Microprogramming TECHNIQUES
 the drive cleaner tool of choice

Synopsis

DisCleaner is an application designed to clean your drives. Both traditional magnetic disk media as well as modern solid state drive. It will also function with networked disk arrays or iSCSI targets. This computer program follows the classical guidelines to software application development in order to present you with a clean, familiar, and fully functional graphical user interface. Internally, it contains both high level mixed with low level routines featuring optimizations that guarantee the functionality of the application as intended on the minimum system requirements.

DisCleaner is fast, reliable and does only one job: it cleans your drives. Thus you will not encounter unneeded functionality or unwanted options that might slow down your experience or cripple the performance of this program.

Section A. Overview

DisCleaner is a powerful Windows®-based application built from ground zero to deal with those unneeded files created by the operating system or by various applications that are (or were) installed on your computer. It was designed to offer a generally secure operation and a great user experience by minimizing the things you need to do in order to clean your computer. However the engine is powerful but it does not make the difference between some intentionally created files and your standard application remnants. For this purpose, you are presented with a categorizing system that classifies files and directories into one of the following items.

Safe
Files and directories that can generally be safely deleted.
Potentially Unsafe
Files and directories that require extra care in order to be deleted.
Unsafe
Files and directories that require your attention in order to be deleted.

Even if you search for potentially unsafe or unsafe objects, you will still have the ability to control which items to delete. Do this by manually inspecting and checking objects to delete, from a list that is shown right before you continue to the clean-up process. For more information regarding the available clean-up options, please refer to Section C. Clean-up Options.

Trademark Notice

Microsoft, Windows, Windows Explorer, and MS-DOS are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corporation.
Apple, Macintosh, Mac OS X, and Spotlight are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Apple Computer.
Intel and Pentium are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Intel Corporation.
All other names or name brands are either registered trademarks or trademarks of their respective owners.

General Information

Version 2.5.0.455
Copyright © 1998-2004,2017 Microprogramming TECHNIQUES
All rights reserved.

Architecture: 32-bit / Processor: x86
Class: System Cleanup Utility

System Requirements

Operating System: Microsoft® Windows® 2000, NT, XP, Vista, 7, 8, and 10
Minimum Processor: 486DX4/120 MHz or Pentium® class processor running at 100 MHz or higher
Recommended Processor: Pentium® class processor running at 1.6 GHz
Memory: at least 32 Mo RAM (512 Mo recommended)
Screen Resolution: at least 800x600px (1024x768px recommended)
Video Subsystem: at least 4 Mo VRAM and 2D acceleration

Important Note: This program may be used freely, without restrictions, apart from modifying, disassembling or reverse engineering the compiled source code or the files within the package. The compiled content includes executable files and modules, help documentation, embedded graphical content, and so on. Any reproduction or illegal copy of this content, may result in severe civil and criminal penalties. This program is closed source.

Disclaimer: We are not responsible for any loss of information caused by misuse of DisCleaner. You are encouraged to carefully read this help documentation to learn about the repercussions of certain actions that are categorized as unsafe. As with any stored data manipulation software, you are responsible for your actions in case of unwanted data loss. Use this program at your own risk.

Tip: This message appears just once at the first run of the program. It reminds you about the severe consequences on the file system and directory hierarchy, if this program is used improperly.

Section B. Main User Interface

DisCleaner is a very compact and portable application that features a rich user experience. You can do just about anything related to file and directory cleaning, with only a few mouse clicks.

The main window, as shown above, is the first visual contact you will have when this program is launched into execution. You can choose to clean only a specific directory of your drive, an entire drive or partition, or a combination of one or more of these items, in batch mode. All these just by adding them items to the clean-up list right below the storage media hierarchy.

The main window also allows you to specify the clean-up options that apply to your requirements. The clean-up options are described down below at Section C. Clean-up Options. Start the scanning process by clicking the Continue button.

Before even starting to scan or clean, DisCleaner will first check whether your clean-up selection of paths and/or drives are located on a solid-state drive (SSD). If you have the Secure Delete Files option enabled, it will prompt with a confirmation message. We strongly advice you to turn off this option if your machine contains an SSD.

Warning: The Secure Delete Files option does not work with solid-state drive (SSD) devices because of the way they are electrically built and the way they store the information. Also keep in mind that using this option with an SSD device, will cause severe life span shortening of the memory cells of your SSD and the data will still remain untouched. So please use it only with HDD devices.

This message appears whenever you check the Secure Delete Files option, in order to remind you about the severe consequences on using it with SSD devices.

