (ccPortable) avoids Piriform’s bundled PUPs — NOT by preventing CCleaner from”[writing] to the system“, but by bypassing the installation process, which (unless user opts out of certain choices) would call additional DLL files stored in a number of “$_1xx_” folders within the “Standard” installer file, which in turn triggers the download & installation of PUPs.

          In fact, what the PortableApps wrapper does is:

          1. Download the official “Standard” PUP-bundled installer build — see the PAF’s “\App\AppInfo\installer.ini file” which states: “DownloadURL=https://download.ccleaner.com/ccsetup[VersNo].exe”. (In contrast, the download URL for the “Slim” (no PUPs) installer build is: https://download.ccleaner.com/slim/ccsetup%5BVersNo%5D_slim.exe )
          2. Extract ONLY the main binaries (CCleaner.exe & CCleaner64.exe) plus the “Lang” (language localization) folder from the “Standard” installer.
          3. Create a “portable.dat” file in the binaries folder.

          The presence of the “portable.dat” file tells CCleaner to write user settings to “ccleaner.ini” in the binaries’ folder — instead of writing the settings to the registry (HKCU\Software\Piriform\CCleaner). The “portable.dat” file comes by default in the official CCleaner portable ZIP package.

          After exiting CCleaner, all the PAF wrapper does is to move the user settings file (ccleaner.ini) from the CCleaner binaries’ folder out to a separate “Data” subfolder within the PAF’s working folder, & then restore it to the binaries folder when CCleaner is being run — as per the instructions in the PAF’s “\App\AppInfo\Launcher\App\AppInfo\Launcher\ccPortable.ini” file :

          [FilesMove] / [FileWrite]
          ccleaner.ini=%PAL:AppDir%\CCleaner

          In other words, the ccPortable PAF simply moves “ccleaner.ini” between 2 subfolders within the PAF folder. A disadvantage of this is that under certain use scenarios, keeping “cleaner.ini” within the binaries folder leads to less lag in CCleaner, as opposed to shifting it from place to place like what the PAF does.

          In any case, whether “ccleaner.ini” is stored in the binaries folder (as in official CCleaner portable), or moved to/from an external “Data” folder (as in ccPortable PAF) has no impact on the application’s portability.

          Some background as to why PortableApps created a PAF wrapper (for the official “Standard” bundled installer build) … In the last quarter of 2017, Piriform suddenly implemented a delayed-release schedule for the Portable & “Slim” installer builds, ie. releasing these several days after the “Standard” (PUP-bundled) installer build.

          This went on for 2 or 3 version releases, before Piriform reverted to its previous release policy in early 2018, whereby the Portable & “Slim” installer builds are once again released at the same time as the “Standard” installer builds.

          As such, due to the aforementioned, there is now NO compelling reason to use PortableApps’ ccPortable PAF wrapper, other than perhaps for the following reasons:

          1. You seriously have no idea whether to run the 32-bit or 64-bit binary — the PAF wrapper auto launches the appropriate binary based on the installed WinOS’s bitness;
          2. You prefer to wait several days (sometimes weeks) for PortableApps to release a new ccPortable version — instead of grabbing the official Portable from Piriform as soon as it is released;
          3. You have a special fetish of wanting “ccleaner.ini” to be repeatedly moved in & out of a separate “Data” folder;
          4. You prefer to have an additional 3rd-party process (the PAF’s ccPortable.exe process) running alongside the official CCleaner.exe process during CCleaner’s runtime, because you have no idea what to do with all that extra CPU & RAM idling in your superhero-specs PC;
          5. You enjoy clicking around the PortableApps menu launcher (an optional separate download) — instead of using a pinned CCleaner shortcut, or navigating to CCleaner’s folder.

          CCleaner Official Download Location:  https://www.ccleaner.com/ccleaner/builds

          • If you want a Portable build (which writes user settings to its own folder), just download the official ZIP archive.
          • If you want an Installer build (which writes user settings to the registry) w/o any bundled PUPs, download the official “Slim” installer. After installation, if you don’t want silent forced version &/or feature updates from Piriform, delete “CCUpdate.exe” from CCleaner’s application folder. You have to do this with every new version you install. And Piriform may also reinstate the said EXE file during the interim between version updates.

