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The best Windows 11 utilities available right now

Windows 11 is nice, but if you want more control over the operating system, these utilities can help.

Windows 11 logo
Image: Microsoft

Short on time? Jump ahead

While Windows 11 is a decent operating system (OS), no release ever feels complete.

Perhaps the user interface doesn’t look the way you think it should. Or maybe you’re missing a few fundamental features.

Thankfully, other developers often step up to fill in the gaps or remedy questionable design choices. If you can think of it, there’s probably an app for it.

A good set of functional tools can significantly improve your OS experience, so let’s take a look at the best Windows 11 utilities available.

The best Windows 11 utilities

Microsoft PowerToys

Windows 11 powertoys
Image: KnowTechie

READ MORE: How to change your username in Windows 11

PowerToys is a free customization app offered by Microsoft itself.

The application boasts a range of specialized tools that you can use to make adjustments to your OS and add functionality. Features include:

  • PowerToys Awake to stop your PC sleeping at critical moments
  • Color Picker for copying any onscreen color to the clipboard, activated with a simple Win + Shift + C key combination
  • FancyZones window manager for creating customized windows layouts
  • File Explorer add-ons to display preview panes for certain files
  • Image Resizer for, as the name suggests, quickly and easily resizing images
  • Keyboard Manager for remapping keys and creating keyboard shortcuts.
  • Mouse Utilities to improve the functionality of your mouse and cursor

PowerToys includes several more handy features but mentioning them all would create a list too long to comprehend.

To get a real feel for the application, you should install it for yourself and take it for a thorough test drive.

Stardock Start11

Windows 11 stardock
Image: KnowTechie

Stardock Start11 is one of the only paid apps ($4.99) on the list and is definitely worth a look. With every Windows release, the Start Menu is bound to be a point of contention among users.

Whether you appreciate innovation or prefer the old way of doing things, satisfaction is far from guaranteed.

READ MORE: How to create a virtual desktop in Windows 11

Fortunately, Start11 grants you more control over your precious Start Menu by letting you alter a whole lot of settings, including:

  • Layout
  • Position
  • Color
  • Other visual attributes

Start11 also offers Task Bar customization settings, including:

  • Size
  • Position
  • Right-click menu options
  • Color
  • Other visual attributes

While Start11 isn’t free, the app is super slick and functional, and Stardock offers a 30-day trial period so you can test all of the features for yourself.

Stardock start11 Stardock Start11

Stardock Start11 provides a way for users to personalize their Windows 10 Start menu and bring back some of the features and familiarity of earlier Windows versions. Whether you're a die-hard fan of the classic Start menu or simply looking for ways to customize your Windows experience, Start11 is worth considering.

  • Provides a more intuitive and streamlined user experience than the default Start menu in Windows 10 and 11
  • You can easily access and launch their favorite apps and files from the Start menu
  • It's lightweight and does not significantly impact system performance or resource usage
  • A previous version displayed choppy animations, particularly on higher refresh rate monitors. But that seems to have been addressed in an update.
What We Like:
  • Every aspect of your Start menu can be customized from top to bottom.
  • You can effortlessly modify the color scheme, adjust the transparency, tweak the spacing, and align the menu as you see fit.
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Builtbybel ThisIsWin11

Windows 11 thisiswin11
Image: KnowTechie

ThisIsWin11 is the ultimate free Windows customization tool.

When you first launch the app, the helpful Presenter takes you on a guided tour of the OS so you can gain an understanding of what’s available and what you might want to change.

Once you’re familiar with Windows 11, you can jump into OpenTweaks and begin tinkering.

Some of the most useful customization options appear in this panel, and you can enable and disable settings and features with a few clicks. OpenTweaks lets you:

  • Customize the Task Bar
  • Enable the Windows 10 File Explorer
  • Customize the Start Menu
  • Disable widgets
  • Easily alter app permissions and privacy settings
  • Optimize your PC for gaming
  • Do many other things too numerous to list

Next, you may want to use PumpedApp to remove any preinstalled bloatware or other apps you don’t want crowding your system. After that, you can move on to the application’s more advanced features.

