Windows

XTweak: The Right Tool for the Job?

XTweak

By: Anthony Sullivan

I've been using Windows since Windows 3.11. With every new version, it seems that the annoying fluff and bloat has compelled someone to write an application to tweak and improve Windows performance.

That was what I thought I was getting with XTweak, but XTweak seems to tout a little more functionality. Let's take a look and see what it can do.

Read a concise summary of XTweak's strengths and weaknesses in this blog post.

You can download a trial copy of XTweak from the TechRepublic Software Library.

After installing and loading XTweak, this is the first screen you will see. XTweak can clean and optimize your registry, which can be valuable. If you do this, however, I recommend that you create a backup beforehand.

39 comments
said_asfandiyar
said_asfandiyar

It is better than nothing .You need to improove it to remove unknown accounts hacking computers and to limit access in control login and unwanted guests and anonymos users whome they login to the computers. SAID ALSAID ,MANILA PHILIPPINES 12 september,2007

kush13
kush13

all silliness expressed here need to be more serious here

phnash
phnash

Oops! "unknown software exception 0x40000015 occurred .. at 0x781346b6" Anyone else get this?

dmerrill
dmerrill

All this flaming back and forth is a waste of my and everyone else's time. As someone said, this is a technical forum, not a boxing match.

Cajun70122
Cajun70122

I was glad to read about XTweak. Anthony reviewed it, none of the others gave that effort. Anthony, that's the price of being in the public eye these days, but thanks for the review and keep them coming.

Agent 77
Agent 77

"it is recommended that you set a system restore point before making any major changes in your system architecture. I have no idea how to do this in Windows, but here in XTweak it is as easy as pie." This says it all to me..... If the writer doesn't know how to set a restore point in Windows; then clearly he/she NEEDS this program.

ShadyHouse
ShadyHouse

Supposedly clean install (no messages/abends) BUT it will not run (no messages/abends)! Sorry chaps/chapesses, won't waste my time on this one.

brendonf
brendonf

"I'm as bad as anyone about this, but it is recommended that you set a system restore point before making any major changes in your system architecture. I have no idea how to do this in Windows, but here in XTweak it is as easy as pie." No offense, but with a remark like this regarding having no idea how to set a restore point in Windows, I'm not inclined to believe anything this evaluator has to say about XTweak...or anything else. Honestly. What gives here?

rickoh
rickoh

ok for IE6 but dosnt do much for IE7. eg:...cannot hide address bar in IE7 but you can in IE6. also....kind of confusing as to what the red dots with check mark mean or green with x's in it. experimenting I found out how to activate a setting. also...no help tab. the expanations are a little too short as to what each setting does. nice animation though.

iain.dingsdale
iain.dingsdale

"Pretty much every element of your start menu can be shown or hidden with a setting in the registry. Large corporations often have tools to hide and show these items, but there aren't any interfaces for it built into Windows." Local group policy can hide pretty much everything shown, and is a standard part of XP. Not as user friendly, but it is there.

seichorn
seichorn

After reading the article on XTweak, it seems like a good half of the program belongs in the Dept. of redundancy Dept. Like most of all the "tweak" stuff out there.

juan
juan

You are right, I am also testing it on 2 Servers one on a Pentium3 and on a pentium 4 Zeon with 2 Dual Xeons. I t works fine on the Pentium 4 Xeon Server, and the pentium 3 it hogs the cpu when running.

anthony
anthony

I think the first guy to reply had trouble running it as well. What OS are you running?

a_greiner
a_greiner

To begin, I am a hardware geek, and don't even pretend to understand the mindset of any programmer, but I do understand their tight focus on logical progression and features. That said, I occasionally use marginally useful software such as tweakers, simply because they gather useful information and/or features into a single interface that facilitates my tasking. I don't have to understand the entire O/S structure in order to mount hardware or update firmware, I just have to understand what the system needs to know to utilize the equipment or drivers in an optimum manner. If a programmer wants to evaluate a tweaker, let him. He/she may show us a different viewpoint that gives us a new look at how we perform our mission. Personally, thanks for the review.

Raymond Danner
Raymond Danner

Like too many of Microsoft's tools, System Restore is not intuitive, nor is it especially easy to get to, thus, many don't make as many Restore Points as they ought. Perhaps that is what the reviewer intended to indicate.

