KleanSweep Review

very good
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Every operating system is basically made of many files and directories which, in time, fill up with some more files, some of them useful, some of them less useful and even unneeded. These files end up occupying a lot of free space, which can be used to store your personal files rather than some files nobody needs. So what can you do to free up that space? You can either search the files manually, which may take a very, very long time if your operating system was installed years ago or you can choose an easier way, that is, using a disk cleaner application. One of those applications is called KleanSweep. From what I've noticed, there aren't that many disk cleaning applications available for Linux but aren't we almost always looking for quality rather than quantity? Let's see if KleanSweep is truly a quality disk cleaning application for Linux.

In order to install KleanSweep, your system must have installed a C++ compiler, KDE 3.4.x libs, Python and optionally, Scons, which is a software construction tool included in the KleanSweep archive. Installing it is easy as it only takes two steps if Scons is already installed on your system or three steps if it isn’t. To run it after the installation is complete, type kleansweep in a terminal and press enter.

The first time I ran KleanSweep, I was logged in as root so the application sent me an information notice, recommending me to manually review all the files suggested for removal and warning me that improper use of this program may render my system unusable. Ok… that should scare-off a lot of beginners. From these messages, I can tell that KleanSweep is designed for the above average Linux user, which has some basic understanding of what can be safely deleted. Also, in the Welcome notice, there is a message from the author that says he takes no responsibility for any damages caused by the improper use of this program. So again, we are warned that this program can really damage your Linux installation. Use this program with a lot of caution and attention. You have been warned!

Even if I don't see myself as a Linux guru, I decided to take my chances and proceed, so I clicked Next and reached the scan options section. Here, I could select what to seek for: empty files, empty directories, broken symlinks, broken executables, backup files, orphaned files, dead menu entries, obsolete thumbnails and duplicated files. Out of curiosity what files will KleanSweep suggest for deletion, I've selected all of these options. Also, in this section there's a Settings button that opens the scan settings window. Here I could choose the directories to exclude from the scan, if the application will either show the progress and score column or not. Also, in this section, under the Orphaned files searching tab, I could choose what Linux distribution I was using (I'm running Fedora so I've chosen an rpm-based distro) and the directories to include or exclude. Finally, I've set “/” as a starting directory and clicked Next.

The application started by creating a list of installed files and then began searching for the files I've picked in the previous section. As a recommendation, carefully pick what files to search for because if you choose to search for all types of files, in every single one of your system's directories, the scan process can take a very, very long time. Depending on your CPU, disk, free space and number of files on your drive, the scan process can take from a couple of minutes to 3, maybe even 6 hours.

After the scan process was completed, the KleanSweep window had one tab for each file type I've chosen to search for. Let's see what this application found wrong on a Fedora Core 5 system installed about three months ago. In the first tab, Empty files, KleanSweep found some xml files, some dat and log files and some other useless files. But, unfortunately, it also suggested for removal vital files such as some gpg files, many of Wine's files and even the Trash and Drafts folders from Thunderbird's directory. Umm, that's not good. And worse, even if it found around 5000 empty files, they only had around 5MB in total size. But then again, they're only empty files.

Next, there's the Empty directories tab. Here, many of the directories suggested for removal were very useful, such as Gimp's brushes directory, again some Wine directories, some /opt/kde3 directories and even the /lost+found directory. And I've only scrolled through twenty, maybe thirty files out of thousands found. I'm almost sure now that if you delete all the files and directories suggested, without reviewing them first, your computer will most likely fail to boot on the next restart.

In the broken symlinks tab, most if not all of the results were in fact useless shortcuts and was safe to select all and delete them. But a symlink is very small in size and regardless of how many KleanSweep finds, it won't free a lot of disk space. On my system, the program found about 200 broken symlinks with a total size of 191 bytes. Not very impressive.

There weren't any results under the Broken executables tab. I guess this is a good thing.

Backup files tab had a lot of suggested for removal files, most of them were bak files created by different internet programs (bookmarks backup, IM contact list backup) or by text editors (you know, those files that end up with a “~”). This search returned about 600 files with a total size of 25mb. It's not much but it's a start.

Orphaned files… Now here are a lot of results. KleanSweep found about 6200 orphaned files, mostly image files (png, jpg), library scripts and a lot of Python-related files. They had a total of almost 500 MB. Although it's pretty impressive, I'm not sure how exactly does it recognize an orphan file, therefore, I have no idea which files are safe to delete and which aren't.

Dead menu entries tab. Again, many results (around 500) but with a very small size (around 3MB). Most of these files were .desktop files and were located in the kappfinder directory.

Obsolete thumbnails. Here, as results are returned the files in $HOME/.thumbnails. I work with a lot of pictures every day, so this step allowed me to get rid of about 2000 files with a total size of 50MB.

Finally, the Duplicated files tab. I found here A LOT of files that where suggested for removal (around 5000 when I got bored and hit stop) with a total of 200MB. There were files like cursors, Perl modules and other files you won't want to delete. Again, not a section safe to select all and delete. It will be a good idea to compare MD5sums before listing the files, this way reducing false positives.

After I've selected what files I wanted to be removed, I clicked Next and reached the Review section. Here are listed all the files I've selected under a single tab. There's also a backup option. I checked that just in case. Clicked Next again. Now I've been asked for a location where the backup archive to be saved. Finally, the selected files were first added into an archive and then removed, in the end informing me how many files were deleted, how many couldn't be deleted and how much free space I've gained.

The Good

KleanSweep is if not the first one, then among the first cleaning programs for Linux. It can be used for searching many types of unused files, such as broken symlinks or duplicated files. Searching and deleting files is a pretty automated process, you only have to review what files to be deleted or kept. It also has a backup function, just in case something goes wrong.

The Bad

If you choose to search all of your systems for useless files, the process can take a very long time. As it doesn't yet automatically make a difference between system files and ordinary files, you must manually review every file suggested for removal. This process can take up very much of your time, as there might be thousands of files returned as results.

The Truth

KleanSweep is a very useful cleaning program for Linux, as it can remove a lot of useless files from your hard drive, making your system faster and gaining some useful disk space. Unfortunately, this program doesn't yet make a difference between normal and system files so you must review each file to be sure you are not deleting vital system files. As there might be a lot of results, reviewing them will take a lot of your time. Moreover, you will have to know your way in a Linux system so you know which files should and shouldn't be deleted.

Check out some screenshots below:

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user interface 5
features 4
ease of use 3
pricing / value 5

final rating 4
Editor's review
very good
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