This message appears whenever you have the Secure Delete Files option enabled and an SSD device was found installed on your system. It appears in the first time when you are about to scan for files and in the second time when you are about to clean files. For security reasons, this SSD warning glue-logic behavior cannot be disabled by options.

The main window offers you a set of command buttons that you can use in order to control the flow of the program. These buttons are described below.

Uninstall Displays a list of installed applications that you can uninstall. Refer to Section F. Uninstall Applications for more information.
Set Safe Checks only the clean-up options considered safe.
Set Default Checks the default clean-up options.
Set All Checks all the clean-up options.
Set None Unchecks all the clean-up options.
Continue Starts the scan process that precedes the clean process.

At any time you can consult the statistics collected during usage.

Simply enough, the Statistics menu item will bring up the window illustrated above.

Section C. Clean-up Options

Windows Temporary Directories
Operating system temporary directories.
Windows Recycle Bin
All objects stored in the Recycle Bin regardless of their physical disk location.
Windows and Application Logs
Log files are created by the operating system and various applications.
Windows Prefetch Files
If allowed, Windows creates prefetch files for each executed application.
These can be easily disposed of as some might be still left from old longtime deleted applications. Windows recreates these files on-demand, if the feature is enabled.
Windows CHKDSK File Fragments
When scanning drives, CHKDSK might recover and save certain file fragments.
All these lost file fragments can be freely deleted if you do not need them.
Windows Thumbnail Files
These files tend to consume drive space.
Windows Start Menu Recent Documents
Shortcuts pointing to recently accessed documents.
Windows Start Menu Invalid Shortcuts
Shortcuts pointing to invalid files.
Windows Desktop Invalid Shortcuts
Shortcuts pointing to invalid files.
Internet Explorer Temporary Cache
Cached Internet resources tend to consume drive space.
Internet Explorer Cookies
Cookies can be cleaned to gain a small amount of drive space.
Mozilla Firefox Temporary Cache
Cached Internet resources tend to consume drive space.
Temporary Files
Created by the operating system and various applications.
General Cache Files
Created by all sort of applications during normal execution.
Old Backup Files
Backup files might be intentional or not. Further attention is necessary.
A lot of applications create various backup files. They can, probably, be deleted. While you may still have some of your old data backed up in one form or another (based on specified backup application which involves a specific extension, often ".bak"), you need to carefully observe the files that fall into this category.
Legacy Files
These files may be left legacy from ancient operating systems and applications.
If you select this option, you should pay attention to files belonging mainly to MS-DOS or Microsoft Windows 3.1. If you are an active MS-DOS applications developer, you may not want DisCleaner to delete your files. Carefully observe the files that fall into this category.
Apple .DS_Store Files
Mac OS X creates these files everywhere.
Apple Trash
Mac OS X creates a Trash related directory on Windows shared drives.
Apple Spotlight Index
Mac OS X creates a Spotlight indexing related directory on Windows shared drives.
Empty Subdirectories
Empty subdirectories scattered around the directory hierarchy of your clean targets.
Custom Files
Files that match your search criteria defined within the Options window.
For purpose of extending the functionality of DisCleaner, the option to scan and clean all files matching your requirements is introduced.
Custom Directories
Directories that match your search criteria defined within the Options window.
For purpose of extending the functionality of DisCleaner, the option to scan and clean all directories matching your requirements is introduced.

Warning: Cleaning custom files and/or directories involves extra care because once these object are deleted, they probably cannot be recovered anymore. See Section G. Options for more information regarding this operation.

About prefetch files

These are created by the Microsoft Windows operating system, starting with XP, every time you execute an application. These files are part of the Windows Memory Manager and are supposed to help your system run faster, according to Microsoft. However many prefer not to use the prefetch mechanism and either disable the feature or regularly manually delete these files.

About thumbnail files

These are created by the Microsoft Windows operating system every time you access a directory with Windows Explorer configured to display objects in Filmstrip or Tiles mode. In fact these database files contain scaled-down previews of each picture file present in that directory. Directories that contain large amount of pictures often generate large thumbs.db files.

The only concern regarding deletion of these files is that pictures in the respective directory tend to load a little bit slower because they are not cached in these thumbnails anymore.

Tip: Before you choose to check this option, it is recommended to disable thumbnails from within Windows. The steps are described as follows.

