Avast bundles CCleaner with Avast Free Antivirus

Martin Brinkmann
Nov 19, 2017

Avast acquired Piriform, the maker of CCleaner and other popular programs in July 2017. The Czech security company is known for its line of free and commercial security products for Windows and other operating system, and for acquiring the security company AVG in a billion Dollar deal.

Piriform released CCleaner more than a decade ago, and the program grew quickly to become one of the most popular cleaning programs for Windows. The company's infrastructure was compromised in September, and a malicious version of CCleaner was distributed from company servers for about a month as a consequence.

Avast and Piriform were quick to point out that Piriform would continue to develop CCleaner and other products, and that Piriform products would be maintained separately from Avast's own software catalog.

Avast did hint at synergies however in the acquisition announcement but did not reveal more than that back then.

If you have downloaded and installed CCleaner on Windows recently -- the free version of the program that comes with an installer will do -- you may have identified one of the synergies already.

The CCleaner installer comes with adware offers. This has been the case for years, and many experienced users avoided this by using the portable version of the application instead.

ccleaner avast adware

The installer download is placed prominently on the site however, and most users probably download and use it. The most recent installer comes with Avast Free Antivirus. It is offered on the first page of the installer, and enabled by default.

Users who don't pay attention will install CCleaner and Avast Free Antivirus on their systems. While one could argue that offering Avast is better than many other products that are usually offered in adware installers, it is still the case that making these offers opt-out is not user friendly.

CCleaner users who don't want Avast installed on the device they run the installer on need to uncheck the "Get Avast Free Antivirus now" box in the installer, or, and that is the highly suggested option, download the portable version of CCleaner instead as it ships without adware.

CCleaner is used by over 150 million users worldwide. Bundling Avast Free Antivirus with CCleaner will push the antivirus software on user systems. While that may look good on paper, it remains to be seen how thrilled users are when they notice that another software program was installed on their device during the installation of CCleaner.

Side note: This would make for an interesting study: User perception of adware installed software. In this case, whether Avast Free Antivirus' reputation takes a hit when it is linked to adware offers especially since the program is designed to protect systems against adware.

Closing Words

Avast is not the only reputable company that pushes its programs through adware offers. Google does the same with its Chrome browser, and so do plenty of other companies that are held in high regard by most computer users. (via Teechdows)

Now You: Does your perception of products that are pushed via adware offers change?


Avast bundles CCleaner with Avast Free Antivirus
Article Name
Avast bundles CCleaner with Avast Free Antivirus
Windows users who install the most recent version of the popular file and traces cleaning software CCleaner, will notice that it comes bundled with Avast Free Antivirus now.
Ghacks Technology News

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  1. Avast Customer Service said on August 1, 2018 at 1:01 pm

    Avast has separate protection for the various parts of your pc –mail and p2p and instant messaging protection adds to the standard, web and network shield.


  2. wilson said on July 12, 2018 at 4:10 am

    11 July 2018 – Yesterday I updated my CC cleaner. If there was a check box I missed it, but Avast was installed on my computer without my knowledge. It hogged 90% of my Internet connection and a bunch of my CPU for an hour. I thought that my computer was dying.

    I ran my Uninstaller program. Turns out that it barely scratched Avast. I had to use Avast’s own uninstaller prgream to get rid of it. I hope so anyway. As far as Avast goes, why should I trust an anti-virus program that acts just like a virus on my computer?

    I just learned that they are owned by the same Eastern European company. CC will likely never be updated again. And it will be removed when I find a suitable replacement.

  3. uncleJoe said on May 24, 2018 at 1:34 pm

    Martin please make a post about CCleaner and the recent addition of privacy settings (possible due to GRPD ) and the no option to opt out of 3rd party sharing and showing offers in the free version

    i think with this move they basically admit that they were collecting user data from the free version even prior to this move

  4. Dick said on January 30, 2018 at 2:53 am

    “CCleaner” automatic updating does not have an option to NOT install Avast.

  5. daniel said on December 16, 2017 at 10:59 am

    It’s ruined Avast’s reputation with me, and I have uninstalled CCleaner. Good thing I make snapshots at login, because I could just restore the snapshot and be done with Avast, rather than trying to unpick it out of my registry.

  6. btc909 said on December 12, 2017 at 11:18 pm

    5.38 installs ‘Avast Free’ even if you select Customize silently in the background. The Avast uninstall is useless, it’ll sit and wait to delete a file that is in use. You need to download avastclear.exe to get rid of it via Safe Mode & you better know your Windows password BEFORE entering Safe Mode.

  7. AJ North said on November 25, 2017 at 9:26 pm

    When Piriform began to bundle crapware with CCleaner (after they acquired the original CrapCleaner from its developers), they also created a “slim” version (sans the PUPs), which they quietly release about eight to ten days later (about 2 MB smaller); it can be found at Softpedia – http://www.softpedia.com/get/Security/Secure-cleaning/CCleaner.shtml (you’ll know when the current “slim” version is available when they no longer show the new version along with the previous one labeled “clean”). So far, Avast are continuing the practice.

