How many experiments with Windows of different versions have we carried out in the materials of 3DNews! We tested in practice unusual techniques for resetting a user password in the operating system, talked about self-assembly of Live CD / USB-OS distributions, ways to disable spyware telemetry and data protection functions, fished out information about hidden settings and little-known platform capabilities, as well as about effective and reliable methods for recovering Windows when a failure occurs. It’s time to continue the past experiments and share information on how to modify the interface of Windows 10, the most common system for personal computers today. The goal is not that noble, but interesting.
Disclaimer. Using the instructions and utilities listed in the note, as a rule, leads to changes in the system files and libraries of Windows 10, intervention in which can disrupt the stable operation of the OS and lead to crashes. The actions described below may be reproduced solely on your own initiative and at your own risk. We strongly recommend that you back up your operating system and data to avoid any trouble. The editorial board does not bear any responsibility for any possible consequences.
⇡ # Adding system indicators to the taskbar
Using the Taskbar stats utility, you can expand the information content of the Windows 10 taskbar and place indicators on the processor and RAM utilization, the speed of incoming and outgoing network connections, as well as information about operations with the disk drive. All you need to do is install the application (the link contains the application page on Github) and then enable the display of suitable indicators in the context menu of the taskbar. Taskbar stats is distributed free of charge and consumes a minimum of resources.
For those who find Taskbar stats indicators overly ascetic, we can recommend the XMeters utility. It solves similar problems, but in terms of data visualization it is much more interesting, and there are more settings in it. XMeters comes in two editions – Free and Professional, the latter costing $ 5. It is not worth parting with your hard-earned money on the move, since the capabilities of the free version of the program are quite enough for operational monitoring of computer system resources.
⇡ # Align taskbar icons to the center (as in macOS and Chrome OS)
To teach Windows 10 to automatically center application icons in the taskbar, the tiny utility CenterTaskbar, which takes about a hundred kilobytes, allows. The program uses the Microsoft UI Automation API, is able to interact with the vertically placed taskbar, supports multi-monitor systems and is distributed with open source codes.
⇡ # Adding the day of the week to the clock on the taskbar
By default, the Windows 10 clock shows in the lower right corner of the desktop only the current time and date, which can be supplemented with information about the day of the week through simple manipulations with the OS settings. This operation is performed in the Windows 10 control panel, in the regional settings and date format settings.
It is enough, guided by the above screenshots, to add dddd symbols to the “Short date” field and press the “Apply” button. As a result, the clock placed in the notification area will be supplemented with information about the current day of the week. The most important thing for forgetful users and those who are used to thoughtfully watching the passage of time.
⇡ # Return of the classic Start menu
Those who are tired of endless experiments of the Windows 10 developers with the tiled Start menu can return the classic design of this interface element to the operating system. Turning back the clock allows the Classic Shell utility, which in one click returns the previous tree-like Start menu, which was in Windows 7 and earlier OS versions. The application also allows you to play around with the settings of the taskbar, context menu and other elements of the Windows 10 working environment. The only thing: since the Classic Shell program has not been updated for more than three years (the last version was released in December 2017), some functions in it no longer work … Nevertheless, the application copes with its main task perfectly.
⇡ # Expanding the capabilities of the working environment Windows 10
In this case, you can rely on the proprietary PowerToys suite of applications developed by the Microsoft team, which adds a lot of useful functions and tools to the top ten. Among them: a color picker, the ability to preview icons for SVG files (.svg) and Markdown documents (.md), the Windows 10 shell extension for quickly resizing images, a keyboard manager, instant program launchers and bulk file renamers, and many others. functions. An interesting feature of PowerToys is the FancyZones window manager, which makes it easy to create complex window layouts and quickly place windows in those layouts. Note also the keyboard shortcut tooltips that appear when the user holds down the Windows key for more than one second. This displays all available keyboard shortcuts for the current state of the desktop.
⇡ # Configuring hidden interface parameters Windows 10
For those who like to dig deeper, there are all kinds of tweaker utilities that allow you to get to the most hidden settings of the operating system. A huge variety of such programs are presented on the global network. From the trustworthy ones, let us single out Ultimate Windows Tweaker, which opens access to more than two hundred hidden OS parameters and allows you to configure almost all elements of the Tens’ user interface – from the Start menu and taskbar to Explorer and desktop settings. As a rule, to activate certain functions, tweakers change the values in the registry or in the configuration files of Windows 10. For this reason, interacting with such applications requires utmost care and understanding that any changes made to the system can disrupt its stable operation.
⇡ # Removing voice assistant Cortana
For Russian-speaking users of Windows 10, this tool stuffed with artificial intelligence is of little practical value, and it can be safely excluded from the system. To keep the Cortana icon clean and free up disk space, open the PowerShell console as an administrator and enter the command Get-appxpackage -allusers Microsoft.549981C3F5F10 | Remove-AppxPackage. After that, the Cortana voice assistant will remain only memories.
⇡ # Adding widgets to Windows 10
In the old days, the Windows software platform allowed widgets (known as gadgets in the Windows world) to be placed on the desktop – miniature applications that display information useful to the user. Subsequently, for security reasons, Microsoft disabled this feature, which can be easily returned to its place through third-party solutions such as Win10 Widgets. This program is built on the basis of the well-known opensource-development Rainmeter and contains a large number of various customizable widgets that allow you to monitor the status of the system, monitor traffic consumption, monitor the battery charge of the laptop and solve other problems.
⇡ # Coloring directory icons in different colors
Such functionality of Windows 10 will not only add color to the working environment of the system, but also simplify the visual search for folders with files. It can be implemented using the free utility Folder Painter, which adds the necessary options to the context menu for color-coding directory icons. All ingenious is simple.
⇡ # Expanding the functionality of the context menu
With this revision, you can significantly improve the efficiency of work in the Windows 10 operating system. You just need to use the Easy Context Menu program, which allows you to supplement the context menu with frequently used commands and tools. For example, you can add items to open the command line, lock the keyboard, delete temporary files, copy the IP address, and other menu items that perform certain quick actions. You shouldn’t be too smart with Easy Context Menu, otherwise all the benefits of this program may come to naught.
⇡ # Automatic switching between light and dark themes for Windows 10
To quickly select the appropriate operating mode for the user interface, there is a corresponding option in the “dozens” notification menu, but it is much more practical to entrust the control of this function to an automation. This can be done using the Auto Dark Mode utility. The setup process is extremely simple: install the program, launch it, put a checkmark in front of the “Automatic theme change” item, select the appropriate time to switch to day / night mode and click “Apply”. Nothing complicated.
Well, at the end of the issue, once again recall the importance of backing up data, creating disk images and file archives. In the arsenal of Windows 10, there are all the necessary tools for this, and their regular and timely use will allow you to quickly restore the computer in case of technical failures of the operating system.
If you notice an error, select it with the mouse and press CTRL + ENTER.