In "TWEAKUI," October 1998, InstantDoc ID 3869, I covered a neat Windows NT 4.0 add-on that lets you control the default behavior of Windows Explorer and some devices. However, Windows 2000's TweakUI surpasses NT's utility by far.
TweakUI is in the Windows 2000 Server Resource Kit Supplement One. It resides in the tweakui folder, which is inside the folder in which you installed the resource kit files—by default, the tool is in \Program Files\Resource Kit\tweakui. In the tweakui folder, you'll also see a file named tweakui.inf; right-click it and choose Install to install TweakUI and open the associated Help file, tweakui.hlp. The TweakUI install routine won't finish until you close the Help file.
Open Control Panel and choose the TweakUI applet. One of my favorite features is on the CMD tab. You can assign Ctrl+key sequences to let cmd.exe finish filling in the directory name or filename you want. For example, without the completion feature, if you want to change the directory to E:\Documents and Settings, you have to spell out the path and put it in quotation marks:
I use TweakUI to assign Ctrl+b to the Directory completion feature. Then, I can simply type
and press Ctrl+b. I happen to have a directory on the E drive called docs, and cmd.exe tries that directory first. E:\docs isn't the directory I want, so I just type Ctrl+b again, and my path comes up.
The IE tab controls more than a dozen Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) and Windows Explorer goodies. My favorite setting is Detect accidental double-clicks. When I get an itchy trigger finger on the mouse and double-click when I should have single-clicked, this setting "debounces" the mouse. The Clear document, run, typed-URL history on exit setting makes your system forget where on the Web you've been. (One wonders why this setting isn't on the Paranoia tab.) The General tab lets you shut off CPU-wasting features of the recent versions of Windows Explorer—zooming and fading menus and animation of combo boxes, windows, and list boxes. The true CPU conservationist might even want to deactivate the mouse cursor shadow. Extreme, yes, but I believe that pursuing extremes in the conservation of CPU time is no vice.
The Paranoia tab has been bulked up as well. You can clear a lot of things that I don't recall the earlier version letting you clear, including last logged-on user, previous network connections, and Telnet history. If you don't want the bad guys—or a curious coworker—quickly finding out what you've been doing, Paranoia is the tab for you.
The Logon tab offers an easy GUI way to enable an autologon. Say you come home and need to look up something on the Web, but you hate having to wait for your system to power up before you can log on. If you enable the Log on automatically at system startup setting, you can turn on the computer and go get a glass of Pinot Grigio. By the time you've returned and had a sip, your system is ready for you.
The Mouse tab gives you far better control over how your mouse responds than the Control Panel's basic Mouse page. If you're a fan of X Window System (aka X) on UNIX, you might want to make the mouse behave as it does in X: When you hover the mouse on a window, the window jumps to the top of the desktop and becomes the focus window.
Comfort is the key benefit of TweakUI. This tool's features might seem like a lot of pointless minutiae unless you spend your days at a Win2K Professional desktop. Give TweakUI a shot; I think you'll find it addictive.