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Best Free Apps to Customize Windows

While we spend most of our computer time in a Web browser, productivity app, or video game, the operating system is the connective tissue that binds everything together. The more smoothly and intuitively you can navigate through the OS, the less friction between you and your next activity. Let's give you some ideas for what to download.

Windows desktop enhancements FAQ

  • Can I replace the Start menu?
    With Windows 8, Microsoft introduced the Start Screen grid of icons that was optimized for touch interfaces. Accessing the traditional Start menu was awkward, and many third-party replacements sprung up to replace Windows 8's entire scheme. If you're on Windows 10 and you miss the functionality of older Start menus, you have a number of options such as Start10 or Classic Shell. Start10 costs $5 but has a design that fits better with the rest of Windows 10's aesthetics. Windows 7 users can also try these menu replacers because of their enhanced customizability.
  • Can I add tabs to the Windows file manager?
    Speaking of Web browsers, users have been asking Microsoft to add tabs to its Windows Explorer file manager for years, without success. Thankfully, a free utility like Clover can add them. Now you don't need multiple Explorer windows open just to view multiple locations on your computer's storage device.

The best desktop enhancement software for Windows and Macs

Classic Shell

Download Classic Shell

Download Clover

Download Clover

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Tom is the senior editor covering Windows at