How To Auto-Clean Windows Vista With CCleaner

If you’re not familiar with everyone’s favourite system cleaner, CCleaner, it’s a freeware system optimization, privacy and cleaning tool. This application does a very nice job at cleaning up after you, assuming that you actually remember to run it. In today’s fast-paced world, many of us don’t have the time or capacity it takes to remember all of the little things that have to get done. System maintenance is no exception.

In this tutorial, I’m going to walk you through setting up CCleaner to automatically run on a schedule in Windows Vista so that you can simply set it and forget it.

Configure Your Options

Making sure that you have set the correct options inside of CCleaner is very important if you plan to automate it. For example, what if you decide to run it every night and you have it set to clean out your recent documents or cookies. That could become very frustrating in a very short time.

Start by opening CCleaner and selecting the options you want in the Windows Cleaner section that opens by default. I can’t tell you what settings to use because everyone will have different needs. All I can tell you is that you need to think about each option carefully and consider that possible outcomes.

automate ccleaner

The next piece that you’ll want to look at is the Advanced Options. Click on the Options button in the lower left corner of the window, then click Advanced. Make sure that Save all settings to INI file is checked.

automate ccleaner advanced options

Create the Scheduled Task

Open up the Start menu in Windows, then go to All Programs –> Accessories –> System Tools –> Task Scheduler. If Windows prompts you to tell you that it needs your permission to continue, simply click the Continue button.

Once the task schedule window is open, click on Create Basic Task. A new wizard will open to help you through the process. Give your task a meaningful name and description. I chose “System Cleanup” for the name and “This task launches CCleaner to perform a system cleanup on a regular basis.” Click Next.

Task Scheduler
Task Scheduler Create Basic Task
Task Scheduler Wizard

The Task Trigger window is where you determine what causes the task to run. In our case, we want a time period to be the trigger. I personally find weekly to be sufficient, but you can choose daily or monthly depending on your individual needs. After you select your trigger, click Next.

Task Scheduler Wizard

Now the scheduler needs you to get a little more granular by selecting the day of the week and the time that the task will run. This choice is very important. For example, if you turn your PC off at night, then you don’t want to run the task in the middle of the night. You also don’t want the task to run when you are likely to be in the middle of using the computer. Once you decide on the finer details, click Next.

Task Scheduler Wizard

Now it’s time to tell the scheduler just exactly what you want it to do. It defaults to Start a program, so just click Next. Click the Browse button and locate the CCleaner.exe program file. The default location is:

C:\Program Files\CCleaner\CCleaner.exe

In the Add arguments section, add the /AUTO switch. This tells CCleaner to run automatically without waiting for user input. Click Next to get to the Summary screen. Check the box next to Open the Properties Dialog for this task when I click Finish and click the Finish button.

Task Scheduler Wizard
Task Scheduler Wizard

In the Properties window, check the box next to Run with the highest privileges. This is required so that the task can run without prompting you for administrator privileges. Next click on the Conditions tab and check the box next to Wake the computer to run this task. This will bring your computer out of sleep mode in the event that the power saver settings have put it to sleep. Click Ok to finish the process.

Task Scheduler Properties

You can try out the task to make sure everything was configured properly by right-clicking on your new task and selecting Run.

If everything is ok, you should see the CCleaner icon appear in your system tray.

You can get more info about CCleaner from the CCleaner website, or from our handy walkthrough.


Norm is a a Canadian IT professional with 12 years of experience under his belt as a Technology Architect, Microsoft Certified Application Developer and as an Analyst. He has written numerous articles for multiple technology blogs, in addition to his own blog

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