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Why tweak Windows?

You probably all have had that feeling: You just turned on that new PC for the first time, or just installed Windows fresh, and now you're sitting there looking at the desktop. The first thought that probably goes through your head, is "OK, how do I change those ugly colors, make the desktop more interesting and the screen bigger?" That one is pretty easy, you right-click on the desktop, choose Properties, and go through the Settings, Appearance and Background tabs to customize the look.

But there is a lot more to tweaking Windows. After using it for a while, you'll realize there are other things you don't like or think could be better, but you can't seem to find a way to change it. How about easier access to the Control Panel? Or keeping your files somewhere else than the My Documents folder? Changing the title bar of a program? Adding options to the right-click menu? There are oodles of things you can do to customize Windows, and the following is a collection of the best and most popular Windows tweaks.

While most tweaks require editing of the system registry or other system files, there are two ways to do so: One way is to use a program that does the tweaking for you. There are several out there, and I will show you the two most popular ones. The advantage of using a program is that you don't have to edit the registry yourself, the program will do it for you. If the program is well-written, this is usually the safer way to go.

The other way is to edit the registry and make these changes yourself. This requires a word of caution. While I have tried almost all the tweaks listed here myself, and painstakingly taken care to make sure the information provided here is correct, I cannot take any responsibility for a tweak gone haywire due to operator error, spelling errors, or other unexpected mayhem. Please exercise caution and back up the registry or any other files before you modify them.

That said, let's get on with the tweaking!