  1. Click Start -> Settings -> Control Panel
  2. Double Click Folder Options
  3. Click the View tab
  4. From the list, tick Do not cache thumbnails
  5. Click OK

Section D. Objects

When the scan according to your criteria finishes, you are presented with a list of found objects. You can check or uncheck which one you want to clean or to keep. By default, all the objects in the list are checked and ready to be cleaned (deleted).

Once again, you are presented with a set of command buttons. They are described below.

< Back Returns to the main window.
Stop Stops the current search or clean, if in progress.
Report After finishing the clean process, you can press this button to view a report.
Check Safe Checks only the objects considered safe.
Check All Checks all the objects from the list.
Check None Unchecks all the objects at once.
Clean/Repeat Starts the clean process. After cleaning, this button will be replaced by a Repeat button which allows you to start a new session.

An object is a virtual representation of either a file or a directory. Double-clicking an object from within the list will invoke the default Windows behavior for that specific file or directory.

Tip: This message appears when you attempt to open an object from the list while the Open Object Confirmations option is enabled. You can disable this security check at your own risk. Beware that certain files could be infected by viruses or malicious scripts. These might harm your computer if launched into execution.

Tip: Attempting to open multiple objects from the list at once while the Open Object Confirmations option is enabled will bring up the above message. You can disable this security check at your own risk. Beware that certain files could be infected by viruses or malicious scripts. These might harm your computer if launched into execution. Also please take into consideration that opening multiple objects could take a lot of time, depending on your hardware capabilities.

Tip: You can perform various actions on objects from the right-click contextual menu. For instance, you could copy the selected object(s) path and filename(s) to the Clipboard. Or you could view the contents of an object in hexadecimal binary mode, binary text mode, or plain text mode.

Tip: By selecting a batch of objects in the list and then clicking on the check-box of any item in the selection, you will check or uncheck the whole batch.

Tip: While the clean process is taking place, a progress bar indicator gives you a real-time visual feedback on what is happening. Depending on the speed of your hardware and the amount of objects you are deleting, the clean process might take some time so please be patient.

Section E. Report

A report is filled after either the scan or the clean process completes. Click on the Report button in order to show the report window. This window will present you either a visual report in case of a scan process, or a textual report in case of a clean process.

In any case you have the option to save the report as a text file on your computer for future references.

Inspect the information presented to learn useful statistics or to find faults. Files that cannot be deleted are simply skipped and they will appear in the Skipped objects list section of the clean report. These files were probably in use or locked by the operating system or owner applications.

Close the report window in order to return to DisCleaner.

Section F. Uninstall Applications

Functionality to uninstall the various applications that are currently installed on your machine is carried for convenience. Launch the uninstall window via the Uninstall Applications command button in the main window. You can also delete entries belonging to applications that are no longer installed on your machine. If you are in such case, you will be prompted whether you really want to delete that particular entry or not.

When you finish uninstalling applications, close this window in order to return to DisCleaner.

Section G. Options

The options window is one click away. It provides useful settings to customize your user experience. Click the Options menu command from the main menu.

You are able to affect General, Scanner, Validator, Cleaner, and Uninstall parameters through the appropriate options pages.

Available options:

  1. Confirmations enables message boxes to pop-up whenever an object that is not considered safe is about to be deleted. For maximum speed and performance, uncheck this option. In addition, this option prompts with a confirmation message box when you attempt to close the program.
  2. Open Object Confirmations enables message boxes to pop-up whenever an object from the list is about to be opened. An object is either a file or a directory. It can be opened by double-clicking its name in the list once the scan process completes.
  3. Allow Window Transparency enables or disables the transparency effect on all windows.
  4. Use File System Icons enables the use of the native file system icon associated with each found object in the list.
  5. Quota Reports to the Largest Found Capacity enables the size quota bar in the objects list to be drawn according to either the largest or the total found capacity.
  6. Enable Uninstall Applications determines the availability of the Uninstall Applications functionality in the main window.
  7. Enable Drive Information determines the availability of the Drive Information functionality in the main window.
  8. Minimize to System Tray allows the main window to minimize to system tray instead of the more common task bar.
  9. Start Minimized allows DisCleaner to start in a minimized state. This option only works if minimizing to system tray is allowed.

Available options:

  1. Exclude Files allows you to define an array of semicolon separated file names that will be excluded by the scanner.
  2. Exclude Directories allows you to define an array of semicolon separated directory names that will be excluded by the scanner.
  3. Custom Files allows you to define an array of semicolon separated file names that is used by the Custom Files clean-up option to scan for files matching this criteria.
  4. Custom Directories allows you to define an array of semicolon separated directory names that is used by the Custom Directories clean-up option to scan for directories matching this criteria.
  5. Ignore Symbolic Links excludes all operating system symbolic links from the search criteria.

