Neat tweaks

Make useful tweaks and changes to Windows with this free toolkit.

XdN Tweaker is a freeware system utility that bundles together a wide range of useful tweaks and tools for Windows. Most of its tools are built-in Windows capabilities that XdN Tweaker collects into a single interface that makes them easier to access. It's got something for nearly every Windows user, too: Vista and Windows 7 users can restore features from previous versions, such as the Windows 2000 user control panel icon, while those users who prefer time-tested versions like 2000 and XP can add some up-to-date features.

Many of XdN Tweaker's tools require Administrative privileges, so we right-clicked the program's Start Menu icon and selected Run as Administrator. XdN Tweaker's interface is a properties dialog box, more or less, and that's all it needs to be. No Help file is needed since every feature has a clear explanation attached. A menu on the left side lists its considerable complement of tools, as well as About, Information, and Links & Updates Pages. We started with the Information page, which summarized our system info as well as offered useful cautions about tweaks. A red exclamation point icon designates tweaks that make significant changes to the Registry or system settings that "can change the functionality in undesirable ways." The first tool, UAC and Logon, adds Window 7-like functionality to Vista's User Account Control; the next entry, System Misc, let us disable the automatic reboot feature in Windows Updates and authorize Windows to install minor updates that don't require rebooting. Some Windows 7 and Vista users miss an easy way to enable or disable hibernation; the next tool took care of that and also let us keep admin shares enabled when the UAC is open in Win7 and Vista. Other entries are labeled Right Click I & II, Security, Files & Folders (three of these), Interface (three of these, too), and File Associations, as well as Internet Explorer and access to msconfig, Performance Options, and the Sound Mixer under More Tools.

One of our favorite tools let us remove the text from shortcuts. We were also able to disable ATI's Catalyst Control Center (for ATI graphics cards) and enable regional themes. This free tool offers more than we can summarize.

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