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Tweaks, now!

Train Windows to do your bidding with these geek-worthy tweaks.

TweakNow PowerPack 2009 is a free set of tools that give you the power to tweak, modify, and personalize just about every aspect of Windows and your PC. It features a fully integrated suite of modular utilities. There's a Registry Cleaner module, a nice touch in freeware since so many of them cost more than they're worth, but there's also a Registry Defragmenter that reorganizes things for speedier performance. The Windows Secrets module gives you access to more than 100 hidden Windows settings. The Virtual Desktop module lets you run as many as four different virtual desktops at once, so you can try out a wide range of looks and configurations, or keep separate desktops for work and play.

The icon-driven interface is the sort we love: simple, intuitive, and reasonably attractive in a Vista-ish way. It basically just lists its utilities in the left-hand pane, and the selected application displays in the main window. Selecting, for example, Miscellaneous Tools calls up a selection of icons for some interesting extras, including a RAM Optimizer, CD AutoRun and Auto Shutdown managers, a Process Manager, and the Virtual Desktop module. The System Information and Startup modules make it easy to manage Windows' start-up, which too easily gets gummed up with unnecessary programs. Icons simplify adding shortcuts to your favorite modules.

TweakNow PowerPack 2009 is free. New versions have enhanced support for Windows 7. Support for Google's Chrome has also been added the Track Cleaner module, which erases browsing traces and other digital footprints.

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