Tips:

  1. The first of the two buttons appropriate to each exclusion/custom edit-boxes performs a trivial check on the contents to see whether the data is correctly entered.
  2. You can mass edit files and directories exclusion lists via the appropriate command buttons. See Section H. Files Editor.
  3. Exclude Files and Custom Files work in tandem.
  4. Exclude Directories and Custom Directories work in tandem.
  5. Any wildcards that are supported by the operating system are allowed. For instance, Temp*.?mp;*.chk;index.dat are valid.
  6. Custom files and directories, once deleted, probably cannot be recovered.

Available options:

  1. File Date Validator applies search constraints related to date.
    • Created indicates when the file was created.
    • Modified indicates when the file was last modified.
    • Accessed indicates when the file was last accessed.
    • Older indicates whether the file is older than specified date.
    • Newer indicates whether the file is newer than specified date.
    • Date indicates the date to validate against (format is: yyyy/mm/dd).
  2. File Attributes Validator applies search constraints related to attributes. If you use this validator then only files complying to your specific combination of attributes will be searched.
    • Archive indicates a ready to archive file.
    • Read Only indicates a read-only file.
    • Hidden indicates a hidden file.
    • System indicates a system file.
  3. File Contents Validator applies search constraints related to contents.
    • Containing indicates the string to search for inside the files.
    • Case Sensitive indicates whether the search string is case sensitive.
  4. File Size Validator applies search constraints related to size. The file sizes are always expressed in Ko. For instance, the number 2 represents 2048 octets while 1024 represents 1 Mo.
    • Minimum Size indicates the minimum size of the file.
    • Maximum Size indicates the maximum size of the file.
  5. Ignore on Implicit Validator forces to skip all manually selected validators if an implicit one is found. For more information on this matter please see About scanner validators section below.

Available options:

  1. Secure Delete Files enables using a secure delete mechanism to ensure the deleted files will not be recoverable.
    • Secure Delete Passes indicates the number of rewrite cycles.
    • Random Rewrite Pattern indicates whether to use a random rewrite pattern.

Warning: As a reminder, the Secure Delete Files option does not work with solid-state drive (SSD) devices because of the way they are electrically built and the way they store the information. Also keep in mind that using this option with an SSD device, will cause severe life span shortening of the memory cells of your SSD and the data will still remain untouched. So please use it only with HDD devices.


Available options:

  1. Compute Size allows the uninstall engine to attempt to retrieve the total size of each one of the installed applications.

The Defaults button applies the default settings for the selected options window.
To save your preferences, click OK. To discard them, click Cancel or close the window via the x button.

About scanner validators

If selected, the validators are always cumulative. This means that if you select more than one validator then the scanned objects need to comply to all combined criteria of all the selected validators. Combining unlikely possible validator options might severely cripple the capabilities of the the scanner detection mechanism.

In addition the validators add up to other implicit validators that might be subject to certain clean-up options. For instance while searching for invalid shortcuts on your desktop, there is a hidden implicit validator that says whether objects are actually invalid. Having a file size validator enabled while searching for invalid shortcuts is a nonsense.

However there are times when an implicit validator could be usefully combined with one of the validators in the options page. For instance, take the example of the empty subdirectories clean-up option. This can successfully be combined with the attributed validator. Thus you could search only for read-only empty sub-directories.

The list below synthesizes all clean-up options subject to a hidden implicit validator.

Clean-up Option Implicit Validator Type
Windows Start Menu Invalid Shortcuts Invalid shortcut validator.
Windows Desktop Invalid Shortcuts Invalid shortcut validator.
Empty Subdirectories Empty directory validator.

In order to avoid combining implicit validators with those from the options window, you can use the Ignore on Implicit Validator option. Checking this option will always force-skip all manually specified validators, if an implicit validator is found.

Section H. Files Editor

The files or directories editor is introduced in order to help mass editing of either exclude or custom objects. It appears as a simple window as pictured below and it offers lightweight means to quickly add, remove, or clear objects that are targeted by the scanner options page in the options window.

The add multiple files via browse functionality is carried in order to help you add multiple files at once via a standard Windows file open dialog. It is not available while mass editing a directory list.

The Browse button attached to the manual object path and filename edit-box plays a double role. If you are mass editing files, then it will bring up a single file selection dialog. And if you are mass editing directories, then it will present a single directory selection dialog. If available, the path of the manually specified object from the edit-box, will be preselected.

