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Review: DriverHeaven's TuneXP 1.0

by Eric Vaughan

April 10, 2004


I've noticed a few news posts this past week about the release of DriverHeaven's TuneXP 1.0. Frankly, I've seen and tried most every XP tweaking program out there and I'm so thoroughly unimpressed with 95% of them that my thought was "Pfft! Another weak-assed tweak program" and let it go at that. Then I saw a few forum posts at my hangout asking whether or not anyone used it and if it was any good or not. Not being able to answer the question, I decided to check this program out...


All I know about TuneXP is that it is the creation of David H. Kristensen, known as "d-force" at DriverHeaven. I popped over to the forums at DH and found this forum thread about TuneXP. There d-force is answering questions about his program. The fact that there is somewhere you can go to ask questions is a bonus. The fact that the program's author is there answering questions not only gives some added legitimacy to the program but also shows he is a stand up guy. So, off I went to download it. The download page made me chuckle a little. The program description says "This radical, new tool is the one of the best and most powerful Windows XP tweakers ever, supporting totally unseen tweaks, which is unique to the program." Hmmm, someone's been taking their marketing classes a little too seriously.


The program is only a 986KB download. Installation required only a click of a button and that you know where Windows is installed. Below is a look at the interface and a list of features:


Screen Shot


The Menu



DriverHeaven's TuneXP Features***

Memory and File System

ACCELERATE DLL UNLOADING Recommended for everyone
This tweak affects the swiftness of Windows to unload cached DLLs from the main memory. This tweak makes sure that no DLL will clog up the RAM by uncaching them quicker.

This tweak removes the pool of system files that Windows will force to be paged. Instead, they will be loaded into the RAM. This tweak will use a bit of memory, but will make Windows quicker and more responsive.

FASTER SHUTDOWN Recommended for everyone
This tweak alters the speed of Windows application/service shutdown times from 20 seconds to 1, and will make Windows shutdown around 5 times quicker.

FILE ALLOCATION SIZE TWEAK Recommended for everyone
This tweak alters the size of the memory file allocation size. The effect is not drastic, but most people see a (slight) improvement in general responsivity.

OPTIMIZE PREFETCH Recommended for everyone
This tweak optimizes the way, the Windows prefetcher works. The prefetcher allocates short bits of applications and DLL's and speeds up the process of application loading (especially larger applications) by doing so.

This tweak removes the "Last Access Stamp" from all files. This improves general disk performance by removing massive bandwidth overhead.

IO PAGE LOCK LIMIT Recommended for everyone
This tweak alters the size of the IO paging area in memory. The larger RAM amount you have, the higher a limit you can set. Improves general performance, especially when loading larger applications.

CLEAR PREFETCH FOLDER Recommended for everyone
This tweak cleans out the folder with all the prefetches, Windows has allocated. This is recommended to be done very now and then (for instance, every week) to improve the general Windows performance.

DEFRAG BOOT FILES Recommended for everyone
This function quickly assembles the bootfiles and stacks them together. Speeds up boot performance.

DISABLE ZIP FOLDERS Recommended for people with a 3rd party archiving tool
This function uninstalls the builtin ZIP capability of Windows. This frees up resources, but if you want to open ZIP-files afterwards, you will need a 3rd party application, like WinZip or WinRAR.

ULTRA-FAST BOOTING Recommended for everyone
This is a multi-stage tweak. First, it moves the bootfile to the edge of the drive, after which it defrags the system drive. Can reduce Windows boot time substantially, sometimes more than 300%



SPEED-UP WINDOWS IRQ HANDLING Recommended for everyone
This tweak optimizes the way Windows deals with the system bus IRQ, and in turn, makes the whole lot run quicker.



IP SETTINGS Recommended for everyone
This small tool lets you view, release and renew your IP adress(es)

INCREASE DNS CACHE Recommended for everyone
This tweak increases the size of the Windows DNS cache, and will make access to websites or other network locations with DNS faster



This is a service, which allows for several users to be logged on at the same time, so the user switching process can be speeded up. This service, however, uses a fair bit of RAM and CPU cycles. If you want performance, you should turn it off.

