From technology to politics to video games; these are the random thoughts of a geek with too much time on his hands

Yesterday, we announced the availability of TweakVista Beta to Object Desktop subscribers, and at long last people outside of Stardock are taking this fantastic application for a spin.  Personally, this is one of my favorite applications that we've developed in the past few years, it's just that well-done and so insanely useful I wonder how I've managed to run Vista as long as I have without it.  If you're a power user and try to get every bit of juice out of your system, this is a must-have utility.  It's well-built, easy to use, and extremely powerful.  For me, this ranks up there with Multiplicity on the list of applications I can't live without.

Now there are all sorts of great features packed into this utility that let you really optimize the performance of your system, to get it running just the way you want it.  Several simple service profiles have been pre-built and provided that will immediately give you a performance boost, and the amount of information you're given regarding what's taking up resources on your system is great and I'm sure there will be articles and walkthroughs of those features, today I want to talk about my personal favorite: Process & Service Profiles.

It's one of those features that unless you know where to look for it, you very well might miss it.  Of course, before you go looking for it, I'm sure you'd like to know what the heck it does!  Have you ever taken a look at your process list and wondered what the heck srv32gremlin.exe is?  A search of Google will sometimes give you something useful, but more often than not it's all gibberish, or other people posting to forums and blogs asking what the heck the process is for.  What we've done in TweakVista is built a profile database that the application can directly access to check to see if any information exists for a given process or service.  If the entry exists, it returns the information, along with a link for you to add your own comments and input.  If no information exists, you can fill it out yourself and submit it for inclusion. 

The idea is that given time and enough users filling out information on what's running on their PCs, we'll be able to compile one of the most complete and detailed lists of processes and services on the 'net.  All neatly integrated into the application and available to anyone on the Internet the TweakVista Forums.

Now that you have some idea of what the feature is, lets get around to finding it and using it.

Open up TweakVista, and select "Resources" from the list of options on the left of the window.  Next, select the "Process List" tab in the right portion of the window.


This is a list of active processes much like you'd see in the normal Vista Task Manager, however we tweaked what you see a bit, making it more useful to power users, developers and anyone trying to figure out what's sucking down their resources.  On this list, merely select one of the running processes and at the bottom of the screen you'll see a little bit of information about it such as the application name and where it's installed.  And at the very bottom there is a link "Look up this process on"  Clicking on that will bring up a profile on the selected item, if it exists.  The image to the left is the process profile for TweakVista.exe.  At the bottom, you have the option to contribute your own input.  That link will take you to a thread on the TweakVista forums where you can add your thoughts and comments on a particular process.

If you choose something that does not yet have an entry in our system, you will be asked if you would like to provide it yourself.  Clicking yes will bring up a window that asks you for some basic information on a process, and then any special instructions for uninstalling it.  Once you submit it, it is added to our processing queue for evaluation.  A moderator will look it over and add it to the site if it's deemed appropriate (i.e. people submitting a description saying nothing but "This sUx0rz m0nk3y buTt!" will not see their contributions added).

Since we just launched the beta and the website just went fully live yesterday, the list of processes with descriptions contributed is small.  We're hoping that by the time beta is over and TweakVista is released as a final product, that testers will have contributed a significant number of descriptions to our profile list.  Think about how much easier troubleshooting your relative's Vista-running PC will be if you can quickly discover if an application that's running in the background is some system-crippling spyware masquerading as something more innocent looking like winSpeedTrac.exe.

So give the feature a whirl, and let us know what you think!

on May 16, 2007
Great read.  I have to agree that TweakVista is going to be one of those "have-to-have" applications for Vista.

on May 17, 2007
Very informative article...It'll be interesting to see just how many people contribute to that database!
on May 19, 2007

Indeed. The community integration will be very interesting.

I have to say in my biased opinion the integration with forums is pretty seamless.