Absolutely
Absolutely

Actually, I did not write that article, but I know there is at least one good reason for a computer-literate journalist to NOT know how to use the System Restore feature in Windows. I tried that feature soon after it was introduced, when I installed XP SP1. The feature couldn't find its own nose in broad daylight. To be exact, I set a restore point, installed a device driver, rebooted, then tried to return the system to its previous state. Long story short: reformat/reinstall, and I handle system recovery the proper way: with full & incremental backups [b]on a separate volume[/b].

Absolutely
Absolutely

Actually, I did not write that article, but I know there is at least one good reason for a computer-literate journalist to NOT know how to use the System Restore feature in Windows. I tried that feature soon after it was introduced, when I installed XP SP1. The feature couldn't find its own nose in broad daylight. To be exact, I set a restore point, installed a device driver, rebooted, then tried to return the system to its previous state. Long story short: reformat/reinstall, and I handle system recovery the proper way: with full & incremental backups [b]on a separate volume[/b].

mvondran
mvondran

Honestly I think the best person to review a piece of software is someone most like the people who may be using it. How else will you get an honest review regarding its ease of use, or how valuable it is to the end user. Rather he is a tech person or not makes no difference, all that matters is did he honestly and accurately portray what he felt were the good and bad qualities of the software he was reviewing. I for one think it was a great review regardless of what I think of the software

anthony
anthony

Well if you're actually interested and not just trolling you can find out anything you really need to know about me on m profile that is linked on the first page. As to not knowing how to set a restore point? I'm not an Ops person. I write software for a living. I've never had to do it so I've never had to look it up. It's that simple. If that doesn't make me a geek enough for you then please by all means skip me reviews. :) Cheers, Anthony

phnash
phnash

XP /SP2 with all current patches/updates

Absolutely
Absolutely

to the point just before I refreshed the page that failed to load, which in turn resulted in that duplicate post. The Windows Restore point feature just uses differential data, not a backup copy of all the data, and in a nutshell when I have a problem that motivates me to use any kind of "restore" technology, I don't trust one based on a differential, which is defined in comparison to the [b]known malfunctioning state[/b] that I'm trying to change. The fact that the author does not know anything about Windows System Restore does not in the slightest lead me to conclude that s/he is ignorant of the facts that are important to an IT professional.

nacht
nacht

You mean you can't take 15 seconds to click Start > Help and Support > type RESTORE POINT in the Search box, then click "Create a Restore Point"??

Tony K
Tony K

Great, you're a programmer, why are you writing reviews of software? This is a technical forum for technical people.

rkuhn040172
rkuhn040172

If someone doesn't know how or what a system restore point is then they have no business running a piece of software like this. It's easy to dig on MS and Windows, but again, the point is one man's bloat is another man's feature. And after many years in this business, my general experience is that these types of programs either don't work at all or very marginally.

support
support

I too write software for a living. How can you be a developer and not know about restore points? What if an install goes bad, or your app inadvertently does an overwrite? Do you write software for a different platform, Mac or Linux?

Raymond Danner
Raymond Danner

[i]if it's an old restore point which it's usually is, then you may have well just started again an reinstall all OS and software. And i usually refer to Restore point is [b]MS Virus Hold Vault[/b].[/i] (Emphasis is mine, as has been my experience. Last two clients I had both had the problem where their virus scanners were seeing a virus or trojan that they could not delete. In both cases, switching off System Restore and switching it back on (which kills all restore points, which is not necessarily a good thing!) corrected the problem, although I still did a virus and malware scan to be certain. (Had to earn my fee somehow, right?)

yamaha
yamaha

My experience is with all of this type of One Click Fix is that that seem to find all of this crap in the registry/Filesystem. Then prompts you with a list of over 1000 records and expects you to click yeah delete all this (I trust you) or to do what you will do with each item(Usually Bin it) then you expected to sift through 1000 or so entries/files, and even after that with what changes it's done. After a reboot there appears to be no difference/or crash. Well sometimes I wonder. I have only really used a couple of these progs not really for the purpose of trying to fix anything in XP but mainly trying to Turn a Tweak on or off for example, if someone has disabled the run box in the Start menu(Most of these commands you can use Policies.) But if you find a great program that does what you need and a few more quickly then keep it use it. I find that using Powertoys and CFI shell tools to be the to i tend to stick in the Need to be installed Directory. On another note. If your going to use restore points I recommend backing up your data...(lol)...I have used it once i think to a point were it didn't work the way it's suppose to. And if it's an old restore point which it's usually is, then you may have well just started again an reinstall all OS and software. And i usually refer to Restore point is MS Virus Hold Vault..Are well each to there own.