          Also note that the PortableApps ccPortable launcher file in its current form does NOT contain any instructions to remove any registry entries left behind by CCleaner.

          For instance, if you want the PAF launcher to remove the standard tracing registry keys upon exiting CCleaner, you have to edit “\App\AppInfo\Launcher\App\AppInfo\Launcher\ccPortable.ini” to add the following lines:

          [Activate]
          Registry=true

          [RegistryCleanupForce]
          1=HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Tracing\CCleaner64_RASAPI32
          2=HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Tracing\CCleaner64_RASMANCS
          3=HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Tracing\CCleaner_RASAPI32
          4=HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Tracing\CCleaner_RASMANCS

          Items 1 & 2 are created by the 64-bit CCleaner, while keys 3 & 4 are created by the 32-bit CCleaner. Depending on your system & which CCleaner binary is executed, you may get one or both sets of registry subkeys. It’s okay to indicate all of them, because the PAF launcher will ignore non-existent subkeys.

          On the other hand, if you are using the official CCleaner Portable instead, you can create a “CCleaner-CleanRegistry.reg” file with the following contents, & place it in CCleaner’s working folder.

          Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

          [-HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Tracing\CCleaner64_RASAPI32]
          [-HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Tracing\CCleaner64_RASMANCS]
          [-HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWARE\Microsoft\Tracing\CCleaner_RASAPI32]
          [-HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWARE\Microsoft\Tracing\CCleaner_RASMANCS]

          After exiting CCleaner, click to run the REG file in order to remove the aforementioned tracing subkeys from the registry.

          1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #1846644 Reply

      rhp52
      AskWoody Lounger

      I’m not entirely clear what this article is saying. If you download from Piriform are you getting infected software or not? And why does downloading it from another source make it better? If it’s infected I would think it should be avoided.  Problem for me is I’ve had cc on my computer for years and although i run anti-virus daily and malwarebytes, and windows defender, I’ve never encountered a piece of malware. Now I’m wondering if I’ve got a trojan.

      • #1846664 Reply

        OlderGeeks.com
        AskWoody Lounger

        The portable version on Piriform is not truly portable. This means it does some writing to the system that could be used for future (who knows) use. The ccPortable program uses PortableApps’ wrapper to keep it totally portable and contained. I would hop over to OlderGeeks.com and download and run Malwarebytes Anti-Malware from the top 10 list. Never hurts to be sure. -Deanna

        OlderGeeks.com - No ads, no crapware, no b.s.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #1846682 Reply

          Microfix
          Da Boss

          The older Piriform CCleaners (pre-cra*avast) can run without a portable apps wrapper as they came with a portable.bat file. Used in conjunction with an updated winapp2.ini file is still a good system junk cleaner. The winapp2.ini file can also be used with bleachbit which can delve deeper into releasing accumulated files.
          The ability to edit the winapp2.ini file to suit individual system needs is a winner for me.

          TIP: Removal of excess program attributes in the winapp2.ini file which are not likely to be installed also reduces the time CCleaner takes to do it’s work.

          ********** Win7 x64/x86 | Win8.1 x64 | Linux Hybrids x64 **********

          1 user thanked author for this post.
          • #1846861 Reply

            anonymous

            @ Microfix: “The older Piriform CCleaners (pre-cra*avast) can run without a portable apps wrapper as they came with a portable.bat file.”

            The official CCleaner portable builds have always come with a “portable.dat” file in the ZIP package by default — pre & post-AVAST acquisition. It’s a DAT binary file, not a BAT (batch) file.

            To verify, I just download the portable ZIP file for the latest-available v5.58.7209 (18.57 MB zip, 06 Jun 2019), & it still contains the “portable.dat” file.

            It’s the “Standard” & “Slim” installer builds that have always lacked the “portable.dat’ file.

            1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #1846680 Reply

      Alex5723
      AskWoody Plus

      It’s the ability to write to the system

      Never saw any bundled apps with the portable version and no system writes.