    To ensure that one does not inadvertently receive the crapware-laden version, just uncheck the box “Automatically check for updates” during installation, or do so afterwards under Options —> Settings.

    Also, for those not aware of it, a small utility called “CCEnhancer” significantly increases the number of locations that CCleaner can scan – http://www.softpedia.com/get/System/System-Miscellaneous/CCEnhancer.shtml .

  8. Anon said on November 24, 2017 at 4:00 am

    For now I’ll still keep using CCleaner, but I guess I don’t need it with BleachBit.

    As for adware installed software; it’s a thing now for even paid software. For example, Corel PaintShop Pro X9 has adware including pop-ups when the program is closed! A few folks have complained on their forums, but just a few! Sadly, I guess most folks just think this is normal now.. I think they should at least give me the option to pay more to not have any adware.. As it is, I was able to do a simple hack to disable the ads, but next time I think I’ll just use a pirated copy, ha.

    Also, the paid version of Qihoo’s 360 Total Security has ads (so-called offers from partners) that are hidden among the software’s features. Furthermore, if you have their free version, they say if you upgrade to the paid version they will remove the ads, well at least the pop-up adware. Regardless, obviously they are playing with the definition of “ad” vs “offer”. That said, I still really like 360TS, but I think they need to change such marketing tactics if they want to be trusted more.

  9. Fubar said on November 20, 2017 at 12:28 am

    Avast used to be an easily recommended choice forever. Then they started pushing Google Chrome installs and the default Avast install installed a gazillion modules that letsfaceit did nothing more than slowed down the computer. Even today, if a user is careful enough to choose the custom install option, and chooses just the modules he/she wants (I recommend file protection, nothing more), the next update installs more things he/she didn’t choose/want. Also, there seems to be way more “important program updates” per year than back in the day. Now is this because Avast in 2017 is buggy or a frontrunner in all things safe, or is Avast a company in crisis-mode where every unsuspecting user clicking updateupdateupdateagreeagreeokokokok means more money in the bank? I think the latter. Windows 10 drove many users away from Avast, Chromebooks and Linux are gaining ground and the superbloated dinosaur Avast isn’t doing itself any favours by shoving itself down users throats all over the place. On top of all that, the Avast interface is garbage and all settings are a maze and Avast is notorious for a staggering amount of false positives. Maybe people THINK its a good AV because it flags every file as a virus =) Usability: ZERO Level of security: ONE. It really is time to say goodbye to Avast AND CCleaner among many many other programs that used to be stalwarts in every Windows install since days of XP. I know people who still RELIGIOUSLY install ZoneAlarm, Avast, Adobe Reader, Adobe Flash and Shockwave, Silverlight, CCleaner, AdAware, K-Lite Codecpack, WinRAR, VLC and goddamn WINAMP on Windows 10…The list is endless and scary…Some even install two antivirus programs, you know, to be double-safe! The same people turn off Windows Update because “those updates just break my printer and one even deleted my cat wallpaper!” And because “I have always done it that way!!!”.. Sorry for venting haha. Yeah, Avast needs to die.

  10. basicuser said on November 19, 2017 at 9:51 pm

    Have used CCleaner for years, primarily because it will delete perma-cookies that normal browser deletion of session cookies does not remove. Sticking with Version 5.28 though.

  11. RxOfRock said on November 19, 2017 at 9:24 pm

    I have been using CCleaner and Avast for over 10 years. Avast was recommended by a computer shop when I helped my mom buy a computer.
    I was curious, so I installed Avast, did a system scan, and Avast found infected files that AVG had missed. I was sold.
    In conjunction with Avast, I also run Threatfire, which is a behaviour based scanning program. If a program (even a legitimate file) wants to change its settings, Threatfire shows a pop-up window.
    When CCleaner, or any program, requires an update, I will do the update manually.
    I have been a long-time reader of Ghacks, the reviews and information keep me abreast of software, and a little tip I picked up – when installing a program, read the fine print, check the settings, and if there is a Customize option, use it.

  12. justakiwi said on November 19, 2017 at 6:08 pm

    windows updates comes with its adware/spyware too

  13. kalmly said on November 19, 2017 at 4:28 pm

    There was a time (years ago) when I used CCleaner. I visited the Piriform site regularly because they had a great software thread, but one day that came to an abrupt end. When I purchased a new computer I didn’t install CCleaner, and I haven’t missed it. Mostly I just mop up my own mess, but once a month I run Glary to find things I’ve missed. As far as I’m concerned, the registry is hands off unless I make a change to it myself or I uninstall something.

    A couple of weeks ago, I suddenly started receiving notices about new postings to Piriform forum threads. I have no idea why.

    AVAST was my beloved anti-virus for many years, but it became so irritating I uninstalled it. So – no AVAST. No CCleaner. No problem.