Packages allows you to create your own install packages, and Power UI helps you automate tasks in Windows 11. Finally, the Extensions module lets you create your own custom tweaks.

If you want more control over your Windows 11 system all in one place, ThisIsWin11 is a worthy solution.

Patch My PC Home Updater

Windows 11 patchmypc
Image: KnowTechie

Patch My PC Home Updater is a free utility that helps you install, manage, and update your applications.

Over time, our computers can become bloated with software.

You may genuinely need every program installed on your PC, or you may be hesitant to remove something that could be useful later. If you fall into the latter category, you may be a hoarder.

In either case, Patch My PC Home Updater ensures that all of your applications are fully up-to-date, patching vulnerabilities and keeping everything running smoothly.

The utility includes over 300 common apps that you can easily install or update at any time, and Patch My PC also scans your system to identify outdated software and flag it for updating.

BeXCool BeWidgets

Windows 11 applications
Image: KnowTechie

If you’re unsatisfied with Microsoft’s Windows 11 widget panel, the free BeWidgets app may be the solution you’re looking for.

The utility lets you place widgets directly on your desktop and offers a wide range of customization options. Available widgets include:

  • Time
  • Date
  • Photos
  • App shortcuts
  • Finances

While the application offers most of the basic widgets you’d expect, the developer has vowed to add more in future updates. Upcoming additions include:

  • Music
  • RSS and news
  • Recent files

Once the app offers a full array of widgets, BeWidgets will be a formidable utility that will make Microsoft wish it had done more.


Ccleaner example
Image: KnowTechie

CCleaner isn’t necessarily limited to Windows 11, but it’s an amazing tool that can help keep your computer running smoothly.

The purpose of CCleaner is to keep the files on your computer cleaned up and running efficiently. It easily removes temporary files, cookies, browsing history, log files, and anything else that can build up and slow your PC down over time.

CCleaner is completely free to use. You can download the program and use it to help manage those pesky files that build up without paying anything.

However, the company does offer a paid version called CCleaner Professional. Paying for CCleaner unlocks additional features like real-time monitoring, automatic updates, and priority customer support.

Ccleaner CCleaner

CCleaner is a software tool that helps to clean up junk files and temporary data on your computer. It can clear your browser history, cookies, cache, and other unnecessary files that might be taking up space and slowing down your computer.

Why we like it: The free version of CCleaner works great, but the paid version offers additional tools, real-time monitoring, and priority support.
  • Offers a free version with basic cleaning features and a paid version with additional features
  • Regularly updated to ensure compatibility with the latest versions of Windows and other software.
  • Improve system performance by removing unnecessary files and temporary files that can slow down your computer.
  • The paid version can be relatively expensive
KnowTechie is supported by its audience, so if you buy something through our links, we may get a small share of the sale.


Notepad plus plus
Image: KnowTechie

Notepad++ is a popular utility that has been around on Windows for years now. It’s a completely free text and source code editor written in C++ using the Scintilla editing component.

The tool supports several coding languages, including C++, Java, Python, PHP, HTML, and many more.

Beyond using Notepad++ to edit text files, you can use the program for a variety of functions. It provides syntax highlighting, making it easier to read and edit code in many languages.

It’s also capable of code folding for easier navigation across long files of complex code. You can work on multiple files at once with multiple tabs or windows. And it supports a wide range of plugins to add more functionality.

Choose the best Windows 11 utilities for you

We all have different needs and expectations, so not all of the Windows 11 utilities mentioned will be useful to everyone. But these are some of the best Windows 11 utilities we’ve found.

All of the applications discussed are either free or offer an unpaid trial period, so you can peruse the list, see what stands out, and decide what works for you.

At the end of the day, even the most simple utilities can seriously enhance your Windows 11 experience.

Have any thoughts on this? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

Editors’ Recommendations:

Just a heads up, if you buy something through our links, we may get a small share of the sale. It’s one of the ways we keep the lights on here. Click here for more.

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Matt is an Australian writer with a degree in creative and critical writing. Prior to commencing his studies, he worked in tech support and gained valuable insights into technology and its users. He is also an editor and author coach at Dean Publishing.

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