What’s that? You don’t like the way Windows 10 looks and acts? We can’t imagine why—the operating system goes through extensive testing and is widely regarded as the most stable and enjoyable platform on the market.
Okay, we’re joking. If you want to change the way Windows looks and acts, keep reading. These are some of the best tools to customize Windows 10.
1. Customizer God
Customizer God—which is compatible with Windows 7, 8, and 10—should be your go-to tool for changing anything about the way the icons in Windows 10 look.
There are new icons for the Start menu, the taskbar, your drives, the battery, the login screen, the time and date, and a whole lot more.
The app is also easy to use. You don’t need any specialized knowledge, just install it on your system and start tweaking.
Download: Customizer God (Free)
2. TweakNow PowerPack
TweakNow PowerPack is more geared towards customizing the way Windows 10 behaves rather than the way it looks.
For example, you can set up an automatic shutdown which will turn off your computer at a specific time, optimize your system’s RAM usage, and create a special shortcut for CPU-intensive apps that can automatically assign the highest CPU priority level and free up sufficient RAM.
And then there’s The Virtual Desktop module helps you set up four custom-designed desktop configurations that you can match with your mood and your work requirements.
There’s also a menu with more than 100 hidden Windows settings, a registry cleaner (which you should use with caution), and a revamped start-up manager.
Download: TweakNow PowerPack (Free)
3. Winaero Tweaker
Winaero Tweaker is a Windows 10 tweak tool. It has rolled together several of the old standalone Winaero customization apps into a single interface.
The software boasts an enormous number of features which are way too numerous to list in this article. Here’s a small sample to give you an idea of what is possible:
- Automatically prevent “– Shortcut” being added to the end of new shortcuts.
- Add eight custom colors to the Settings > Personalization > Color menu.
- Change the size of the scroll bars.
- Disable the Pin to Start context menu command (how many times have you accidentally clicked on it while emptying your Recycle Bin?).
- Add file encryption to the context menu.
- Edit the size of window borders, title bars, and menus.
In addition to Windows 10, the app is also compatible with Windows 7 and Windows 8. The app is still under active development, with a new release rolling out every three or four months.
Download: Winaero Tweaker (Free)
4. Ultimate Windows Tweaker
Ultimate Windows Tweaker is a lightweight (495KB) and portable Windows app that you can use to customize Windows 10 (as well as Windows 7 and 8).
Indeed, it is one of the best Windows 10 customization tools you’ll find; it offers more than 200 Windows tweaks for you to play with. You will find privacy tweaks, security tweaks, performance tweaks, context menu tweaks, search tweaks, and a whole lot more.
In addition to all the above, Ultimate Windows Tweaker also doubles as a Windows 10 taskbar customization software. For example, it lets you change the Battery, Date and Time, and Volume layouts, and show or hide Frequent folders and Recent files.
Download: Ultimate Windows Tweaker (Free)
5. Taskbar Tweaker
Although Ultimate Windows Tweaker lets you make some changes to the taskbar, if you want a more holistic level of control, check out Taskbar Tweaker. It is the best Windows 10 taskbar customization app.
The app has a small amount of cross-over with the native Windows 10 taskbar configuration tools, but the majority of what it offers cannot be achieved by fiddling with the registry or using Windows’ own settings.
Some of the taskbar customizations offered by Taskbar Tweaker include:
- Hide the Start button.
- Group/don’t group pinned items.
- Enable/disable drag to reorder.
- Remove gaps between icons.
- Hide the Show Desktop button.
- Allow the mouse wheel to cycle between taskbar buttons.
Download: Taskbar Tweaker (Free)
6. Folder Marker
Folder Marker is as much about productivity as it is about customization. Quite simply, it lets you color-code folders with a single click of the mouse.
But the options don’t stop there—you can also set folders being as High-Priority, Low-Priority, Completed, Important, and Private. If you’re working on large projects with lots of shared files and folders, it’s a great way to stay on top of your tasks.
The app can also work with several folders at once and can be set up with more sub-categories for an extra level of control.
The paid version adds features such as applying selected icons to all subfolders and adding custom icons.
Download: Folder Marker (Free, premium version available)
Be warned: Rainmeter is something of a rabbit hole. Once you get the hang of the app and learn how to tailor it for your needs, it’s hard to stop fiddling and create your own unique Windows 10 mods. Nonetheless, if you’re looking for a way to customize the Windows 10 desktop, there is no better tool.
Rainmeter works on the concept of “skins”—but that’s a bit of a misleading term. In practice, a skin can be as simple as a calendar widget or as complicated as an entirely new desktop showing everything from network usage to the latest news.
There are some default Rainmeter skins that beginner users can run. For the best experience, you need to learn how to create your own custom skins with this ultimate Windows 10 tweaker.
Download: Rainmeter (Free)
Some of the designs are seriously funky—but they require some external add-ons in order to work. Windows doesn’t play nicely with third-party themes that haven’t come directly from the Microsoft Store.
UltraUXThemePatcher is the most common tool you’ll need when using third-party themes. Given the nature of the app, it will modify your system files. Make sure you make a full backup of your important data and that you create a system restore point before you go any further.
Download: UltraUXThemePatcher (Free)
Learn More About Windows 10 Customization
Customizing Windows 10 is also an exercise in patience. If you couldn’t find what you were looking for in this article, don’t worry. We’ve written about lots of tools for specific parts of Windows elsewhere on the site.
Whether you want to bring back desktop gadgets, change the login screen message, or even create your own interactive wallpapers, we’ve got you covered.