Stardock just released a free public Beta of the TweakVista software that will be launching in August of this year. This program is really focused on those people who want to control many different aspects of the Vista operating system that wouldn’t ordinarily be easy to change. Stardock says that the software is geared towards both the casual and power users, but there are a lot of things in there that would confuse any non-geeks.
So what kind of stuff does this program let you change? Here’s the list as provided by Stardock:
- Security Handling. Users can now easily and safely adjust the way Windows handles security prompting including the new UAC (User Account Control)
- Memory Optimization. TweakVista knows which start-up services different types of users will typically use and offers recommendations on what services to disable. Users can easily switch between different profiles (including the default) based on their needs to maximize performance and memory use.
- Resource Control. Tweak Vista has several features for keeping an eye on and flagging programs that use excessive amounts of resources (memory, CPU, or system handles) as well as integrating seamlessly with built in hardware diagnostic reports.
- Start-Up Management. TweakVista not only will display and enable users to control what programs are loading on start-up but will identify in plain English what these programs do. Internet integration in the software allows users to comment on these processes within the program to one another.
- Performance Assessments. TweakVista uses the new Windows Vista assessment features to benchmark nearly every aspect of a user’s PC and allow them to submit their results for comparison with other users of similar or upgraded hardware.
- TweakVista.com integration. TweakVista partners the software development skills of Stardock with the on-going tweak expertise of TweakVista.com to provide an on-going live database of helpful tips and tricks for maximizing the Windows Vista experience.
As you can see there are a lot of things that you can customize, and instead of trying to put it all in a bunch of screenshots I put together a quick 2-minute video that shuffles through all of the different tabs and options. There’s no music so it is a little boring to watch, but just hit the pause button if you want to examine a tab’s options a little closer.
While in Beta TweakVista is completely free, but when starting up the program I was promptly notified that it expires at the end of the "pre-release period." I’m not sure how long that is, but once it is available in final form there will be a feature-limited free version as well as a premium version costing $19.95.
One of the cool things about this program is that you can run it, configure the options that you want in Vista, and they will remain that way until you change the options back. That’s because most of the settings modify registry values, which will remain changed even if you uninstall TweakVista.
One thing that I would like to see them throw in is an Alt-Tab configuration screen. As I previously pointed out it is possible to adjust the settings of Vista’s Alt-Tab thumbnails to utilize more of your screen, but it is kind of a pain to change. This is something a user interface would be extremely beneficial for doing.
Other than that there are a few tools that we’ve mentioned here that also help with configuring Vista. The first being TweakUAC which can help you avoid UAC prompts without needing to restart your computer. The second program is Vispa which has a bunch of different configuration options, but no where near the extent of TweakVista.
As the anonymous commenter pointed out below, the software says in the installation screen that it expires October 1.