BleachBit: Cross-Platform Utility To Clean Up Linux, Windows System

BleachBit is an open source cross-platform system clean-up and privacy application for Windows and Linux operating system. Windows users do have the option of CCleaner, which recently got updated to support Internet Explorer 9 and Firefox 4. But what about Linux users who need to clean their Linux machine? Well, that’s where BleachBit comes in to fill the void. And the good thing about it is, it’s also available for Windows users alike.

BleachBit has added several new features to its latest version that make it an even better utility for removing unneeded/unnecessary files from your computer. On Linux systems, BleachBit can now remove swap files (in addition to swap devices). The Windows version has added the option to remove Windows Update uninstaller including hot fixes and Internet Explorer patches. It’s well worth checking out the full list of features.

Latest features introduced are as follows:

  • Add command line option --preset which selects all the cleaners previously selected in the GUI.
  • Specific to Linux
    • Support Thunderbird on openSUSE 11.3 thanks to Manfred Schwarb (LP#668231)
    • Fix wrong button label when adding folders for overwrite disk space and for whitelist (pointed out by jtarin)
    • When cleaning localizations, show warning to point user to configuration
    • Packagers: BleachBit will try to use the built-in json module on Python 2.6+ instead of simplejson, which is still required on Python 2.5.
  • Specific to Windows
    • Import winapp2.ini files: the CCleaner community maintains winapp2.ini files with about 450 cleaner definitions. Just download a winapp2.ini file and place it in one of the BleachBit cleaner directories.
    • Internet Explorer: delete autocomplete passwords
    • Support registry keys in the HKCR (HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT) hive

Use BleachBit to:

  • Free disk space
  • Reduce the size of backups and the time to create them by removing unnecessary files
  • Maintain privacy
  • Improve system performance (by vacuuming the Firefox database, for example)
  • Prepare whole disk images for compression (common for “ghost” backups and virtual machines) by wiping free disk space


How to use BleachBit to clean up the system?

Ubuntu users can simply click here to install it. Other Linux systems users can easily find BleachBit in their respective repostories, or download specific version made for your Linux distribution available at the official BleachBit’s website. Windows users can download standard installer version or portable version from here.

Ubuntu users will find it in their applications menu under “System“.

By default only the programs installed in the system will show up. You can now check the things you’re interested in deleting. BleachBit will inform you about the consequences of everything as you check items for cleanup. Once you’ve selected everything, click on “Preview” to see how much disk space you can save.

After being satisfied with the result, do check settings one last time before clicking on “Delete“.

So, in a sentence: read the descriptions, check the boxes you want, click preview, and click delete.

Advanced cleaning options provided are:

  • Clear the memory and swap on Linux
  • Delete broken shortcuts on Linux
  • Delete the Firefox version 3 URL history without deleting the whole file–with optional shredding
  • Delete Linux localizations: delete languages you don’t use.
  • Clean APT for Debian, Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu, and Linux Mint
  • Find widely-scatted junk such as Thumbs.db and .DS_Store files.
  • Execute yum clean for CentOS, Fedora, and Red Hat to remove cached package data
  • Delete Windows registry keys–often where MRU (most recently used) lists are stored
  • Delete the recent documents list without deleting the whole Common.xcu file
  • Overwrite free disk space to hide previously files
  • Vacuum Firefox, Google, Liferea, Thunderbird, and Yum databases: shrink files without removing data to save space and improve speed
  • Surgically remove private information from .ini and JSON configuration files with deleting the whole file

BleachBit is a program that can save you a lot of hard disk space quickly, but be sure you know what you’re doing.

Do you have any tips for using this program more effectively or use any other app with similar or better functionality? Share them using comments below with us!

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