Updated: November 25, 2016
Bombastic names bring about bombastic expectations. Ultimate Windows Tweaker (UWT) is a tool developed by the enthusiastic and nerdy-oriented members of The Windows Club, which is like The Breakfast Club, only different. The software is designed to help you tame and tweak Windows 10 across more than 200 options and settings.
Why would you want this? Because Windows 10 is a naughty operating system, and it is more aggressive when it comes to advertising, telemetry and other sub-100 IQ features than all its predecessors. Hence the need for some clamping. We've seen one privacy tool in action already, W10Privacy, and now we will test UWT. After me.
Ultimate Windows Tweaker, commence
The program comes as an elegant 400KB binary, with no need for any lengthy setups or installations. It's portable and light. In fact, the program is merely a frontend for a whole bunch of settings and registry keys. Like any tweaking software, it's black magic. You need to know what you're doing. Really know.
The problem is - once you apply a tweak, you will forget about it eventually, but issues may hit you days, weeks or even months later, and you will have no way of knowing that they might be related to something you've done long ago. Furthermore, people often apply numerous tweaks at the same time, because they do not want to be burdened with repetitious tasks and constant monitoring. This complicates things some more.
But even the most diligent tweakers will eventually lose patience, forget some of their work, and not fully know all the current and future implications of their changes. The main reason is, Microsoft expects certain functionality to be in place, and it develops its own software accordingly. When you tweak, you push your system into an unknown state that may break one day.
A restore point is not good enough - the tool should also export all the options, commands and registry values that it touches, so that users can then revert back to the default state if they need to. But then, that kind of list makes the tool unnecessary.
What can it do?
All right, now that I've frightened you enough, let's explore some more. There are a lot of settings, divided into several categories. Some of these are cosmetic, some arguably unnecessary, like the performance section. Then, some are outright dangerous, like most of the stuff listed under Additional. Network card onboard processor? Global Internet? NTLM v2 support? These have nothing to do with Windows 10, and should not be included in the menu. They also have much bigger implications than most people expect. I would never recommend anyone make any change that affects hardware unless using official drivers and their tools, or through the BIOS/UEFI.
Do note that this tool already takes into accounts existing settings, which is good, so you will not need to apply anything or everything twice. Listen very carefully, I shall tweak this only once - 'Allo 'Allo, Michelle from the Resistance. Yes, I'm repeating my jokes, but when they be good, they get repeated. Anyhow, apply, reboot, and enjoy.
Do you really need it?
Well, it seems like the sad reality is - yes you do. I recently let my Windows 10 box run unrestrained, and by that, I merely mean the Windows Update service being enabled, so the system could pull updates when it needed. Soon enough, I discovered that some of the options I had so rigorously configured had been undone. For example, my updates were set to be shared, i.e. received from and sent to other computers other than the official servers, which is bollocks. Also, I had suggestions in the Start Menu, which again is something that should not have happened. I feel violated. Proper violated.
The sad reality is, even if you tweak, your tweaks may be undone, and there does not seem to be any one specific set of options that works permanently. Likewise, there is not a single tool that does the job 100%. Both W10Privacy and Ultimate Windows Tweaker have their ergonomic ups and down, both require knowledge and patience, and you will easily find yourself losing track of your work. This is a game that cannot be won.
Getting Windows 10 to behave is a difficult task. A changing task. UWT does the job pretty well, but it does come with some extras that can be potentially dangerous. Moreover, it is hard keeping track of all the settings. Compared to some others of similar nature, just go with whatever you find more aesthetically pleasing, or more suited to your nerdial senses. There is no deep, critical technological advantage either way.
All in all, Ultimate Windows Tweaker is an interesting tool. Is it the sum of all tweaks, the answer to life, the Universe and everything? Well, possibly not. But it can help you gain some control over your Windows 10 box. It seems to work well in tandem with W10Privacy, so you might as well use both. My suggestion is, if you do tweak, keep a detailed list of all your changes, maybe even screenshots. That's the only accurate way to manage sanity while fighting idiocracy. Anyhow, UWT is an okay product, but beware your own OCD and inability to contain changes and complications in the long run. That would be all. Thanks go to Sylvain for the recommendation!