Product: Tweak UI
License: Free to download and use with licensed copies of Windows XP.
Tweak UI ("tweak user interface") is one of the individual Microsoft PowerToys for Windows XP that can be downloaded directly from Microsoft.com at www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/Downloads/powertoys/Xppowertoys.mspx . What about Tweak UI for Vista? Sorry, apparently Microsoft has not released a Tweak UI for Vista. A third party has released a product Tweak VI that is reported to provide some of the functionality.
First, let’s look at Microsoft’s description of the tool…
This PowerToy gives you access to system settings that are not exposed in the Windows XP default user interface, including mouse settings, Explorer settings, taskbar settings, and more.
Version 2.10 requires Windows XP Service Pack 1 or Windows Server 2003.
While their description is short, it does not do justice to the capabilities of Tweak UI. Let’s look at some of the many functions of Tweak UI.
First, in the left image below, we see the program display when first opened.
In the right image below, I have expanded the menu structure (using the + signs that appeared by default) to show the list of all the control screens available — well, really just all that would show in that image.
In the right-hand panel of the right image below, we see some of the settings that can be controlled via the General tab. Notice also that there is a vertical scrollbar, indicating more settings that can be controlled from there.
For the left image below, I’ve scrolled down the left panel so we can see more of the types of customizations available — and I’ve clicked on Desktop, so we can see the control for displaying Windows’ own Desktop icons.
For the left image below, I’ve scrolled down the left panel so we can see more of the types of customizations available — and I’ve clicked on Autologon. Notice that you can control automatic logon to the system upon system startup (including reboots/restarts). If you have multiple user ID’s on your computer, you can specify which user ID is automatically logged on.
The next image on the left shows the Repair options available as the last selection via the left-hand panel.
The image below on the right shows the options available under Access Control.
Bottom Line: Tweak UI provides a great consolidated interface for controlling many options in Windows XP. Without Tweak UI, we can change some of these, but the options are scattered throughout Windows’ various dialog boxes. Using Tweak UI, we have the options in one place.