The messenger service (not Windows/MSN messenger) is the ill-rumoured net send service. If disabled, you won't see any annoying popups.

This service handles all Windows graphic layout themes. If it is disabled, resources and CPU will be freed up, but Windows will be more "classic" (ugly says some) to look at.



This well-known tool checks the disk for errors.

Another well-known tool, with a small GUI client.

Checks the Windows files to see, if they are valid

Launches Windows Update


***This information was copied straight from the Documentation section of DriverHeaven's TuneXP.



A look at the tweaks

You'll recognize most of the tweaks. It's missing some tweaks that other programs have and contains some they don't. All-and-all, pretty much standard fare.


Ultra-Fast Booting

The Ultra-Fast Booting tweak aroused my curiosity. The author stated in the above forums that while this tweak uses the "defrag boot files tweak" it also use other tweaks that he will not reveal. So, I fire up my test system. It is a clean install of XP SP1 with only Acronis True Image and Raxco's Perfect Disk loaded. The system is tweaked to a certain extent, is completely clean and has been optimized with Perfect Disk. So, I wasn't looking for Ultra-Fast Booting Tweak to do anything. I ran a series of 3 traces with Bootvis (the old version). Here are the results:

Ultra-Fast Booting Tweak, Bootvis Results

 Before TweakAfter Tweak
1st boot14.91 seconds13.25 seconds
2nd boot15.06 seconds14.58 seconds
3rd boot15.32 seconds13.41 seconds

Wow! You're not that impressed? I am. As I said, this system was already tweaked and the files laid out by the best defrag tool on the market. If it can improve boot times on this system, it not only works, it ROCKS!


Some Tweaks I Have A Problem With

OPTIMIZE PREFETCH - Uses unsupported and undocumented registry value of 5. MS states valid values are 0,1,2, and 3. I can only assume that XP would default to using either 3 which is it's default, or 0. Therefore I cannot validate what this tweak is supposed to do and if it works at all. I'm not going to say where the value is. Tweakers know where the setting is. FWIW, Many popular pay-for tweaking programs use this same value.


ACCELERATE DLL UNLOADING & DISABLE PAGING EXECUTIVE - Not really the fault of the author. I have these tweaks in my tweak guide and every tweaking program out there uses this tweak. I'm not going to tell you they don't work BUT I am currently collaborating with another person on an article with information you need to evaluate before using this tweak. Many of you may decide not to use this tweak after you see the article. (sorry to be a tease, it ain't done yet)


IO Page Lock Limit

While the values for this tweak are of much conjecture and argument, the settings this program uses may be a tad aggressive for the masses.



My Thoughts

(For those who are new here. I stopped handing out "awards" some time ago. I just tell you what I think and whether or not I'll use it.)


While this program doesn't have all the performance tweaks I would like to see it has a few advantages:

1 - It's FREE!

2 - Very small download.

3 - Unlike many tweaking programs, it doesn't contain a bunch of garbage designed to make it look like it's more than it is.

The interface is clean and simple but I would actually like to see the program move away from the pull-down menu and just put all the tweaks in a window.


As I had said above, the programs description made me chuckle. While TuneXP is a nice little program, IMHO none of the statements in it's description are valid. Stop the marketing BS guys!


While most of the registry entries are well-known for the tweaks in TuneXP I would really like to see them documented somewhere in the program. We shouldn't have to guess at what the tweaks are doing.


Despite my little nit-picks with some of the things in TuneXP I very much like it. It is a nice little program now and I hope it continues to evolve. It is a good addition to any tweakers arsenal and I have added it to mine.


***April, 11, 2004

You can view the discussion about this review at my hangout, ABXZone. Excellent comments, thoughts, opinions being voiced there.

Feel free to join the forum, it's a great place!






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