Tweak UI

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Tweak UI running on Windows XP

Microsoft Tweak UI is a free application, released in 1996 by Microsoft for customizing the Microsoft Windows operating system's user interface. Tweak UI does not do anything that a knowledgeable user could not accomplish by editing the Windows Registry. However, Tweak UI provides a simple graphical user interface that most users find easier to use and less risky than editing the registry.

Tweak UI is a free download from Microsoft's website. It is one of Microsoft's many non-supported PowerToys.


Tweak UI started as a control panel applet available for download on Microsoft's website, released shortly after the release of Windows 95. It was originally written by Raymond Chen and later included in Microsoft's Power Toys collection, a set of tools developed by Microsoft's Shell Development Team.[1]

An updated version of Tweak UI was included on the installation disc for Windows 98. According to Chen, this was deemed a "disaster" because it resulted in additional work for Microsoft's product-support teams when diagnosing problems.[2] Therefore, the Microsoft did not included applet in Windows 98 Second Edition.

With the release of Windows XP, the Tweak UI applet was retooled and re-released on Microsoft's website as a separate application, TweakUI.exe It was again updated to version 2.10 for Windows XP Service Pack 1 and Windows Server 2003. Chen also wrote an updated Windows Vista version of the utility, but it wasn't released because it violated the policy of "no unsupported downloads."[3]

An unofficial 64-bit version of Tweak UI was created by NeoSmart Technologies for Windows XP Professional x64 Edition.[4] Versions of Tweak UI for Windows XP work on Windows Vista and Windows 7, including 64-bit, if run as administrator and Compatibility Mode set to Windows XP SP2/SP3 (for 32-bit Windows 7 or Vista) or Windows Server 2003 SP1 (for 64-bit Windows 7 or Vista) using the operating system's Application Compatibility Toolkit.

Tweak UI doesn't work correctly on Windows 8, even in Compatibility Mode and some attempted tweaks crash the operating system.


Tweak UI allows the user to customise the user interface of the Windows operating system. The application has been heralded for enabling users with older, slower computers to turn off many aspects of the operating system's eye candy, such as fading menus, drop shadows, and cursor shadows. Tweak UI also includes numerous features to customise the way various base elements of the interface work, such as the taskbar and the desktop. The application also enables users to move the location of their Documents, Music and Pictures folders, as well as other system folders. It also includes various tools to repair elements of the operating system, such as icons, hot keys, the font folder, and file extension associations. It can be used to disable AutoPlay on one or more drives as well, which may be useful especially as external hard disk drives become popular.

Tweak UI can also set up Xmouse, a feature familiar to the users of the X Window System.


  1. ^ Chen, Raymond (2 Feb 2005). "The history of the Windows PowerToys". The New Old Thing. Retrieved 3 September 2013. 
  2. ^ Chen, Raymond (2006). "Chapter Two: Selected Reminiscences on Windows 95". The Old New Thing (1st edition ed.). Pearson Education. pp. 32–33. ISBN 0-321-44030-7. 
  3. ^ Chen, Raymond (March 6, 2010). "What happens if I drag the mouse by exactly the amount specified by SM_CXDRAG?". The Old New Thing. Retrieved 2010-03-15. 
  4. ^ NeoSmart Technologies. "TweakUI 64-Bit Edition". TweakUI 64-bit. NeoSmart Technologies. Retrieved 22 December 2012. 

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