Are there things about the way Windows looks and works that you would like to change? Would you like to add a cool widget to the desktop, change animation speeds, or even tweak the way you log into the operating system? Do you like to customize things and truly want to make Windows you own? There are a vast amount of things that you can customize with the programs that I am about to share with you. We are going to go over some things that you should do to prepare for tweaking Windows and three applications that you can use to customize your computer.
Important Things to Do before Using Any Tweaking Application
Here are some things you should do before you start tweaking Windows. If you use the applications that I am about to share with you in this post you will be able to make many changes to the way Windows looks and behaves. In case something goes wrong it is important that you make sure that the files that you care about are kept safe so you don’t lose anything. It is also important for you to have a way back in case you start making a bunch of changes but end up not liking the results.
- Back up your files. You should always keep backups whether you get into customizing your Windows installation or not. Backing up to an external hard drive is probably the easiest way. Back up your important files, but I would also advise you to make a disk image.
- Create restore points before making any major changes to your system. That way if things go wrong you may be able to take Windows back to the state it was in before you started tweaking things.
- Read the descriptions of what the tweaks actually do before implementing them.
- Before making any change stop and think if you really want to make it or not.
3 Tweaking Tools to Customize Windows to Your Heart’s Content
The tools that we are going to go over are 7+ Taskbar Tweaker, Rainmaker, and Winaero Tweaker. With these applications you can make many fundamental changes to the way Windows looks and behaves. Have fun but also proceed with caution.
7+ Taskbar Tweaker
7+ Taskbar Tweaker allows you to play around with several taskbar options. Here is a partial list of things you can do:
- When you right click on an item on the taskbar you can have it open either a jump list or a general Windows right click menu.
- Remove the gap between pinned items.
- Set the taskbar so you have to double click an item to open it.
- Change the grouping settings.
- Change combining settings.
- Set it so you can control volume either by pointing at the taskbar or notification area and rolling the mouse wheel.
- Display seconds in the system tray clock.
There are many other options available. If you want to make changes to the way your taskbar works then this is a program to check out.
With Rainmeter you can change the whole look of your desktop and add skins which provide a variety of widgets. To be honest what I just said is actually an understatement. How far you can go when customizing with Rainmeter can seem almost boundless. If you are a tweak junkie then you will definitely want to install this program. After you install it, it looks complicated at first glance but Rainmeter is a lot easier to use than you might think. First I’ll give you a list of three places to start your search for skins. After that we’ll go over a basic list of steps to install a new skin. Then I’ll list some resources to learn more about Rainmeter. Note that many skins are free.
Start your search for skins here:
Installing a new skin:
- Find and download the skin that you want to install.
- If the skin is in a .zip file or some other compressed file format you will need to extract it first.
- Double click the Rainmeter file to start the installation.
- Make sure the skin name and the option to install included skins are selected.
- Click Install.
You can edit the skin you just installed by going into the main Rainmeter window. To do so right click on the Rainmeter icon in the system tray and choose Manage. If there is a widget on the desktop that you want to remove just right click on it, choose Variants, and click the name of the widget.
There are actually a lot of things you can do to customize your desktop with Rainmeter. To help you get started learning more about it here are some resources for you to check out:
- This blog post at Silicophilic presents step by step instructions on installing Rainmeter and skins.
- This video provides a quick and simple walkthrough on using Rainmeter.
- This video demonstrates both using Rainmeter and desktop customization in general.
- The Mister Guy YouTube channel isn’t exclusively about Rainmeter but it covers Rainmeter, Android setups, and other PC and Android customizations. They don’t seem to talk in their videos but instead play music and demonstrate the customizations. I find them interesting to watch just to get ideas but you’ll have to decide if they are your cup of tea.
Rainmeter is very powerful and user friendly once you get the hang of it.
Where 7+ Taskbar Tweaker allows you to tweak the taskbar and Rainmeter lets you take control of your desktop, Winaero Tweaker takes you even deeper into the tweaking rabbit hole. With Winaero you can tweak both the appearance of Windows and the way the operating system works. Here are the aspects of Windows that you can play with:
- Appearance Settings
- Operating System Behavior
- Boot and Logon Settings
- Desktop and Taskbar Settings
- Context Menu Settings
- Tweaks for the Settings App and Control Panel
- File Explorer Settings
- Network Settings
- User Accounts Tweaks
- Windows Defender Tweaks
- Windows Apps Settings
- Privacy Settings
- Shortcuts Tweaks
- Customization Tools
- Access to Classic Apps
Within the categories that I just listed there are dozens of tweaks that you can make to your system. The amount of things that this application allows you to change is impressive.
Now you will be able to make changes to the way Windows works and create an experience that is truly yours. Start with the safety precautions, be careful, think before you tweak, and have fun. Let me know what cool customizations you come up with.