Section I. Commandline Options

Some basic commandline options are introduced. This means that you can invoke the executable program file with the clean targets supplied as manually typed commandline parameters.

The basic commandline syntax is:

  disclnr32.exe <clean_target_1> <clean_target_2> ... <clean_target_n>

A real life example would be this:

  disclnr32.exe C:\ D:\ G:\Programs\Temp\ "H:\Old Data"

Notice how the parameters containing spaces are enclosed in double quotes. This is the standard commandline parameter syntax. For more information regarding passing commandline parameters, please consult the official Microsoft documentation.

How to reset preferences

In addition, by using the -resetprefs commandline parameter you can reset the preferences to default. This could prove useful should a .prefs file corruption occurs.

Usage syntax is described below:

  disclnr32.exe -resetprefs

Keep in mind that any other parameter passed before or after -resetprefs will be automatically ignored.

Section J. Release Notes and Changelog

The following list shows what has been added, fixed, or improved in the latest version.
You can consult a complete changelog for all previous versions should you follow the Show All Versions link below.

Version 2.5.0.455 | Show All Versions
+ Added: Visual scan report feature
+ Added: Possibility to save the scan or clean report data to file
+ Added: System tray icon, configurable through the options window
+ Added: Possibility to minimize the program to system tray (run in background)
+ Added: Possibility to start the program in a minimized state
+ Added: Possibility to ignore scanner validators in case an implicit one is available
+ Added: Possibility to reset the preferences directly via specific commandline parameter
+ Added: Possibility to inspect file contents in binary format
+ Added: Bottom right corner icon for diagonal resize purpose in the main window
+ Fixed: Frequent medium severity bug causing graphical controls to seldom disappear when pressing the ALT key
+ Fixed: Frequent medium severity bug causing incorrectly reporting shortcuts as invalid if they point to directories
+ Fixed: Frequent low severity bug in exclusion/custom objects list edit window causing OK button to shift position on window resize
+ Fixed: Frequent low severity bug locks when you press Clean while having unsafe objects in list and you infirm the confirmation message box
+ Fixed: Infrequent low severity bug causing a conversion error while searching empty subdirectories with the date validator enabled
+ Fixed: Infrequent low severity bug causing skipping objects if the date validator is enabled and the dates actually do match
+ Fixed: Minor bug preventing displaying of selected paths after pressing repeat following a clean operation
+ Fixed: Minor bug preventing diagonal resize of windows using bottom left and bottom right corners
+ Improved: Scanner and cleaner now run in separate threads
+ Improved: Redesigned the internal scanner validator engine
+ Improved: File date validator now uses a calendar control instead of a manual text-input field
+ Improved: Reduced flicker while scrolling lists
+ Improved: Better reorganization of program preference options
+ Improved: Minor icon rework
+ Improved: Secure delete files algorithm -- still works only on magnetic hard disk drives (HDD)
+ Improved: Better pre-Windows 2000 backwards compatibility for detection of invalid shortcuts
+ Improved: The update functionality now opens the downloads page in your default browser, querying for an update

If you take a closer look at the full version changelog, you will quickly spot that some particular versions are missing from the list. This is not an error. In fact up until version 2.0.0.0, DisCleaner was a program designed not to be released. Other intermediary versions that are missing from the list are considered experimental and were discarded after their purpose was met.

Using old versions

You might wonder how safe it is to use old versions of this program? The answer is simple. If you are not bothered by the bugs that were fixed in the versions prior to the one you are using, then your choice to use an older version is legitimate. If you are using a version prior to 2.4.9.363, then it is strongly recommended to upgrade.

However you should always obtain the latest version of this program in order to stay on the safe side and to benefit from the latest features and better compatibility with modern Windows operating systems.

Section K. Miscellaneous

Note: All bugs should be reported at: agroza24@yahoo.fr, Mr. Alexandru Groza.

DONATE

If you like what we are doing, please consider making a donation. Any amount is treasured and will help me (Alexandru Groza) continue my work and release more valuable software with less bugs, while keeping them free of charge. Many thanks goes to all of those who already donated!

DisCleaner is a one man effort to create a competitive easy to use computer program with the sole purpose explained throughout this comprehensive documentation. Since I cannot dedicate as much of my time as I would want to work on this software package, updates are infrequent but I am still trying to squeeze as much of my knowledge as I can into this program.

Thank you for using this computer program.


Copyright © 1998-2004, Microprogramming TECHNIQUES
All rights reserved.
Version: 1.4 | Revision: F