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Can data cleaned by CCleaner be recovered?

We often get the question, "If I clean my system with CCleaner, can the data be recovered later?"

The answer is that this depends on the skill and resources available to the person attempting the recovery, as well as what settings you used in CCleaner when you cleaned.

If you run CCleaner with its default settings, you'll thwart most attempts at recovery, but you can decrease the chances that someone will be able to recover files as follows:

  1. Use secure deletion - the more passes that CCleaner uses to overwrite the data, the harder it will be to recover.
  2. Wipe free space on drives, and wipe the MFT free space.
  3. For the utmost in security, use Recuva to find files that have already been deleted but still are recoverable, and then securely overwrite them. Be sure to set Recuva to a high number of passes for secure overwriting as well.