But just because the operating system doesn't look and work the way you want doesn't mean that you're stuck with it as is. Windows is extremely tweakable; if you dig a little, you'll find that you can customize it in almost any way you want.
To help you out, we've put together this guide to tweaking Windows. It covers both XP and Vista and lets you do all kinds of things you might have thought were impossible -- replacing your boot screen, hacking the Control Panel, speeding up Windows Flip 3D and more. Look for the XP logo and Vista logo icons to see which tips work in which OS.
The hacks vary in the expertise you'll need. In some cases you'll get down and dirty with the Registry, so if you're not certain you know how to make a DWORD value, for example, read our story "The tweaker's guide to the Windows Registry" first. (Be sure to read the instructions for backing up the Registry before you attempt any Registry edits whatsoever.)
In other cases, you'll just have to dig into hidden corners of menus and folders. But in all cases, you'll tell Windows exactly how you want it to behave ... and it will bow down to you, the master.
Microsoft, Windows, Windows Vsta, Windows XP, Tips and Tricks, Tweak, Guide, Knowledgebase, Article