moondookie
moondookie

Just because i drive a car, doesn't mean i want to be a mechanic.....LOL dur dur durrr

The Scummy One
The Scummy One

I have tried several of these types of apps in the past. Mostly I have been unimpressed (as it looks like you are too). Much redundancy, and grouping of not hard to find tasks. But, for someone that is not a tech/programmer, having everything in an easily found location is not a bad idea. I also agree that many of these dont explain things well. P.S. here is a small script that you can write to create an 'instant restore point' http://articles.techrepublic.com.com/5100-10877-5728564.html

anthony
anthony

I agree, and point out that most of the functionality of this application it duplicate of some built in windows functionality. The value that this product supposes is that this functionality is brought into one place for ease of use.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

A good overview of the product, but perhaps learning to use Windows' built-in Help system would be time well spent. Why load a third-party product when many of these features are already in Windows?

vladutz_24
vladutz_24

He can review a Software if he wants , no? No one has to take what he says for good, so if you want the Sw , just test it for yourself and end of story! So , if he wants to review it , I think everyone is entitled to do so, with goods and bads!

djamieson
djamieson

If there is one thing the IT industry is not short of, it's "know it alls" with poor attitudes towards their peers. lol. so, lets breeze through this and get it behind us. I'm gonna map out how to set a restore point in winxp, because frankly, I don't use other systems at this time so there you have it. all linux and mac people, go have a coffee. click start select all programs > accessories > system tools > system restore the welcome screen pops up click on "create system restore point click next fill out a description click "create" click "close" You're done! Feel free to use this info. :-) By the way, the review seemed ok to me, but I personally like to fiddle with the raw goods. carry on!

enieves
enieves

And it is still lingering. I still don't know where that darned restore thing is. OOOH! I found it. What does it do? LOL!! jk... And as the author stated, it's a big field! It's not easy being a jack-of-all-trades. I'm not saying it can't be done, just it's not easy. Whether or not it's necessary is a different story all togehter.

ajcaruana
ajcaruana

Thanks for letting me know there are no restore points on Windows Server 2000/2003. As I said, I just heard about them, but apart from the name, I don't know anything else.

juan
juan

I have been evaluating this product, with the full version and it works great on pc's, On the srver side I will evaluate on a test server,and by the way there are no restore points on Windows Server 2000/ 2003.

Mooney Driver
Mooney Driver

Some people like to spread negative energy, don't let it affect you, just be glad you are not under their managerial thumb. Though you may not be the supreme master of all universal knowledge, thanks for sharing your opinion on this product. Handling criticism (audio only): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-_2cCkbryks

anthony
anthony

"How can you be a developer and not know about restore points?" I manage... I checked out your profile, very enlightening. It's amazing how many posts you have without a single positive contribution. Every post I read included a statement like "If you don't know about xxx then you should consider a career change." IT is a varied industry with hundreds of subject matters in which to place your expertise. I write software for a Fortune 500 company that has dozens of people who are paid to know how to set and recover system restore point. I personally have never needed to do so and as such have never bothered to look it up. As was poitned out earlier I would find that its a piece of cake if I bothered to look. If you don't like my artciles please feel free to skip over them. Cheers.

ajcaruana
ajcaruana

I too write software for a living. I did hear about restore points, but I too have no idea how to do them, because even if I searched, I do not have the rights to do them on our server so there is no point in trying. We use WTS, and the most my apps can do is enter an infinite loop taking up a lot of CPU time (how much depends on OS scheduling policies), or open some ports on the server which is protected behind the firewall and gateway. When I need more access rights, I test on a VM. That way if something goes wrong I just shut down the VM. It is up to the system administrator to create and maintain system restore points for the server, so that is how a developer can not know how to use system restore points.