CCleaner, the popular Windows file cleaning software, may install the web browser CCleaner Browser as part of the installation process if users are not careful.
CCleaner bundles third-party offers -- technically not all offers are third-party as you find Avast Browser, Avast is the parent company of Piriform which develops CCleaner, and not also CCleaner Browser, another first-party project, among the offers -- with the installer of the application.
CCleaner users who upgrade the software or install it anew using the full installer may get these offers.
The offers are checked by default and if the user does not pay attention to the installation prompt, I call them next next next users, may inadvertently install these third-party programs on their devices.
The offer to install CCleaner Browser seems to have been integrated in version 5.59 of the application; Piriform released version 5.60 recently.
A user noticed that file associations were changed on the system after the installation of CCleaner, and discovered that CCleaner Browser was suddenly installed on the device and that the program had taken over file associations. The file extensions were associated with "CCleaner HTML Document" on affected systems instead of the previous application.
A quick test with the CCleaner 5.60 installer came up short. The installer included an offer to install Avast Free Antivirus once but no other offers. It is possible that Piriform pulled the offer for the meantime or that it is only offered at times to users.
The installation option is checked by default and the listed program will be installed if the user does not uncheck the third-party offer box or boxes provided during setup. The CCleaner Browser offer includes two options: the first installs the browser, the second makes it the default. The second option affects file associations on the system if left enabled.
CCleaner users who found CCleaner Browser installed on their devices may remove it just like any other application. On Windows 10, you'd use Windows-I to open the Settings application, and select Apps to display the list of installed programs. CCleaner Browser should be on that list and you can select it to uninstall it from the system. It may still be necessary to change file associations afterwards if they were changed during installation of CCleaner.
Tip: if you need to use CCleaner, and not one of the clean alternatives such as Bleachbit, then you may want to disable automatic updates and start using the portable version of CCleaner instead as it comes without offers. Check out our guide on using CCleaner without installing it here.
CCleaner admin Dave revealed on the official forum that Piriform was working on a new installer with a new design that the company wants to launch soon.
CCleaner Browser is a Chromium-based browser similarly to Avast Secure Browser that includes certain protective features such as ad-blocking or anti-fingerprinting by default.
Update: Avast provided the following statement:
We are in the process of rolling out our CCleaner Browser which we are currently offering to a limited number of our users, and as a preview version via our website, in order to gain early user feedback before the full launch to all our customers. We're also currently tweaking the CCleaner Browser so users with PDFs set to open in a desktop app will continue to have this functionality. We're now also working on making the installer more visible with yes or no options to install CCleaner Browser and set it as the default browser.
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