Generally speaking, there is not much need to install and run a bunch of utilities on a modern PC. Windows has become much safer and more robust and takes care of many tasks behind the scenes. However, having a good all-purpose utility is frequently handy, especially for power-users.
A new all-around utility, just recently released, is version 3 of Ultimate Windows Tweaker. This latest update is made especially for Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 and allows you to easily tweak Windows 8 and 8.1 without scrambling for all the configuration options. Those on previous operating systems can continue to use the last version of the software.
What to Expect
The file comes packaged as a ZIP, and is a quick download, extraction and installation. Once installed, it will launch automatically, displaying the first of several categories. Those are listed down the left column, with the top one being “System Information.”
As you can see above, this contains all of the basic information about your system, including Windows version, processor, amount of RAM and more. Further below are options for recovery and System File Checker (SFC).
Moving down the left column, you will find “Customization” next. This allows for a number of options, such as minimum and maximum size for image thumbnails, removing information from the notification area (including the clock), and even just flat out getting rid of the taskbar. There are even choices to be made about Explorer and the Modern UI.
Up next is “User Accounts.” This seems more geared toward a business computer, or one that is shared within a home. There are ways of locking things down to a certain degree – requiring a user name be entered at sign-in for instance, or placing a login message on an account.
Next up is “Performance,” which has options for tweaking such things as task kill time, search indexer on and off and even modifying the L2 Cache space. All can speed up a system. The developer offers caution when messing with this, especially for the uninitiated — “While most of these settings are best left at their default values, this panel gives you quick access to change them, should you wish to. Just make sure that you know what you are doing and don’t tweak for the sake of tweaking”.
Now we move on to Security, and the ability to lock things down further, very handy for those with children in the house who may feel inclined to experiment on your system. Such things as Control Panel and Registry Editor can be shut off, and even seemingly innocuous options like Window Media Center access can be prevented.
Second from last on the list is Internet Explorer. I’ll save my breath on this, as I’d be willing to bet many of you don’t use it. Instead we shall drop down to the bottom (save for the “About” page) and look briefly at “Additional.” As the name implies, this is a catch-all for everything that doesn’t quite fit the mold elsewhere. But there are some intriguing items listed here, like the ability to turn off auto-play, set taskbar icon size and several choices in the networking arena.
While some of these tweaks are available in other areas of the operating system, finding them would certainly leave users scrambling. Others, you simply wouldn’t have easy access to at all. Bringing them all together in one location makes the task much easier. As a bonus, the utility is free and well-structured.