Piriform asks BleachBit developer to remove Winapp2.ini import option

Martin Brinkmann
Feb 5, 2013
Updated • Feb 7, 2013

CCleaner is probably the most popular temporary file and data cleaning software for Windows. There are other programs out there that do more or less the same. There is Windows' own Disk Cleanup tool for instance or third party applications like BleachBit or System Ninja which do a solid job at removing temp files and data from systems as well.

CCleaner ships with an winapp.ini file that contains the locations, files, folders and Registry keys, of data that it can clean. Anyone can extend the basic cleaning functionality by creating a winapp2.ini file that can be loaded into CCleaner to add support for other programs and data locations on the system.

One of the best custom lists is provided by the Winapp2. Anyone can download the curated file to import it into CCleaner, BleachBit, System Ninja or another compatible program. Users who prefer an automated option can use CCEnhancer instead which integrates the data file into CCleaner automatically.

It appears that Piriform, the company behind CCleaner, has contacted the author of BleachBit, to remove the import feature for that file from the software program. The email mentions that importing CCleaner data into third party programs is against the terms of use of CCleaner, and that the company therefore requests the removal of the feature.

What makes this request dubious is that BleachBit does not extract the winapp2.ini file from CCleaner. It instead downloads it from the Internet or recognizes it if the user moves it into its program directory.

What's clear though is that Piriform is using an article published here on Ghacks as reference. I admit that the article was not very clear in some points and I have edited it to make it clearer. While it is possible that Piriform based the email solely on the article, I'd assume that the company ran tests of their own before contacting the BleachBit project owner as it would be foolish to rely on a single article without double-checking whether what is being said in the article is true or not.

The author's post made the frontpage of Slashdot which will certainly bring it to the attention of a wider audience. What's your take on this?

Update: The issue has been resolved and as suspected, it was a misunderstanding.


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  1. VanguardLH said on July 2, 2018 at 2:29 am

    The response could be very simple but might go over the heads of Piriform who obviously haven’t a clue whose property is the file. A simple response from Bleachbit or anyone else reading and using the file could be:

    The winapp2.ini file is NOT the property of Piriform. That is a creation by the user, so it remains the property of the user who created it. The user can do whatever they want with their property, including viewing and editing the file in any app they choose whether that be a text editor, hex editor, or any program of the user’s choice that can read and write the *user’s* file. They can no more restrict access by the user to the user’s own file by Notepad than they can by Bleachbit.

    If Piriform wants to keep proprietary the use of the file then Piriform must encrypt the file and provide a means with CCleaner of modifying the contents defined within that file. They must make the file their own creation, not something the user created which happens to be for CCleaner or any other program of the user’s choice.

    1. Transcontinental said on February 7, 2013 at 11:44 pm

      “No news is good news” : not always, not this time !

    2. Martin Brinkmann said on February 7, 2013 at 8:46 pm

      Great, that is good news.

  2. Leland said on February 7, 2013 at 5:18 am

    Piriform is going to commercial these days. Considering BleachBit is only importing a third party list and not the one from CCleaner is seems a non-issue. The fact Piriform brought it up though will bring some negative feelings towards them which we have never had before. They are starting to appear like the 800 pound gorilla beating up on the little guy.

  3. SuilAmhain said on February 5, 2013 at 10:46 pm

    This seems both foolish and simply odd.

    The contents of the winapp2 file is a collection of otherwise mostly readily available file location information. While no license is specified on the Winapp2 site it seems to me that there is nothing that could be licensed in the files contents either.

    CCleaner is a good FREE popular product and I imagine Piriform is concerned about competition and damaging their revenue stream from advertising.

    Bleachbit just got slashdotted. CCleaner just got flamed. While I am sure CCleaner will get a short term revenue increase from spur of the moment installs I suspect Bleachbit is #winning here…

    1. SuilAmhain said on February 5, 2013 at 10:46 pm

      Also pity you didn’t get a direct link yourself most /.ers never RTFA. :-)

  4. Nebulus said on February 5, 2013 at 9:18 pm

    Piriform’s decision is both wrong and ridiculous. Nothing else to say about this.

  5. Zeus said on February 5, 2013 at 9:08 pm

    From the Winapp2 official page: “A set over one thousand extensions for CCleaner, System Ninja, and BleachBit.”

    What if the Winapp2 folks decide to drop support for CCleaner? ;)

  6. Zeus said on February 5, 2013 at 8:37 pm

    Importing winapp.ini from CCleaner is one thing, importing the third party winapp2.ini is clearly another.

  7. jasray said on February 5, 2013 at 8:07 pm

    Non-issue–let CCleaner keep the program as is; BleachBit must stand on its own two feet; System Ninja is fine by itself. SlimCleaner or Puran or Glary. Choose one or two and stick with it. Credit to whom credit is due, and “don’t tread” on others’ turf.

  8. ilev said on February 5, 2013 at 7:31 pm

    Piriform is wrong. CCEnhancer isn’t a Piriform application but a community singularlabs application open to all.
    BleachBit and others have every right to import singularlabs winapp2.ini into their cleaning applications. They are not allowed to import winapp.ini from CCleaner’s folder on users PCs.

  9. Rick said on February 5, 2013 at 7:18 pm

    dreams of one day having Microsoft purchase their programs

    Why would anyone buy an app that can be programmed in a few days? Not for the app and frankly, if Microsoft added a cleaner to Windows, the “goodwill” related to CCleaner would evaporate.

    Frankly, I just use a quick batch file to trash the leftovers – never having to worry about whether something will be “cleaned” in error

  10. Transcontinental said on February 5, 2013 at 7:10 pm

    As I see it, the winapp.ini is not an element of CCleaner and therefore the fact it is used with CCleaner is not an argument to found Piriform’s claims. I’m not a lawyer, but I dislike procedures moreover when they appear (to me) to lack evidence.
    I’m surprised by Piriform’s attitude.

    1. Transcontinental said on February 5, 2013 at 7:17 pm

      EDIT : I meant winapp.ini is not a proprietary file, unless they should, or would have expressed their claim to Winapp2 in the first place. I think the matter is in 2 files having the same name because having the same purpose : original CCleaner’s winapp.ini and Winapp2’s winapp.ini. Rename the latter and the procedure becomes inconsistent.

  11. Dr. Sheldon Cooper, Phd said on February 5, 2013 at 6:51 pm

    I don’t know why they would be upset over use of the Winapp2 file. Even though Winamp was purchased by AOL years ago, they still don’t mind if 3rd parties not only create free plug-ins. In addition, you have numerous other audio software programs that instruct users to point to the Winamp plug-ins directory as their programs are compatible.

    It’s just my opinion, but Piriform probably feels that they’ve buit up this goodwill with the name CCleaner, and like Nirsoft and his great set of system utilities, they have dreams of one day having Microsoft purchase their programs, similar to the way Sysinternals was purchased by MS.

  12. KoalaBear said on February 5, 2013 at 5:17 pm

    I can only laugh about this. Every app may create an import for another app. End of discussion I would say.

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