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Tweak central

Optimize Windows with this free administrative console.

Built-in administrative tools let you configure and even customize how Windows works. You can change everything from start-up to display and folder options, but the controls aren't all in one place. They generally require a bit of knowledge and experience to get the most out of them without making things worse, all the more so when the Windows Registry is involved. GIGATweaker from 7room C0DE is a powerful tool for optimizing Windows that not only collects Windows' built-in functions in one console-style interface, but also offers clear explanations of what each change does as well as its implications for the rest of your system.

When you install the program, you're prompted to create a system restore point since GIGATweaker changes the Registry, and we highly recommend following this advice. GIGATweaker's interface combines a side navigation panel accessing Administrative, Display, and Customization features with a tabbed main display specific for each entry; for instance, clicking Security in the Administrative menu calls up tabs accessing the User Account Controls, Action Center, and Windows Update. The Customization features have the most potential for drastic changes, with system optimization and memory management controls that can increase system stability, restart the desktop and taskbar automatically after crashes, and other tweaks; again, GIGATweaker does an excellent job of clearly explaining each. The Forced Blue Screen feature on the Advanced tab in Customization/Optimization is an interesting alternative to the reset button. It calls a "blue screen of death" when you press Ctrl-Scroll Lock twice. Perhaps the best thing about GIGATweaker is the way it centralizes options so you can make only those that actually help and avoid unnecessary and even harmful changes.

Tweaking Windows can jazz up your system or crash it, depending on the changes you make, and it's good to know not only how each change affects a particular function but also its potential effects on the rest of your system. Though GIGATweaker is hardly an entry-level administrative tool, it does a fine job of explaining what it does, and how, and why.

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