Windows users have a ton of system tweakers to choose from, but we love the Ultimate Windows Tweaker the most. It has a ton of different tweaks you can perform, it's portable, super lightweight and completely free.
- Customise the look and usability of Windows Explorer, the Start menu and the taskbar appearance
- Tweak the welcome screen's behaviour and change User Account Control settings
- Change how long unresponsive applications will wait before Windows kills them
- Disable advanced features like the Registry editor, Command Prompt, Task Manager and more (useful for businesses or schools)
- Change network settings, hide your computer from the network and optimise bandwidth usage
- Tweak Internet Explorer's appearance and behaviour
- Much, much more
The Ultimate Windows Tweaker has more options than you can shake a stick at. You can change everything from how Windows looks and acts to other hidden settings like changing how long applications wait before Windows kills them. What really separates the Ultimate Windows Tweaker from other tweaking apps, though, is its size, portability and resource usage. It's a very small app, clocking in at only 385kb, is super-lightweight and doesn't require any kind of installation. Just run it, enable your tweaks and throw it away if you want to. It's perfect for those little tweaks that just make Windows better.
We don't see very many downsides with the Ultimate Windows Tweaker. It could potentially be overwhelming for newer users (who might prefer something with fewer options), but other than that, it's just about perfect. Its interface is simple and pain-free to navigate, which is more than many other tweaking apps can say. Some might also note that it doesn't have any maintenance abilities, which other tweaking apps do -- however, we don't really see that as a downside since we already have our favourite maintenance apps for that. When it comes to tweaking, we like an app specifically designed for tweaking.
If you're looking for something with fewer options (perhaps so it's a little less overwhelming), try XdN Tweaker. It's a bit less feature-filled, but it's very simple to use.
There are a ton of other alternatives out there, but most of them cost money. If you're willing to drop some cash, you might like Windows 7 Manager, which lets you tweak even more settings like boot routines, as well as perform actions like retrieving software keys, deleting duplicate files and so on. Win7Zilla and Tweak7 also offer a ton of other features, but you can usually perform the same actions with a careful combination of free software (and again, we don't mind using other software for doing non "tweak"-related things like finding duplicate files).
For example, you can tweak just about anything with the Windows Registry. It won't lay it out for you in a way that you can understand, but by searching the net, you can usually find a registry tweak that'll do what you want it to. Check out our top 10 favourite registry tweaks to get started.
Lastly, while it won't give you options you didn't already have, God Mode is a pretty easy way to get quick access to every configuration option available in the Control Panel. Again, unlike the above tweakers, it can only show you options you already have -- but laid out in that way, you might catch a few options you would have otherwise missed (since the Control Panel is a disorganised cluster-you-know-what).
Again, there are a ton of tweakers out there, and we couldn't possibly feature them all, but you should be able to do just about anything with the above options. Got a favourite we didn't mention? Share it in the comments.
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