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How To Clean Up Junk Files In Ubuntu Using Ubuntu Cleaner

Free Up Disk Space Efficiently with Ubuntu Cleaner: A How-To Guide

By sk
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One thing we often overlook in our Ubuntu system is regular cleanup of junk files. Sooner or later, we find our hard disk is running out of space. There are several ways to clean up these unnecessary files and old kernels. Although we can manually delete them, there are handy applications available to simplify this task. We have previously covered how to effectively remove old kernels using the purge-old-kernels utility. In this tutorial, we'll explore how to clean up junk files in Ubuntu and its derivatives such as Linux Mint, Elementary OS, and Pop OS, using Ubuntu Cleaner.

What is Ubuntu Cleaner?

Ubuntu Cleaner is a tool that helps you to clean up your Ubuntu or derivative system by removing old kernels, package configurations, and other unnecessary files to free up space. It is often used as an alternative to the now discontinued Ubuntu Tweak application.

Ubuntu Cleaner is a fork of the 'Computer Janitor' module from the long-discontinued Ubuntu Tweak utility. As you may already know, Ubuntu Tweak was discontinued years ago and is no longer under development. The developer of Ubuntu Cleaner took the Computer Janitor module from Ubuntu Tweak, refurbished it, and released it under a new name: Ubuntu Cleaner. It is entirely free to use and is released under the GPLv3 license.

Features

Key features of Ubuntu Cleaner include:

  1. Removal of unneeded packages or old kernels.
  2. Cleaning up of cache from popular web browsers, which can free up space.
  3. Cleaning up of old configuration files and unneeded locales or language packs.
  4. A user-friendly interface that makes system cleanup easy and accessible.

Install Ubuntu Cleaner

We can install Ubuntu Cleaner from its official PPA.

To install Ubuntu Cleaner in Ubuntu, just run the following commands:

$ sudo apt install software-properties-common
$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:gerardpuig/ppa
$ sudo apt update
$ sudo apt install ubuntu-cleaner

For other unsupported Ubuntu versions, you can download the latest .deb file and install it manually like below.

$ wget https://launchpad.net/~gerardpuig/+archive/ubuntu/ppa/+files/ubuntu-cleaner_1.0.4-1_all.deb
$ sudo apt install ./ubuntu-cleaner_1.0.4-1_all.deb
$ rm ubuntu-cleaner_1.0.4-1_all.deb

Clean up Junk Files using Ubuntu Cleaner in Ubuntu

Heads Up: Remember, like any tool that makes system-level changes, Ubuntu Cleaner should be used with caution. Always make sure your data is backed up before performing any cleanup tasks.

Launch Ubuntu Cleaner from Dash or Menu.

Launch Ubuntu Cleaner
Launch Ubuntu Cleaner

The default interface of Ubuntu Cleaner will look like below.

Ubuntu Cleaner Interface
Ubuntu Cleaner Interface

As you can see, Ubuntu Cleaner will remove the following:

  • App caches
  • Browser caches
  • Apt cache
  • Package config files
  • Unneeded packages
  • Thumbnail cache
  • Old kernels

Select the files you want to clean up and hit the Clean button on the lower right corner.

Clean up Junk Files in Ubuntu with Ubuntu Cleaner
Clean up Junk Files in Ubuntu with Ubuntu Cleaner

Ubuntu Cleaner will start to clean up the files that you have selected.

Congratulations! Your Ubuntu system is free from junk files.

Ubuntu system is cleaned with Ubuntu Cleaner
Ubuntu system is cleaned with Ubuntu Cleaner

Uninstall Ubuntu Cleaner

Not happy with Ubuntu Cleaner?, run the following commands to remove it (I think you won't).

$ sudo apt-get remove ubuntu-cleaner
$ sudo apt-get autoremove

And finally remove the PPA.

$ sudo add-apt-repository -r ppa:gerardpuig/ppa

Frequently Asked Questions

Question 1: What is Ubuntu Cleaner?

Answer: Ubuntu Cleaner is a system utility designed to clean up unnecessary files in an Ubuntu system to free up space and improve system performance. It's a fork of the 'Computer Janitor' module from the now-discontinued Ubuntu Tweak utility.

Question 2: Is Ubuntu Cleaner free to use?

Answer: Yes, Ubuntu Cleaner is completely free to use. It's released under the GPLv3 license.

Question 3: How does Ubuntu Cleaner help improve system performance?

Answer: Ubuntu Cleaner helps improve system performance by removing old kernels, package configurations, cache from web browsers, and other unnecessary files that take up space and slow down your system.

Q4: Is Ubuntu Cleaner safe to use?

Answer: Generally, Ubuntu Cleaner is safe to use. However, like any tool that makes system-level changes, it should be used with caution. Always make sure your data is backed up before performing any cleanup tasks.

Q5: How can I install Ubuntu Cleaner?

Answer: Ubuntu Cleaner can be installed from its official PPA. You can then update your system and install Ubuntu Cleaner with the apt install command.

Question 6: Can I use Ubuntu Cleaner on other Linux distributions?

Answer: Ubuntu Cleaner is specifically designed for Ubuntu and its derivatives. It may not work properly or could potentially cause issues if used on other distributions.

