TweakGuides: A Big Bag of Free Goodies for Tinkerers


Better, faster, stronger. These are among the things we web workers aspire to be. If the heart of a tinkerer beats in you, and you want to make the systems and applications you use all day better, faster and stronger, then probably has some choice goodies for you. I’ve used the Tweaking Companions available at the site to vastly improve Windows XP and Windows Vista–and still haven’t made my way through all the best tweaks. There is also an excellent guide to improving your Firefox skills and performance, and more.

Upon first glance at TweakGuides, it’s clear that many of the tweaks the site specializes in are for games, but there’s much more than that. In this post, I’ll discuss some of the best free system and application optimization guides available at the site.

If you’re a user of either Windows XP or Windows Vista, by all means download the Tweaking Companions available for these operating systems and the PCs they run on. They’re PDF files, and they contain very easy, yet very deep instructions on everything from BIOS optimization to optimizing drivers to repairing and customizing Internet Explorer to Windows-specific tweaks. The total set of tweaks addresses your hardware as well as your software.

Each “chapter” in these lengthy guides begins with a Configuration Advice entry, and there are chapters for Internet Explorer, Outlook Express, Windows Media Player, and much more. There is even a chapter on overclocking your CPU, if you have any interest in experimenting with that (be careful if you choose that tweak, because, among other things, overclocking voids your warranty). Here are some examples from the table of contents in the Windows XP Tweaking Companion:

If you use Mozilla Firefox, I definitely recommend TweakGuides’ nearly book-length guide to customizing and optimizing the browser. Here’s a shot of the table of contents for the Firefox guide:

In the Advanced Tweaking chapter of the Firefox guide, you’ll find excellent tips on how to use the many embedded files in Firefox to improve your performance (to see the embedded files, type about:config in your address bar, just like typing in a web address, then hit Enter). For example, you can set how often Firefox goes looking for new versions of a page you are viewing.

If you’re in the market for a new PC, or you’re planning on doing some upgrades to a PC, also take a look at TweakGuides’ guide on Hardware Confusion. It explains everything from how to decide on what amount of memory to use to how to select a graphics card.

Finally, you can get answers on any computing or application topic in TweakGuides’ excellent forums. These guides cater mostly to Windows users, but Mac users will find material of interest at the site too. Take a spin, tinkerers.

Do you have any system or application optimization tips?

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