If I had to list anything that I don’t like about the Windows operating system, it’s the fact that some of the most basic things that you may want to “tweak” end up buried somewhere in some obscure Control System menu option.
Seriously, why do programs that launch when the PC turns on have to be in both the Startup folder OR the Windows Registry? Isn’t one place good enough? Why is it so hard to keep so much junk from filling our hard drives? Between log files, cache files and other types of history files, you’re lucky if your hard drive stays empty beyond your first year of computer use – especially if you install a lot of apps.
Your first stop, if you want to tune your PC and get it working in prime condition, is Tina’s Windows On Speed Manual. I have family and friends who told me it made their computer run like new. However, if you don’t feel confident digging through Windows yourself, there are apps out there that will make the job easier for you. One example is an app called FreshUI that I covered previously. It wasn’t the prettiest app however, and some areas were rather complicated and difficult to understand.
A Simpler Way To “Tweak” Windows
I’ve discovered a similar app called TweakNow PowerPack that not only allows you to tweak different aspects of your Windows experience, but it also lets you enhance it with tools like Virtual Desktops and a Windows cleaner that is just as thorough as CCleaner, the old and reliable PC cleaner that Mark covered years ago. In my testing I found that TweakNow scanned just as thoroughly (maybe even more so), although not quite as quickly as CCleaner. This feature is the “Disk Cleaner” under the “Windows Cleaner” tab.
As you can see on the top menu bar in this section alone, there are a number of other cleaning features available. You can clean or defrag your registry (warning – defrag can take a long time), you can find where you’re wasting space on your hard drive with the Disk Usage Analyzer and clean any tracking cookies you don’t want off your computer with Track Cleaner. The registry cleaner is fast and efficient.
The Startup Manager tool is very cool. It shows you every application that’s configured to launch when your computer boots, whether it’s in the Startup folder or buried in the Registry.
If you see anything questionable or some app you forgot you installed and you don’t want anymore, just delete it from the list and it’ll never trouble you during your system boot again.
When I first clicked on the System Information tab, I wasn’t really terribly impressed. All I saw was the same basic system information you’d be able to quickly find in your control panel. It wasn’t until I clicked on “More” when the top icons showed up and it was clear just how thorough this tool is. You can see just about every detail you could imagine about every component of your system in this tool – including your hard drive, memory, your motherboard and your network.
This app isn’t about getting system information though, it’s all about making tweaking Windows so easy that even a non-programmer can do it. The Miscellanous Tools tab is where you’ll find some of those types of tools. For example, click on the TweakNow Shortcut icon to configure Windows to assign a high priority level to a specific application that you want the majority of CPU resources devoted to while it’s running.
The beauty of this is that if you have games or visual apps that are resource-intensive, you can make sure your processor is working as hard as possible on that program, and setting aside other “tasks.” Another cool tool in here is of course the Virtual Desktop. This is similar to the two virtual desktop tools Aibek covered a while back. As you can see, this application is just a bundle of some of the coolest Windows tweaks and utilities.
There are a lot of other tools packed into all of these areas, so take some time to explore them. But one of the most important areas I want to cover is the Windows Secret tab.
This is an area that’s just jam packed with the sort of Windows OS hacks that I covered in the Windows Detective article, except these hacks aren’t just limited to Windows. In this area you can modify the look and behavior of core Windows components like how control panel elements behave, as well as tweaking network properties like SACK and MTU.
Off to the left there’s a “Core” icon where you can even hack some “core” elements of the operating system like what Windows should prefetch, time-out times before killing “hung” applications, reducing use of Virtual Memory, and a lot more. For anyone that’s not a hacker to have such easy access to this stuff is both exciting and scary at the same time. Tread carefully…
Most applications like this, I tend to overlook because there are just so many of them – but this one is different simply because it doesn’t only do one thing, it has a whole bundle of useful tools that can really help you keep your PC clean, well tuned and running faster and more efficiently than you ever thought possible.
Give TweakNow a try and let us know how it went. Did it perform as well or better than any other tools out there to tune your PC? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.