There's a lot of stuff that goes on underneath the hood of your operating system. For the majority of you that are running a Windows OS, trying to figure out how all the bits and pieces work together is like popping the hood and wondering how you can make your car run faster. But you don't have to be a guru just to make the most out of your everyday computing experience. A number of developers have created programs to ease, and even automate, the innermost workings of Windows.
These aren't tweaking applications in the general sense of the word, as they don't offer a large number of wide modifications to supposedly speed up your OS. Rather, these freeware applications focus on specific tasks that could have a profound effect on your operating system, depending on how you use your machine. Want to modify shell extensions, alter network setting son the fly, or stop those 8 different programs from loading every time you boot up your PC. That's what you'll find in these applications... and more!
What it does: As the name alludes, ShellExView is a program for checking out all the different shell extensions installed on your computer. For example, when you install Winzip and suddently get a new right-click context menu in Windows Explorer that's jam-packed with Winzip features, that's a shell extension. Suppose you uninstall Winzip and, for whatever reason, the context menu stays? You'd eliminate it with ShellExView. This is the ultimate program for tweaking all the different explorer extensions that have found their way into your operating system.
What it does: So you're gaming away in Warhammer when, all of a sudden, you notice that your Bright Wizard is crawling along at a snail's pace. While we would normally celebrate your soon-to-be death from the lag, as we hate Bright Wizards, we suppose that you--or anyone--would dislike an important application being interrupted as such. Odds are good that the culprit for your system slowdown is an errant program that's gone haywire. Prevent that from happening with Process Lasso. The application allows you to set kill thresholds for any process that's consuming too many CPU cycles -- perfect if you want constant, uninterrupted computer access... and more!
What it does: If you use your computer at home and at work, and you find yourself having to switch through a number of different network settings with each new access point you encounter, then stop. NetSetMan is a profiling application that lets you switch through your network settings with the touch of a button. Jump over to the static IP address you've configured. Switch your DNS servers without having to type in a number. Change your PC's name, and its corresponding printer, before the ink dries on the page. NetSetMan is the ultimate power tool for an ultimate network jumper.
What it does: This is one of the most important applications you should have on your computer. And strangely enough, Microsoft's the developer. AutoRuns is an amazing tool for detecting all the programs and processes that load up every time your computer boots. You might not even realize what's going on behind-the-scenes, and it could be eating up valuable system memory and/or processing power. Analyze and disable the stray, unnecessary additions to your startup and recover all the valuable seconds that you've been losing with each flick of the power switch!
Got any other awesome tweaks we've missed? Leave us a link in the comments!