Question 7: Can I customize what Ubuntu Cleaner removes?

Answer: Yes, Ubuntu Cleaner allows you to select which categories of files to clean up, giving you control over what gets removed from your system.

Question 8: Ubuntu Tweak is discontinued. Is Ubuntu Cleaner also discontinued?

Answer: No, while Ubuntu Tweak is discontinued, Ubuntu Cleaner, a fork of one of its modules, continues to be maintained and developed.

Conclusion

Ubuntu Cleaner is a highly efficient, user-friendly tool designed to help you maintain the cleanliness of your Ubuntu system. It is a powerful utility to free up system space by removing unnecessary files, such as outdated kernels, excess cache from web browsers, unused package configurations, and unneeded locales or language packs.

The Ubuntu Cleaner application comes in handy especially when your system is loaded with obsolete data or after a system upgrade, allowing you to safely dispose of residual configurations and files, thereby reclaiming valuable storage space. Ubuntu Cleaner makes the process of system cleanup easier even to non-technical users with the help of its user-friendly GUI.

However, it is always advised to proceed with caution while using system-level tools. Ensuring a backup of your data before performing any cleanup tasks can prevent potential data loss.

Is your hard drive running out of space? Just install Ubuntu Cleaner and purge-old-kernels utility and get rid of the junk files and older kernels that are no longer necessary. Both are must-have utilities in your Ubuntu system.

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12 comments

ChiefH December 15, 2016 - 3:48 pm

I still have Ubuntu Tweak on my 16.04LTS computer and other than the applications tab, all parts of it still work. Iuse the Janitor before each kernel update to make room for the update. I leave the last kernal for use if the newest kernel update does not work correctly or has problems.

How is Ubuntu Cleaner improved from the Janitor?

Reply
SK December 16, 2016 - 6:44 am

Nothing improved as far as I tested it. The developer of ubuntu cleaner just picked up the Janitor module and released it under new name.

Reply
Dick Pilz December 15, 2016 - 4:08 pm

The program would launch and stop responding on my 6-month-old Lenovo IdeaPad w/8GB running 16.04 LTS, repeatedly. No error or warning messages from it.

Glad you posted the removal commands.

Reply
SK December 16, 2016 - 6:45 am

I tested it on my Ubuntu 16.04 LTS machine. It worked well. I use DELL Inspiron model laptop.

Reply
mrtoo January 23, 2017 - 4:12 pm

I still use Ubuntu Tweak as well on the UM 16.04. Seems to work well. Bleachbit always seems to get me in trouble.

Reply
Yan February 20, 2019 - 7:35 pm

Seems like this Ubuntu Cleaner is copletely broken, it throws one exception after another saying that some services not found. So I dont know why it dont require dependencies as every normal app does, but for me it seems quite stupid to manually search what dependencies are missing. I just thrown this program to trash. Linux Mint 17 (based on Ubuntu 14.04.5 LTS).

Reply
Jeff Dingle February 3, 2021 - 8:52 pm

After many years succesfully using Ubuntu-Tweak on Ubuntu and Lubuntu machines I had to upgrade to 18.04 LTS on one 32bit machine and could only succesfully install Ubuntu-Cleaner (the Jaintor cleaning part of Ubuntu-Tweak). All went well and so did the cleaning part until it failed to remove the old kernels and old package configs, leaving the following message:

You are not allowed to perform this action
You do not have the required privileges to perform this action

Details: org.freedesktop.PolicyKit.Error.Failed: (‘system-bus-name’)

I assume that I need further permissions, i.e. to enter my admin password at this point (as was required with Ubuntu-Tweak) but unfortunately there is no option to do this. Is there a solution to this problem so that these files can be removed with the password method or perhaps does it require some further typing in the terminal to achieve the same effect…
I hope that the answer is out there somewhere – and I look foward to a solution with anticipated breath. The rest of Ubuntu-Cleaner seems fine and I am pleased to say a big THANK YOU and WELL DONE to Gerard for sticking with this project.
Thanking you in advance for any help and assistance….

Reply
sk February 4, 2021 - 11:39 am

Launch Ubuntu with sudo permission and try again.

Reply
Jeff Dingle February 4, 2021 - 5:26 pm

Thank you SK for the heads up about running Ubuntu Cleaner from the terminal with the sudo permissio. It worked well, opened Ubuntu Cleaner and I was able to succesfully clear the old kernels and old package configs, etc. Closed the application in the normal way, which then completed the terminal command sequence and I was then able to safely close the terminal.

Just another question – instead of using the terminal each time, is it possible to use the terminal or the text editor within the app to allow it to always run from the sudo command automatically or is that a bad idea?

Once again many thanks for you help and assistance – it has been greatly appreciated. Best regards….

Reply
sk February 4, 2021 - 7:02 pm

Glad I could help. Regards.

Reply
Butch Owens April 17, 2023 - 5:03 pm

Can you tell me if Ubuntu Cleaner will work in Ubuntu 22.04 Should it be installed from web page and also PPA?

Reply
sk April 19, 2023 - 11:13 am

The project is actively being developed, so It should work in recent Ubuntu versions.

Reply

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