Windows Vista has gotten a lot of bad press. A lot of it is unfair but as any Vista user can tell you, a lot of the bad press was avoidable.
Even the finest product can be marred by a handful of minor decisions that affect the overall experience.
In the case of Windows Vista, Stardock has identified these problem areas that Vista needs to resolve (either in a future SP or in Windows 7):
- We need an OS, not a nanny. Vista has too many nags, confirmations, and reminders.
- Vista is too much of a one-size fits all solution. As a result, there is a service or start up program for nearly every potentiality.
- Usable information about the network, hardware info, and basic settings changes are too spread out and need to be consolidated.
- System responsiveness and memory use. Vista seems to always have something running, scanning, or getting in the user's way when they're trying to use the computer.
Stardock's answer to this is TweakVista. TweakVista 1.0 established a foundation. It basically gave users a way to know what was running on their system and control it to a much finer degree than normally possible but in a way that was safer than most other solutions. It also allows users to modify the security settings without simply disabling them.
TweakVista 1.1 is merely the first step on the journey to let users start tweaking Vista themselves. Here's what's new:
- Snapshots. This is a basic feature that lets people mess with things in a lot safer way. It's more useful in many respects than "Microsoft System Restore" because what it does is pinpoint changes to what's loading on start up. The snapshot feature lets people pin-point apps that are causing problems and be easily eliminated.
- Process Exploration. Resource Page now has a services tab so that all those "svchost.exe" processes can be easily looked at to see what they're really doing.
- Service Explorer. It's not hard to look at services in Vista if you know what you're doing. TweakVista, however, lets users easily manage what services are running and includes a way for each service to be part of a web forum thread where users can discuss in depth each service and why they do or don't need it.
- Locked File Query. Ever have a file that you can't delete or modify because it's in use by some other program? Now you can find out which program is doing that and terminate it.
There are many other smaller new features in TweakVista 1.1. The main goal was to set the stage to begin going more in-depth to let users regain more control over their computer and do so safely.
In the long term, Stardock hopes Microsoft will integrate some of the fixes and tweaks we're making into the base OS. But in the meantime, you can take care of these things yourself in a secure, safe, and effective way with TweakVista.