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #1846725 Reply

      rhp52
      AskWoody Lounger

      Is CCleaner safe to use now or is it still infected?

      • #1846726 Reply

        Microfix
        Da Boss

        Depends on your definition of ‘safe’ There shouldn’t be any infections, that was just one instance just prior to the avast takeover from Piriform.
        I’ve stuck with an older pre-avast version with a firewall ruleset on it and various settings switched off.
        On a recent visit to a newer version, I have noticed the app has more than doubled in size and to me that’s not just the application itself..Bloatware?

        ********** Win7 x64/x86 | Win8.1 x64 | Linux Hybrids x64 **********

        1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #1846743 Reply

      rhp52
      AskWoody Lounger

      First, thanks for responding. I’ve noticed the size difference too, but really I don’t use it often at all. Was just concerned about malware having read that article. It would’ve been nice if the author gave a definitive indication that the software was safe to use. I was left with the impression that versions downloaded from the software site were not as good as downloaded from older geeks, etc.

      Maybe it’s just me.

      • #1846971 Reply

        anonymous

        @ rhp52: “I’ve noticed the size difference too”

        CCleaner started putting on a lot of weight non-stop from v5.41.6446 (Mar 2018) onwards. This was when the dumbed-down “Cleaning Summary”, “product tips”, annoying promotions/sales nagware (system tray notifications), etc. was introduced to CCleaner’s GUI.

        Below are the sizes of the portable ZIP for some recent versions:

        • v5.40.6411 (13 Feb 2018): 9.26 MB  <= Last not-so-fat version
        • v5.41.6446 (13 Mar 2018): 14.20 MB
        • v5.46.6652 (30 Aug 2018): 15.02 MB
        • v5.51.6939 (13 Dec 2018): 16.23 MB
        • v5.54.7088 (04 Mar 2019): 18.31 MB
        • v5.57.7182 (14 May 2019): 18.48 MB
        • v5.58.7209 (06 Jun 2019): 18.57 MB

        In v5.57.7182 (14 May 2019), Piriform added a “Software Updater” menu sub-section, which would proceed to auto scan the system for installed software (& possibly freeze the PC due to high CPU usage during the scan). But when Free users attempt to update any alleged outdated software, CCleaner would display a popup announcing that the software-updating function itself is only available for Pro users.

         

        “I was left with the impression that versions downloaded from the software site were not as good as downloaded from older geeks, etc.”

        The ccPortable PAF wrapper distributed at the OlderGeeks website is obtained from the PortableApps site, which is the creator of the ccPortable PAF wrapper.

        And PortableApps in turn obtained the CCleaner source files from the official Piriform “Standard” (PUP-bundled) installer, & extracted the essential binaries to be enveloped within its ccPortable PAF wrapper.

        Analogy …

        As for potential malware infection, if the well (the source binaries) happens to be infected, everything downstream is identically infected. The third-party PAF wrapper-launcher will not magically disinfect the source binaries. See my earlier comment for more info.

        2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #1846806 Reply

      anonymous

      CCleaner does actually have a proper official portable version. There used to a be a link at the bottom of the download page called “Builds” which would bring you to another page to download the portable version and the slim version which is a version without the bundled junkware. But that link is conveniently gone. The builds page is still there, but you gotta know it’s there. But honestly CCleaner isn’t really useful as it once was. Windows 10 has gotten much better at cleaning up after itself. I really only use CCleaner now after doing a clean install of Windows. There’s a couple pre-installed Windows 10 apps which I use CCleaner to remove that aren’t covered by a Powershell script which you can find of Github. Just search “Windows 10 debloater”. Then after Windows 10 is all updated and debloated I run CCleaner once just to clear out any leftover junk, and then just let Windows 10 take care of it from there. But beyond that it’s kind of redundant. And after Avast bought out Piriform, it’s started doing a lot of questionable things, like it might install Avast AV, or collect a bunch of data. Some people might used the hijacked download as a point against CCleaner, but really that can happen to any software.

