Why Is CCleaner Asking Me to Pay?

Here's how to get the free version of CCleaner

Yes, CCleaner is absolutely, positively free.

The program is 100 percent freeware, at least as of our latest review. This means that it's free to download and use in its entirety. In other words, the registry scan is free, as is the actual "cleaning" part.

Remember, too, that CCleaner is a lot more than a registry cleaner and so nearly all other aspects of the program are free to use completely as well. You can find a complete list of features at CCleaner's official website.

Image with several FREE stamps
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Is CCleaner Actually Free?

Why, then, is there so much confusion about CCleaner? Why do we get an email every week or so complaining that part or all of the program is asking for payment?

Unfortunately, one or more other not-so-free programs masquerade as CCleaner, oftentimes in large banner advertisements on some websites, tricking at least some people into downloading their program.

After finding lots of "problems" and maybe even infecting your computer with some malware, it demands that you pay-to-fix.

The poor victim then searches for more about CCleaner, finds us, and well, here we are.

To avoid this problem, make sure you're only downloading CCleaner directly from CCleaner's website, which is the "Builds" page. That's also the only page we link to in our review.

See our How to Safely Download & Install Software guide for some general information on how to make sure you get what you expect when you download programs.

Confusion About CCleaner Versions

Beyond that, there's also sometimes some confusion with the editions of CCleaner that Piriform (the company that makes CCleaner) offers.

For home users, Piriform offers CCleaner (the free version we've linked to already), as well as a Professional edition. The Pro version offers some optional extras and does cost money, but it's clearly labeled as such on their site.

Also, if you open the free version of CCleaner, you'll see some options that aren't actually usable unless you pay, but you don't have to if all you want is the registry cleaning functionality. For example, scheduled cleaning is only for Pro users but free users can still see the option in the program; it's just not usable.

Several commercial editions of CCleaner are also offered for business users but are also clearly labeled.

If you're using CCleaner as a registry cleaner, there's no need at all to use anything beyond the free version. There are no bonus registry cleaning features offered in any of the pay-for editions of CCleaner.