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5 best Windows 11 utilities to get more out of your PC

Windows 11 has been out since early October, and users are learning their way around the latest version of Microsoft’s operating system. While you may not be eligible to upgrade just yet, be patient and check out some of the things you can look forward to.

The new OS adds features to increase efficiency and make Windows easier to navigate. Among these changes are new keyboard shortcuts and multiple desktops that help to separate your tasks. Tap or click here to learn more about new features added to Windows 11.

Third-party developers have also stepped in to add features to Windows 11. Let’s focus on utilities geared towards power users, who tend to dive deeper into technical aspects compared to the average user.

1. PowerToys

PowerToys comes from Microsoft itself and has been updated for Windows 11. This application lets you personalize Windows and streamline it to your liking. Some of the tools include:

  • The ability to keep your PC awake without fiddling with power and sleep settings.
  • You can also copy any onscreen color to your clipboard.
  • An image resizer that works right from File Explorer.
  • Mouse utilities that include a Find My Mouse tool.
  • A Windows key shortcut guide.
  • Create complex window layouts and quickly position windows into those layouts.
  • Remapping keys and create your own keyboard shortcuts.
  • Globally mute both your microphone and camera using Win+N while on a video call.

There are tools to explore in PowerToys. Get it here and start playing.

Related: Before you upgrade to Windows 11, read this warning to save yourself time

2. ThisIsWin11

ThisIsWin11 adds more customization options to Windows 11, and it includes a guide to help you learn your way around the new OS. Once you have that down, try out the following:

  • Disable Windows 11 features you may not want to use, such as Snap Assist, Widgets and the Camera and Alarm apps.
  • Remove preinstalled bloatware.
  • Restore some Windows 10 looks and features.
  • Use OpenTweaks to complete actions in one click, such as turning dark theme on, aligning the taskbar, showing file extensions and hiding the search bar, to name just a few.
  • Change privacy and app permission settings.
  • Optimize your PC settings for gaming.

You can try out ThisIsWin11 here.

3. StarDock Start11

As the name suggests, Start11 focuses on the Start menu, which has been a hotspot for debate since its introduction and numerous changes over the years. Start11 lets you set the Start menu to mimic the style of previous versions of Windows, such as 7 and 10. You can also change the position, layout and color.

The power is extended to the taskbar, which can also be repositioned and customized. Change the right-click menu options and create your own shortcuts if you’d like.

Start11 costs $4.99, but you can try it for free for 30 days. Click here to check it out.

4. Files – File Manager for Windows 

An organized file system makes everything you do on your PC more efficient. Files adds more features to help you find what you’re looking for and keep everything where you want.

  • Use colored and named tags to quickly identify files or create your own tags.
  • Use multiple tabs (similar to a browser) to avoid having multiple windows open.
  • Preview photos, documents and more before you open any folders.
  • Cloud integration allows you to manage your files in the cloud.

Files is free and open-source software. Get it here.

5. BeWidgets

One big selling point of Windows 11 has been new widgets, which let you check out your apps, websites and devices at a glance without having to open or switch between windows or panels. BeWidgets lets you design and place your own widgets for time, date, financials, photos, application shortcuts and weather.

The developer mentions more widgets to come, including music (Spotify and media that are playing on your computer), RSS and news and recent files.

Try out BeWidgets here.

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