Automating More of Your Public Access Computer Maintenance

Welcome to another installment in my ongoing series presenting ways to keep your Public Access Computers running well and in a fashion that better serves your patrons.


Today I want to walk you through configuring CCleaner to automatically clean up your temporary files (you may remember CCleaner from our Spring Cleaning installment, where we used it for registry cleanup). Using CCleaner in the fashion prescribed below, you’ll remove worthless clutter from your hard drive (preserving storage space and increasing operational efficiency) while helping protect your patrons’ privacy by ensuring temporary internet files, recent document lists, and jump lists get routinely scrubbed. Depending on how you have your PACs setup, you may also want to use it to remove desktop shortcuts.

Before we get started, make sure you’re signed in under the Guest account. This is important since CCleaner’s settings are user-dependent.

Download CCleaner if you haven’t already: The one you want is the CCleaner Installer build.

  1. Once the download has completed (should only be a few seconds), run the installer. If you’re logged into the Guest account, you will need to provide an Administrator password to do the install.
  2. On the Setup screen, click Next.
  3. On the Install Options screen, deselect Add Desktop Shortcut, Add Start Menu Shortcuts, and Automatically check for updates to CCleaner. Click Advanced. CCInstallOptionsNote: I normally would never advocate disabling checking for updates, but the core functionality of the program is solid as is, and it won’t be performing any operation over an internet connection, so security concerns are minimal. Additionally, our goal is to run it silently and update prompts would just be in the way.
  4. On the Choose Users screen, select the Install for anyone using this computer radio button and click Next.
  5. Choose Install Location–unless you have a strong preference otherwise, leave the Destination Folder as is and click Next.
  6. Click Next.
  7. Uncheck View Release notes and click Finish. This will open up the main CCleaner interface so we can configure and save our settings.
  8. You can leave checked everything that’s checked by default. Additionally, make sure that the following are checked under the Windows tab:

    Select: Temporary Internet Files, History, Cookies, Recently Typed URLs, Index.dat files, Last Download Location, Autocomplete Form History, Saved Passwords, Recent Documents, Run (in Start Menu), Other Explorer MRUs, Taskbar Jump Lists, Empty Recycle Bin, Temporary Files, Clipboard, and Start Menu Shortcuts.

    If you would like desktop shortcuts to be purged, check that as well.

  9. Under the Applications tab, check the following for Firefox and Google Chrome (if they’re installed):

    Select Internet Cache, Internet History, Cookies, Download History, Session, Site Preferences, Saved Form Information, and Saved Passwords for Firefox and/or Chrome (whichever you have installed).

    Select Internet Cache, Internet History, Cookies, Download History, Session, Site Preferences, Saved Form Information, and Saved Passwords for Firefox and/or Chrome (whichever you have installed).

  10. Next, we want to go to Options. Once you’ve clicked on Options, click on Settings. Here you just want to check Run CCleaner when the computer starts.
  11. Now that you’ve configured it, your settings will be automatically saved if you close CCleaner (clicking the X) or if you run it (clicking Run Cleaner).

That’s it! You’re set. Now whenever your computer is started up and the Guest account signed into, CCleaner will wipe all designated temporary files. Huzzah!

Note: this is intended for small public libraries only. If you have more than a few PACs, you should instead opt for a licensed version of CCleaner.


3 responses to “Automating More of Your Public Access Computer Maintenance

  1. Pingback: Promising Practices for Public Access Computers, Part 3 | Field Notes

  2. Pingback: Increasing Security on Public Access Computers with EMET | Field Notes

  3. Pingback: Privacy Primer for Public Access Computers | Field Notes

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