TWEAKUI (Windows XP Powertoys)

TWEAKUI is one of the most known Windows Powertoys/Powertools (issued but not supported by Microsoft) to tweak the User Interface (UI). With this tool you are able to change settings, which aren't reachable within Windows. As an example you can make changes to the desktop and start menu, which are not within reach unless you know how to make changes in the Windows registry.

The past time many (free and commercial) tweak applications have seen the light. Most of them have even more options then the Microsoft TWEAKUI tool. Essentially they all work the same, but with different interfaces. On this page I discuss the TWEAKUI tool, this tool doesn't give many troubles when used improperly..

Download and setup TWEAKUI Powertoy

Besides TWEAKUI there are more Windows Powertoys available. You will find them here:

Here you will find the other powertoys too, most interesting powertoys are ALT-TAB Replacement (!), Power Calculator, ClearType tuner and the Virtual Desktop Manager).

Using TWEAKUI: moving personal data

After the TWEAKUI setup, you will find it in the Start menu, All Programs, Powertoys for Windows XP. By navigating at the left side, you are able to reach the different subjects you can make changes to, the most important ones will be described here. Below you see the Special Folders settings:

TweakUI Powertoy: special folders

With this function you can make changes to the location of the different personal folders like Favorites, My Documents, My Pictures and My Music (before you make use of this option, you will have to create those folders in the Windows Explorer). This option is very useful when you plan to make a system backup: you rather place your important personal data on a different partition, to make sure not to lose important data at a recovery of your Windows. In above example you see that the location of the Favorites (Internet Explorer) are located on the M: partition. If you make use of shared folders (between different user accounts), you should move your shared folders as well.

TIP: Actually you don't need the TWEAKUI tool for moving your personal data. I prefer to move the My Documents folder (sub-folders included) in the Windows Explorer. You can realize this by right clicking the My Documents folder followed by Properties. With the Move button you can move the whole My Documents folder to another location (before you perform this operation create a new destination folder). All files will be moved to the new destination and the registry keys will be modified. The Favorites folder can be moved by a cut-paste operation (CTRL-X/CTRL-V)! I prefer to paste the Favorites folder in the new My Documents folder. Of course you have to perform those operations for every user account!


Within the new location of the My Documents folder I prefer to make a new sub-folder Mail and Address book and move the specific information to these locations. This is important when you plan to make a system backup, to make sure not to lose those data at system recovery. The page E-mail settings describes how to move those files.

Using TWEAKUI: hiding drives

The tab Drives (see My Computer) makes it possible to hide drives in the Windows Explorer. The drives will still have a drive letter (which you can use in the command console), but won't be visible in the Windows Explorer (you can use this option if you have a special partition for the pagefile). To make drives not accessible, you better use the Disk Management-tool from Windows to hide drives (Control Panel, Administrative Tools, Computer Management, Disk Management).

Using TWEAKUI: AutoPlay drives

The tab MyComputer, AutoPlay gives you the opportunity to manage the automatic playing of CD/DVD drives.

Using TWEAKUI: AutoLogon

The tab Logon, AutoLogon gives you the opportunity to automatically logon a specific user at next reboot.

Using TWEAKUI: Showing unread mail on Welcome screen

The tab Logon, Unread Mail gives you the opportunity to disable the notification of unread mail in the Welcome screen.

Using TWEAKUI: Explorer adjustments

Another interesting tab, is the Explorer tab. As you can see below, there are many settings you can change.

tweakui explorer

I always disable the option Prefix "Shortcut to" on new shortcuts. This option is not necessary (more irritating): the shortcut arrow is more then enough information. The other options are at your own choice (the shown information is enough to make your own decision).

Using TWEAKUI: enable/disable (visual) effects

On the tab General, you can enable/disable (visual) effects, I advise to disable them all (except the Enable tooltip animation) to have maximum Windows performance (you won't miss anything):

TweakUI tab General

Using TWEAKUI: Desktop, Taskbar and Start menu

The tab Taskbar gives you the chance to disable the irritating balloon tips (the option Enable Balloon tips), the balloon tips sometimes cover essential Start menu buttons. Disabling the option Warn when low on disk space can also be a relief. The tab Desktop gives you the opportunity to remove undesirable shortcuts from your desktop.

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