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tracking files not cleaned, Files coming back [Solved/Explained]


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After performing a clean, there are often tracking files left. Only on a few occasions they are all cleaned.

Even cleaning several times in a row doesn't solve the problem. This issue exits for a while in different versions of CCleaner, always expecting that this would be solved in the newest update.

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Don't worry too much about it, and it isn't a bug to be fixed, it's the way a computer works. - I'll explain why.

Health Check 'Trackers' - What they are.
These files are not malware which is actively 'tracking' you in the way most of us would regard 'tracking'.(ie. Getting your physical location and following you around, or logging your keystrokes, etc.).
CCleaner is not a virus/malware removal tool - It's a junk cleaner with some extra clean-up tools.

What Health Check calls 'Trackers' could be read and used to 'track' your previous on-line activity, eg. your browser history, or what you have downloaded.

So it all depends on just what you mean when you say 'Trackers'.

Health Check calls all cookies 'Trackers', (tracking cookies is the full name).
Health Check also calls all Temporary Internet Files 'Trackers'.
Tracking cookies are simply cookies that make a record of which page(s) you have visited on a website, and usually for that website only.
Some greedy ones (Google, Facebook, etc.) will try to record every webpage that you go to so that they can then target ads about what you are interested in.

What the Health Check screen calls 'Trackers' are in fact simply Cookies, Temporary Internet Files, Download History, etc.

image.png

See also this page from the CCleaner documentation:
https://support.piriform.com/hc/en-us/articles/360041169212-Why-are-there-so-many-trackers-found-in-Health-Check-Should-I-be-worried-

If you use Custom Clean and go to Options>Advanced and select 'Advanced Report', that will give you a better idea of just what CCleaner is finding to clean.
(Note though that Custom Clean and Health Check may/will find different things to clean, depending on your Custom Clean settings).
To set Custom Clean so that CCleaner uses it in preference to Health Check do the following:
Go to Options>Settings and change 'CCleaner Home Screen' to 'Custom Clean'.

Files and 'Trackers' that re-appear straight after cleaning:
It is normal for some Windows files to reappear straight after you have just cleaned them.
Your computer is using and creating temporary files all the time.
These particular files that reappear are created as empty 'storage' and 'fill up' with information as you use your computer.

Think of it like this:

  • Someone puts an empty box on your desk for you to put temporary notes in. (Windows makes an empty temporary file).
  • You gradually fill it up with notes and then throw the box away to get rid of the notes you don't want. (Windows writes things in there, you run CCleaner).
  • So they immediately put a new empty box in its place for you to start filling again. (Windows makes a new, empty, temporary file).
  • If you throw that new empty box away, they put another empty one there. (You run CCleaner again, Windows makes a new empty file).

So these files will always get recreated immediately after you clean, there is nothing in them until you start working again.
If you keep deleting the empty ones Windows will pause the recreating while it works out what is going on.
So for a while it may look like you have finally got rid of them, but they will be back minutes later.
It's just the way that Windows works.

PS. Since v5.64 CCleaner itself now puts a couple of files in 'Internet Explorer - Temporary Internet Files' whenever you open CCleaner, and then finds them to clean.
So it will always find those files to clean everytime you open it. (One of them contains the CCleaner version number).

As well as Windows creating/recreating files there are other ways that cleared/deleted files (Trackers) can reappear.

Live Tiles on your start menu/ Windows 10 news and interests taskbar widget - weather, news, anything like that that shows video or updates the tile will put cookies and temporary files on your computer all the time you have them enabled.

Windows 10 latest versions "News and Interests".
This option will install automatically on your Taskbar to show you weather, news, etc. and will then put cookies, etc. on your computer.
Right Click on a empty part of the Taskbar, select "News and Interests" and turn it off.

Windows search - Bing is Microsoft's search engine and even a start menu search or file explorer search Windows can search the web these days, and will use Bing to do so.
Which means that you will almost always have Bing cookies  on your computer.

Browser Preloading - Some browser (Edge for example) will preload in the background when you start your computer but before you launch the browser.
This preloading will create cookies and temporary internet files on your device, all the more so if the browser is synced.
Search the web for how to stop your particular browser preloading (if it does).

Syncing - These days many users have their browsers (and maybe other apps) SYNCED.
If you have your browser synced then anything 'synced' that you clean from your computer will be restored by the syncing.
That's how syncing works, it saves your data in the cloud and sends it to all your devices from the cloud.
With some browsers/apps the synced data will be pre-loaded in the background before you even open the browser/app.
To stop that syncing happening you have to use the browser/app to clear the synced information from the cloud, or turn off syncing altogether.
CCleaner can't clear data from a cloud server, (they are protected), CCleaner can only clean your machine.

One more thing:
Corrupted Recycle Bin
- It is not uncommon for the Windows recycle bin to become corrupted.
Many people have a corrupted recycle bin, but unless they are using something like CCleaner don't even notice it, their recycle bin itself may appear to be working as normal even though it is corrupted.
If CCleaner is always reporting MB's or even GB's of junk files to clean then you may have a corrupted recycle bin.
(It's easier to see in Custom Clean where CCleaner will say there's a lot of junk specifically in the bin but if you then look at the bin it appears empty).
To fix a corrupted recycle bin see this: https://community.ccleaner.com/topic/42673-corrupted-recycle-bin-fix/

 

*** Out of Beer Error ->->-> Recovering Memory ***

Worried about 'Tracking Files'? Worried about why some files come back after cleaning? See this link:
https://community.ccleaner.com/topic/52668-tracking-files/?tab=comments#comment-300043

 

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  • 6 months later...

Thanks for your feedback. I understand that CCleaner can not delete the history synced online with Microsoft account.

In my case, the history is stored locally only (see attachment). So maybe CCleaner can include it in the items cleaning where the data is only stored locally?

 

2019-04-20 23_24_40-Settings.png

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I think you meant to post that in your other thread rather than here?
https://forum.piriform.com/topic/53837-clean-windows-10-activitiestimeline/?tab=comments#comment-305606

I'm not sure if the Piriform developers would be interested in doing that.

I think a potential problem would be that people would start complaining that it wasn't being cleared, simply because they've forgotten (or don't know) how syncing works.
We already see some of that with Chrome users complaining on here that Chrome isn't being cleaned at all, of course it is cleaned off their computer but then gets resynced again from the cloud.

*** Out of Beer Error ->->-> Recovering Memory ***

Worried about 'Tracking Files'? Worried about why some files come back after cleaning? See this link:
https://community.ccleaner.com/topic/52668-tracking-files/?tab=comments#comment-300043

 

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