       

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #1846973 Reply

      Carl D
      AskWoody Lounger

      My procedure for installing/updating CCleaner these days is as follows:

      1. Disconnect PC from the Internet (after downloading the latest CCleaner version if needed).
      2. Install/update CCleaner (making sure you untick the Google Chrome installer and any other optional settings).
      3. After installing CCleaner change all of the privacy/update, etc. settings where needed and disable and remove the 2 scheduled tasks CCleaner creates.
      4. Delete the CCleaner Updater application from Program Files>CCleaner.
      5. Use OneClick Firewall to prevent the (Program Files) CCleaner and CCleaner64 applications from accessing the Internet. This also stops nonsense like the Black Friday ‘flyout’ ads from last November appearing.
      6. Reconnect to the Internet.

      Never have a problem/annoyance with CCleaner using this procedure.

      • #1846987 Reply

        anonymous

        @ Carl D: “2. Install/update CCleaner (making sure you untick the Google Chrome installer and any other optional settings).”

        Instead of having to untick PUP offers for every new version update, why not use the “Slim” Installer, or the no-install Portable ZIP ?

        https://www.ccleaner.com/ccleaner/builds
        Screenshot indicating the basic differences in the 3 available builds.

        “4. Delete the CCleaner Updater application from Program Files>CCleaner.”

        If you don’t want surprises, it’s better to block CCUpdate.exe (do not connect online, do not run) too as a precautionary measure. Even when deleted from the application folder, Piriform may possibly reinstate the EXE file for you (perhaps due to some internal integrity check when the installed build is run).

        Meanwhile, the Portable build doesn’t come with CCUpdate.exe.

        2 users thanked author for this post.
        • #1847129 Reply

          Carl D
          AskWoody Lounger

          Thanks, anonymous.

          The only time I’ve seen CCUpdate.exe return (so far) is when I’ve updated CCleaner but I do keep an eye on it from time to time to make sure it hasn’t reappeared between updates.

    • #1847121 Reply

      anonymous

      ? says:

      on win7 pro i use CC portable v5.40.6411 offline once a month after patching along with Disk Cleanup, Defraggler and PrivaZer. i also have CC portable v4.02.4115 to remove the delayed phone home MSE reports. Avast CC portable v5.44.6575 just sits in the toolbox collecting dust.

    • #1848166 Reply

      tristram
      AskWoody Plus

      I downloaded  ccPortable_5.58_online.paf.exe and executed it, choosing my flash drive as a location.  I got a message that the install completed and I put a check mark in the run it now box.  When I closed the install screen, ccPortable apparently started, since I got the UAC query to which  I said Yes.  I immediately got the message, “Another instance of ccPortable is already active, please close .  .  .  ”  I brought up Task Manager and read thru everything running, but no where did I see an App or process for ccPortable.  I rebooted the PC, then attempted to run ccPortable.exe from my flash drive — same problem “another instance of ccPortable is already running.

      Did I download the wrong executable?  Do I need to install a Portable Application front end first?  Anyone else have this problem?  I am running Windows 10 Home with all May updates applied.  Thanks for any help you can give.

      Tristram

      • #1848372 Reply

        Paul T
        AskWoody MVP

        Maybe you have another version already installed?
        Personally I wouldn’t use CC, it offers nothing that Windows doesn’t already provide at the cost of trying to keep the foistware off your machine.

        cheers, Paul

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #1850302 Reply

        rc primak
        AskWoody_MVP

        If you ever had the installed version of CCleaner on your PC, it leaves behind a Startup item with a Registry Key. Geek Uninstaller should remove the whole mess, if you reinstall the installed version, then run Geek Uninstaller to fully remove it. That should relieve the issue if this was the cause.

        Geek Uninstaller (Freeware) (Unless you want to run it as a Portable App. Then it costs about $25.00 USD):

        https://geekuninstaller.com/

        -- rc primak

        • This reply was modified 1 month ago by
           rc primak.

    Please follow the -Lounge Rules- no personal attacks, no swearing, and politics/religion are relegated to the Rants forum.

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