How-To Geek

How to Automatically Clean Your Linux PC with Cruftbuster


Do you have folders filled with myriad of files that need a serious spring cleaning ? If you do, we have Cruftbuster, an automated self-cleaning tool for Linux, to sort out your messy folders.

Well, you can always move these files, or trash them, but why bother doing that if you can have your computer do that automatically for you. This is exactly what Cruftbuster does; It is a freeware for Linux to organize your files, inspired by the famous Belvedere by Adam Pash of Lifehacker.

Editor’s Note: this piece of open-source software was created by Zainul Franciscus, a writer here at How-To Geek. Naturally, we need a disclaimer, so if this breaks your PC or deletes the wrong files, don’t blame us. Backup your data!

Installing Cruftbuster

We have a lot of items in our to-do list for Crufbuster, and we are working hard to iron out all the kinks. A big item in our to-do list is making a user friendly installer, but in the meanwhile, we are distributing Cruftbuster in a tar file. We have tested Cruftbuster with Ubuntu 10.10, 11.04, OpenSuse, and it works pretty well with Gnome-based desktop.

You’ll see a bunch of files with weird extensions when you extract the tar file, don’t be afraid, you can ignore most of these files.

You only need to execute to run Cruftbuster. Give it an executable privilege by typing this command in the console:

chmod +x

Alternatively, you can do this from your file explorer. Just select the “Allow executing file as program” checkbox.

Once you have done this, run Cruftbuster from the command line, or simply double click

If you only want to see Cruftbuster in your system tray when it starts, run it with the ‘-minimized’ switch.

python –minimized

Using Cruftbuster

The first thing we need to do is click the plus button on the bottom left.

Pick as many folders as you want for Cruftbuster to watch over.

Once you’ve done that, it’s time to tell Cruftbuster what to do with those folders. We do this by clicking the plus symbol on the right.

You’ll see a new window where you can add lots of rules to organize that folder. In this example, we are telling Cruftbuster to move any mp4 file into our video folder.

Cruftbuster can do a lot of things. It can move, copy, rename, delete, send files to recycle bin, or open files with your default applications. You can setup as many rules as you want.

The test button is very handy to make sure that you have setup the rule correctly.

Once you are happy with the result, click Ok to save the rule,  and you should see the rules appears in the right column.

You’ll notice that Cruftbuster has three tabs, the first tab shows all the folders that you ask Cruftbuster to watch. The next tab tells Cruftbuster how often it should empty your trash folder.

The last tab lets you configure how often Cruftbuster run the rules that you have created.

If you want to know more how Cruftbuster works, open the user guide from the help menu, and you should see a PDF that gives you all the details of Cruftbuster.

Try it out, and tell us any features that you want to have in Crufbuster. We welcome any helpful comments. If you are keen on coding, or testing, leave us your email, where we can reach you, when you fill the comments form. We promise that we’ll keep your email safe. We would like to thank two very talented coders, Asad Jibran Ahmed and Sigmund Vestergaard. Without their relentless effort in coding, and testing, we would not have Cruftbuster up and running.

Download Cruftbuster

Zainul spends his time trying to make technology more productive, whether it’s Microsoft Office applications, or learning to use web applications to save time.

  • Published 06/27/11

Comments (18)

  1. Asian Angel

    This definitely looks nice. ^_^

  2. Charles

    Too bad i dont use linux as my main OS. :( needs more gaming support

  3. cam2644

    Useful tool for those who accumulate too much and don’t keep it tidy.

  4. madAndroid

    Very cool app – looks very useful

  5. tecn0tarded

    can you make a gnome system restore? cruftbuster seems like a good idea but i can never keep my linux system intact for more than a week without reinstalling it.

  6. Dale

    can you make a gnome system restore? cruftbuster seems like a good idea but i can never keep my linux system intact for more than a week without reinstalling it….

  7. rushfan54

    Here’s a deb file I made for it.

    Great work on the program, BTW :D

  8. Alex.B

    As always, I would like to know what theming you have got going in these screenshots. If any at all. I am still on 10.04. Thanks!

  9. Andreas From

    Yay, one of the developers is Danish :)
    Did you use the Quickly project for this by any chance? Looks nice.

  10. Zainul Franciscus

    @andreas from. We use Eclipse with PyDev extension, and Glade for the UI. Quickly looks like a great tool to develop on Ubuntu, and we want to get our hands on it. Thank you for the tip =)

  11. Geet

    This is an awesome tool and I am so happy that I use Linux… It rocks!

  12. Riz

    There is something similar to this that i have used on windows. I got the link from LifeHacker. The interface is so similar. May be that version has been extended to support linux as well.

    found the link.

  13. Zainul Franciscus

    @Riz, yes, our software is inspired by Belvedere that was written by Adam Pash of Lifehacker.

  14. hotfloppy

    Great tool !!

    My suggestion:

    + Status Tab/Field with Progress Bar
    I created a rule to move all downloaded videos (big size videos) into Video folder and have to check manually either the moving process succesfully or not, or either they doing their job or not. If there is status tab/field with progress bar or something similar (just like download manager), its much easier to check.

  15. Marshall Neill

    You should check out Bleachbit. It has 2 modes, User and Root. It takes care of everything. Bleachbit is in the repositories for Ubuntu and Debian.

  16. zainulfranciscus

    @Marshal Neill thank you for the information, Cruftbuster serves a slightly different purpose than BleachBit. We recommend BleachBit in conjunction with Cruftbuster to free up disk space.

  17. Pink Panther


    “Here’s a deb file I made for it”.

    I have miscellaneous (dpkg) problems after installing your (.Deb file). You have been careless. I’m so pissed at you @rushfan54.




    …/Pink Panther

  18. rushfan54

    @Pink Panther
    I made sure to test it and it worked perfectly fine on my machine (Ubuntu 11.04). I’m not sure what to make of the errors though because I’ve never had them. The only careless thing I did in the file would be not including a maintainer line in DEBIAN/control, which would only result in a few warnings that it is missing. I promise you that my file didn’t cause any damage.

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