  14. Clairvaux said on November 19, 2017 at 2:17 pm

    I don’t think less of Chrome because it’s bundled everywhere, or of Avast because it’s bundled with C-Cleaner. However, if I were less knowledgeable than I am about such matters, and I installed “the best cleaner over there”, then discovered that instead of pruning my hard disk, it had burdened it with an enormous program I did not ask for, and may be quite a challenge to uninstall, it’s likely that my perception of C-Cleaner would be changed for a long time.

    This is not a clever move, unless Avast does not care about C-Cleaner. Also, I’d be curious to know what happens if that bundle-ware attempts to install, and there’s another anti-virus in place. Will it refrain from installing ? Warn you ? Install nonetheless, and risk a conflict ? Delete the competing program, Microsoft-style ?

  15. Mark Hazard said on November 19, 2017 at 2:15 pm

    I use CCleaner Professional and Unchecky. I haven’t noticed any problems.

  16. dan said on November 19, 2017 at 2:02 pm

    RIP CCleaner

  17. McGee said on November 19, 2017 at 1:19 pm

    CCleaner now also installs an update task, because they were hacked before and spread an infected version. The thing is that I really don’t want CCleaner to update itself, especially not now that Avast is the commander in chief. Worst case scenario is that Avast installs itself automagically via the CCleaner task, or maybe there’s a 3 second popup window after an update with “install Avast” pre-checked..who knows. So yes, the portable version is the way to go. Then there’s also the other way: use portable Wise Disk Cleaner instead. That thing cleans away much more cruft than CCleaner anyway.

  18. Curtis K said on November 19, 2017 at 12:39 pm

    I am using 5.20 version (released on July 19, 2016) it’s already good.

  19. VaporJohn said on November 19, 2017 at 11:29 am

    Just use PatchMyPC Updater and you’ll update CCleaner or any other program without installers or bundle offers


  20. Yuliya said on November 19, 2017 at 10:47 am

    Never was any reason to use the installer of CCleaner, and this does not change that. That being said, it is better than boundling some unknown trialware that does more harm than good to your OS.

    I think I said it before, a while ago, but if you must install software that comes boundled with PUPs, the best way of doing it is to disconnect from the internet prior to running the installer. Ofcourse, assuming the installer is not a webinstaller, which is also something that you should avoid.

    As for my perception regarding programs that boundle PUPs? To give an example – I would rather install a cracked copy of Alcohol 120% rather than installing ImgBurn. It seems a lot cleaner to me.

    PS: there is no reason to update the version of CCleaner which you are now using. Keep it and its archive/installer for future use. I’ve been happily using v4.19 portable since 2014, when it was released.

    1. lehnerus2000 said on November 20, 2017 at 12:09 am

      “Ofcourse, assuming the installer is not a webinstaller, which is also something that you should avoid.”

      My vocabulary is not expansive enough to properly convey how much I despise web-installers.

  21. Mark said on November 19, 2017 at 10:08 am

    “Does your perception of products that are pushed via adware offers change?”

    Yes. Generally software that I encounter via this method is something I would never use. Most readers that come to GHacks are surely wise to the methods employed to get users to install stuff they don’t really want or need, but it can certainly trick the more limited users among us. I recall AMD trying to install Raptr with every driver update for quite a while, I admit I didn’t even try that software due to the method of bundling.

    I don’t use CCleaner as I can manage to delete my own browser and thumbnail cache should I need to, and having been compromised for so long I’m not sure you can really trust Piriform again.

  22. leanon said on November 19, 2017 at 10:07 am

    Have used Avast on windows (AV) and Android (firewall) in the past, found it to be a very good product. However I DO NOT find anything good about this!!! Should ALWAYS be opt in.


    Synonyms for sneaky
    adj underhanded, dishonest


    1. leanon said on November 19, 2017 at 10:19 am

      oi ignore the stars

  23. Anonymous said on November 19, 2017 at 9:56 am

    They could always do like Glary Utilities and install a miniature verson of avast rootkit or malware scanner for in app use.

  24. Tom Hawack said on November 19, 2017 at 9:47 am

    Bundled software should of course (“of course” from the user’s point of view… of course!) be opt-in. These basic business practices are becoming so outdated in terms of modern life and irritate everyone, at least given they don’t fall into the trap.

    > “Side note: This would make for an interesting study: User perception of adware installed software.”

    The once notorious “Calendar of Updates” Website once had a dedicated forum, which is still in place even if it seems to have been abandoned by users (last post dated 2016) :

    Installers Hall of Shame (Unwanted add-on) [https://calendarofupdates.org/index.php?topic=2.0]

    I used to visit “COU” regularly and would then participate in the forums. The site lost a lot of its dynamism when Donna Buenaventura, leading figure, disappeared. She was a person of great heart and knowledge.

    1. RayMann said on November 24, 2017 at 2:32 am

      Yup, even though I’m an experienced user it tricked me. It was easy to remove, but still not a welcome gift. Shame on Avast.

  25. Anonymous said on November 19, 2017 at 9:08 am

    “Does your perception of products that are pushed via adware offers change?”
    Ad”ware” sounds like spy”ware”, mal”ware”, scare”ware” etc, my perception is aware of that.

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