Panda Cloud Cleaner – the good, the bad and the ugly

Everyone knows that it is important to have anti virus and anti spyware software on their Windows computer. It just isn't safe to browse the internet without it. By and large, most people do have security software on their computer, whether it is a free package or one that they have paid for.

Sometimes though, you are convinced you have malware on the computer because it just isn't running right. How did it slip through your security software? Panda Cloud Cleaner is able to give you a second opinion by scanning the computer for malware and offering to clean it afterwards. It's free and there are good, bad and ugly bits.

Panda Cloud Cleaner

The software can be downloaded for free from pandacloudcleaner.pandasecurity.com and it is then installed on the disk drive. The installed size is around 100MB, which is about half or one third of the size of many anti virus/spyware software packages.

It doesn't load anything with Windows and while this means that it will not prevent malware from installing (it is a clean-up tool only), and it will not interfere with the running of your existing security software. Basically, it is a backup tool that you can use to confirm that your security software hasn't missed anything or to help clean up if it has.

Panda Cloud Cleaner

To scan the disk drive for malware you just click the Accept and Scan button. The advanced options are for a boot-time scan, which may enable it to detect rootkits better. The scanner is fast, which is useful because you aren't sitting around for hours waiting for it to finish.

However, it also means that it is likely to be what full security software calls a quick scan - a scan of just the areas most likely to contain malware, rather than every file on the disk drive. This is fine though and the performance is good.

Panda Cloud Cleaner

 

What's bad though, and this is a criticism not just of Panda Cloud Cleaner, is that it over-states the seriousness of some items it finds. In the screen shot above, you can see that it found two Malware & PUPs (potentially unwanted programs). Non-technical people will immediately assume that their computer has been infected with something serious like a virus, Trojan and so on, but actually all it found was a couple of cookies from advertisers on the web.

Have you ever seen a website that didn't have any adverts? It's impossible to avoid advertisers' cookies unless you disable cookies in the web browser settings, but then many websites won't work. It is wrong to classify ad cookies as malware. Advertisers try to identify what type of people view their ads, such as male or female, young or old, interested in fast cars or cookery, and so on, but is this malware? Not really.

Panda Cloud Cleaner

The ugly bit came at the end as this screen shot shows. It cleaned my PC and removed the malware (advertisers' cookies), but then this message was displayed. If removal was successful, why do I need to call them to complete the process? I could understand the message if removal was not successful, but it was. That heading and the messages below are really just to trick you into calling that number. You don't need to.

That's a free-phone number, so call it if you want, but you'll probably end up talking to a sales person. It's fine to advertise in freeware and it is a valid way of gaining new customers. It is just the wording that irritates me.

Panda Cloud Cleaner is recommended, because although it has a couple of irritations, on the whole it is a very useful tool to have on your PC. It is free and it will work alongside your existing security software as a backup and extra clean-up tool.


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6 Comments on Panda Cloud Cleaner – the good, the bad and the ugly

  1. Maekail Bawkher // 2015/12/30 at 13:41 //

    You are very lucky this software didn’t hamr your system.

    Panda Cloud Cleaner rendered all my Windows 10 store apps unusable!

    Thank god I had a system image available to fix the damage caused.

    This software is like a loose cannon, it kills registry keys and files that are important to Windows 10 that normal users cannot fix when things go wrong!

    Users should stay away from Panda Cloud Cleaner like the plague.

    • This appears to be an isolated problem and not a general one. I haven’t used it recently because I’ve been running Panda Internet Security and so I don’t need it, but Googling it didn’t turn up a lot of complaints, as it would if it were a common problem.

      Were you trying to clean up an adware or virus infection? That could be the source of the problem instead of Cloud Cleaner.

      • Maekail Bawkher // 2015/12/30 at 14:15 //

        Hi Roland,

        I was trailing the tool. It had found some suspicious registry entries, some tracking cookies etc.

        Foolishly I clicked clean all after which I discovered my windows store, photos app etc. we’re not opening.

        After restoring to an image I created earlier all the apps returned to normal behavior.

        My guess is that Panda has not optimized their signatures resulting in false positives.

        Only by having a good backup regimen was I able to resolve my issue. I feel dread for anyone who doesn’t have a backup and then has to repair their windows installation to replace a single file (or registry key) that cloud cleaner has deleted.

    • I just downloaded it and ran it on Windows 10. I let it fix a minor problem. Windows is still running fine.

      A common complaint I encounter is people that say “I ran program XYZ and now my computer doesn’t work.” Weird stuff sometimes happens, which is why we need backups.

      • Maekail Bawkher // 2015/12/30 at 15:34 //

        Agreed, a lot of times I read that as well wishing people would go into more detail about what caused their computer’s behavior to change after using program XYZ.

        All I know is that my Windows 10 store app and other apps stopped working after completing a scan using Panda Cloud Cleaner.

        Restoring a system image made just before running the scan allowed me to use the apps again.

        I am only airing a word of caution 🙂

      • Maekail Bawkher // 2015/12/30 at 16:49 //

        I would instead recommend MalwareBytes as it offers roll back options in case something goes wrong.

        A feature that Panda Cloud Cleaner does not appear to offer at first glance.

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