As much as we love to customize every little option in Windows, fact is that the all versions of the operating system have settings scattered all over the place.
Options are hidden behind multiple menus that make them not only hard to find, but also so hidden away that most users are not even of their existence. Luckily, there is no shortage of utilities that simplify things by bundling these various options together under one roof.
We take a look at 5 of these Windows utilities that you can install today, and get personalizing and customizing your system just the way you like it. All of these are free to download, and pretty much every one of them work with all currently supported versions of Windows on the market.
Let’s get to them.
Winaero Tweaker is, simply put, one of the best ones around. It is one of the most comprehensive Windows tweaker available, and definitely one of the easiest to use. Sporting a simple design, it shows you all available tweaks arranged in categories on the left side.
You have options like Appearance, which lets you change colors and animations, Behavior to disable tools like Windows Timeline, and Boot that can be used to change or remove the lock screen image.
Selecting a setting lists the options in the main panel on the right, and ample information is provided on what the various buttons and checkboxes do. This is an excellent way to find out more about a setting, and get details on what it does.
Winaero Tweaker is one of the most regularly updated tweaker too. The latest version (0.15) added a selection of new options like Context Menu selection that you can use to quickly add or remove items from the right-click menu in the Windows operating system. Perfect to get rid of those annoying context menu items that get added when you install a new program.
More new options include the Clipboard History Tool, the ability to kill all unresponsive programs as well as encrypting files. You can also create desktop shortcuts for your most used tweaks. Overall, this is one of the finest programs of its kind around, and very much a recommended download for all users.
Very easy to use
Nice, simple UI
Tons of tweaking options
Can be a little overwhelming for novices
Download: Winaero Tweaker
NoVirusThanks Smart PC Locker Pro
Need a lightweight tool that can lock your PC temporarily to prevent unauthorized access? If you work at an office, or in a busy environment, then the oddly named NoVirusThanks Smart PC Locker Pro has a certain skill set that can come really handy for you.
This is a utility that makes easy work of locking your PC for you.
You simply set it to kick in after a specific period of inactivity, or activate it directly from the system tray. It can also be called in using a hotkey of your choice, and the program can even run in Safe Mode if this is something you dab in.
As for its working, the software disables Windows Task Manager, Winkey and your CD or DVD drives, and also records unsuccessful login attempts. It can also shut down your PC after it registers invalid password attempts, so that is always helpful.
The user interface may not be the most modern one around, but everything is clearly listed in tabs up top. The newest update fixed a number of bugs and improved the overall performance of what is a unique and very useful little program.
Unique features to prevent unauthorized use
Clearly defined set of options
Powerful, yet simple
UI could use a little uplift
Download: Smart PC Locker Pro
An underrated tool, FixMy10 is a portable solution for when your Windows 10 installation starts acting up. It even plays nicely with Windows 8. The program offers to fix a range of common Windows problems, like Explorer not starting or the Recycle Bin going missing.
It can also handily repair your file associations and restore them to their original settings. Speaking of restoring things, FixMy10 also does a fine job of resetting your host file to default, resetting your Windows Firewall configuration, and even flush your DNS cache to solve Internet issues.
The user interface of this program is simple and function driven, designed to provide you with quick access to the most common fixes for issues that may arise when using the latest version of the operating system. Though these problems can be taken care of via manual fixes, FixMy10 fixes most of them with a single click. And this is something that can come in really handy for more novice users.
This latest version removes restrictions that may have been put in place by an administrator or caused by malware, and the UI has been refined a bit to offer easy access to useful Windows tools. Give it a try today, keep it on your system at all time, and take FixMy10 on your USB drive everywhere you go.
Clean, modern UI
Offers fixes for several Windows 10 issues
Only available as a portable app
Developer: Devata Komputer
If you are having problems with your PC, the first order of business is to try and boot into Safe Mode. Think of this as the lightweight version of Windows with no unnecessary software and drivers, and very basic functionality. Nice way to get to the bottom of things.
The only problem? It’s not the easiest thing in the world booting into Safe Mode, certainly not in the modern versions of the OS. How you get there depends upon which version of the operating system you are running, and of course, whether you can get to Windows in the first place.
BootSafe, as the name gives away, is a tiny free program that simplifies the process of booting into Safe Mode. Just choose the boot mode you want from the menu provided, and then click the big Restart Windows button to get things going.
This program is compatible with every version of Windows, starting with Windows XP. It works perfectly fine on Windows 10. A few handy options like that of enabling the F8 Startup Key are also provided, as is the ability to only configure things without a restart. It also automatically attempts to repair damage to registry areas in case of a malware infection. One of the good ones, this.
Simple and straightforward
Repairs registry to enable Safe Mode
Support for command line operations
Requires administrative rights to launch
Windows features come and go, but the demise of certain options is more painful than others. Take the Disk Cleanup Tool that had been a mainstay of the Windows OS. Microsoft is planning to retire it from the future versions of Windows 10, replacing it with Storage Sense.
But if you prefer something with the original functionality, then give Cleanmgr+ a try. This portable cleaning tool aims to fill the void left by the deprecation of the classic Disk Cleanup Tool, by not only replicating its functionality but also introducing additional features.
Not to mention the ability to remove more junk.
Cleanmgr+ lacks a little UI polish, but the program is very easy to use. Simply run it and select the areas that you want it to clean. Look for additional options tucked away in the More section. Then click Preview to get an idea of what the program will remove, and click Cleanup to start the process.
The program does a good job of detailing at a glance how much free space there is on your computer, and how much can be recovered. Not a bad option for some housecleaning every once in a while.
Excellent replacement for Disk Cleanup
Feature rich, with plenty of options
Uses Windows resources to do the cleaning
Some nice themes
Not the most intuitive UI