TweakVista - Cost and Carbon Footprint
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Stardock’s TweakVista 1.0 was just released the other day, and freeware advocates will be happy to see that there is a no-cost alternative available. This is a well-designed app that many Vista users will surely love, and the last time I used it I put together a video of the version that costs $19.95 to purchase. Not much has changed since then so this time around I thought I would take a look at the free version.

The free TweakVista is only limited by the number of features that are accessible, and has no time limit applied to it. At first glance I thought that there wasn’t a lot of useful stuff, but after tinkering around I managed to put together a decent list of things you can do:

  • Manage startup items
  • See what’s using the most memory on your computer
  • Standard service profiles for gamers, media center users, and servers…this is a great way to speed up your computer!
    TweakVista - Service Management
  • Power status and cost (how "green" is your computer?) – This is pictured at the beginning of the article
  • Benchmarks and assessments
  • Customize UAC prompts
    TweakVista - UAC Prompt
  • Internet performance optimization

The set of features is pretty basic, but the most fascinating one that I found was the power cost analysis (pictured at the beginning of this article). It’s similar to the Local Cooling program I’ve previously reviewed, but I actually like TweakVista’s alternative a bit more. It lets you pick your processor and video card from a huge list, and you enter in the amount of time you leave your computer powered on each week. It will spit back your estimated annual cost as well as your carbon footprint, and I found that running my Media Center computer costs me about $300 per year (or $25 per month)! Yikes!

TweakVista Video Review (for the paid version)
Download TweakVista

Other free applications for tweaking Vista:

  • VistaTweaker – One of the best freeware apps for tweaking Vista. It has loads of options, but many of them are settings that can easily be adjusted elsewhere in the operating system.
  • TweakUAC – Nothing too fancy, but with this you can suppress UAC prompts temporarily.
  • Vista Sidebar Styler – Customize the appearance of the Vista sidebar.
  • Vispa – This is similar to VistaTweaker, but it has some nice options like removing the low diskspace warning.