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How to Tweak Windows

The most popular way is to use a program to help you tweak. Microsoft offers such a program, it is called TweakUI, which stands for Tweaking the User Interface. TweakUI doesn’t get installed during the normal Windows setup, you have to install it manually. The reason for that is that it was written by some Microsoft programmers in their spare time for fun and is not officially supported by Microsoft. As a matter of fact, Microsoft decided not to include it on the installation CD for most Windows versions, but made it available as an optional download from their website.

Installing TweakUI for Windows XP

  • Download TweakUI from http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/pro/downloads/powertoys.asp and save the file into a folder on your hard drive
  • Now open Windows Explorer, go to the folder where you saved the file. Double-click the downloaded file, it should be named tweakuipowertoysetup.exe.
  • A wizard will walk you through the installation process
  • Once it is installed, go to Start / Programs / Powertoys for Windows XP, and click the icon called TweakUI for Windows XP to launch TweakUI.

Installing TweakUI for Windows 95, 98, ME, NT, or Windows 2000

  • Download TweakUI from http://www.microsoft.com/ntworkstation/downloads/PowerToys/Networking/NTTweakUI.asp and save the file into a folder on your hard drive
  • Now open Windows Explorer, go to the folder where you saved the file. Double-click the downloaded file, it should be named tweakui.exe, to extract the files in it.
  • One of the files you should see now is named TweakUI.inf. Right-click on it and select Install.
    In case you see several files called tweakui but cannot see the extensions, in Explorer go to View / Folder Options / View, and deselect Hide File Extensions for known File Types.
  • Once it is installed, go to Start / Settings / Control Panel, and click the icon called TweakUI to launch TweakUI.

Now you see a window with several tabs across the top. Take a few minutes and go through all of them. Under the “Mouse” tab you’ll find options to change the speed at which menus pop out from the Start menu, and the speed of your mouse. Under General, you can specify your own “special” folders, telling Windows to look elsewhere if you keep your files somewhere other than in My Documents, or you prefer a location other than Favorites for your bookmarks. Under Explorer, you can get rid of the little arrow on shortcuts and even the words Shortcut to … from shortcut titles. Under Desktop, you can add or remove icons that normally cannot be removed from the desktop. Under Boot, you can customize your boot sequence. Under Paranoia, you can clear places in Windows that keep track of things you’ve done such as sites you’ve visited. Have a look around.

TweakUI is great, but if you liked what it can do, then wait until you see what this other program can do. It’s called X-Setup and you can download it at this web site: http://www.xteq.com/products/xset/index.html

X-Setup does pretty much all that TweakUI does plus a whole lot more; it’s a more advanced tweaker program. It will take you a while to go through all the available options and there are too many to mention them all here, but you’ll like them. They range from very useful to downright silly. Give it a try.

Enjoy!

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