In many cases, Microsoft has replaced old tools with seemingly new ones that aren’t that different. The Windows 10 Settings app is a good example. It takes most of the old Control Panel elements and reorganizes them within a cleaner interface.
Microsoft made much of this new Settings app, but still didn’t have the confidence to abandon Control Panel altogether (click Start, type control panel and press Enter to see it).
In other instances, Microsoft has left its old tools completely intact. Compare the bolder, sharper layout of File Explorer in Windows 10 with the softer layout of 7’s Windows Explorer, for example.
No new features have been added to these tools in years, yet here they stand, apparently fit for purpose.
REPLACE WINDOWS TOOLS WITH BETTER ONES
DEVICE MANAGER What to replace it with?
DevManView ( Download Now )
DevManView from the ever-reliable NirSoft really shows up Microsoft’s neglect, with tons of brilliant tools and options that really let you dig deep into your PC’s hardware to diagnose problems.
For starters, all hardware is listed in a flat table instead of a tree view, so you don’t have to hunt for important information.
Really useful abilities, such as opening relevant registry keys or running a Google search, are just a right-click away (see screenshot right). And as long as you have administrator access, you can remotely see the device list of other computers on your network.
NOTEPAD What to replace it with?
DocPad ( Download Now )
What it does that Windows doesn’t Whichever way you look at it, Windows’ Notepad is a bare-bones affair. If you do lots of coding, you might want to look at Notepad++ ,
which has lots of useful options, including syntax highlighting.
But if you’re just looking for a way to make quick notes and edit documents, then install DocPad.
It has loads of useful features that Notepad doesn’t, including a built-in character map, indenting, bookmarking, and a spellchecker (though this needs to be installed separately from Crucially, it’s still being maintained by its developers, and the new version adds a welcome screen of recent files and line-spacing options.
CALCULATOR, What to replace it with?
Moffsoft FreeCalc ( Download Now )
What it does that Windows doesn’t
Windows 10’s Calculator app does have advanced tools. Click the menu button (three lines) to reveal a number of extra functions, including Scientific and Programmer modes as well as a few measurement-conversion tools.
But one very useful feature it lacks is the ability to print. Moffsoft FreeCalc is a pretty basic alternative, but it has one huge advantage – a brilliant ‘tape’ function.
Like virtual ticker tape it lets you review, save and print your calculation history .
WINDOWS SEARCH What to replace it with?
Everything ( Download Now )
What it does that Windows doesn’t Windows’ search function lets you look for files and programs from the Start menu, but it also clutters your searches with Bing results which – let’s face it – just get in the way.
More recent versions of Windows 10 have made it harder to disable these. The solution is to install the lightning fast Everything.
Not only does it banish Bing (and any other web searches), but it also lets you easily carry out advanced searches, such as by all words, exact phrase and by upper or lower case.
A recent major update added some excellent new features, including a
preview pane and thumbnail view, as well as sorting and file-renaming tools.
REGISTRY EDITOR What to replace it with?
RegCool ( Download Now )
What it does that Windows doesn’t Windows’ registry editor has always been lacking one vital feature: the ability to undo (or redo) any changes you make.
RegCool provides this, along with a number of other advanced options, such as custom searches, comparison tools, drag-and-drop support and the ability to open multiple registry windows at the same time.
RegCool is still being actively supported by its developer and a new version (which tweaked the interface) was recently released. A portable version is also available.
Related Post Windows 10 Registry Tweaks
VOLUME CONTROL What to replace it with?
EarTrumpet ( Download Now )
What it does that Windows doesn’t Windows’ volume control is a bit of a blunt instrument. Click the speaker icon in the notification area and all you get is a single slider to lower or increase the overall system volume.
TASK MANAGER What to replace it with?
Process Hacker ( Download Now )
What it does that Windows doesn’t Want to find out what’s draining your CPU’s power or hogging your system memory? Windows Task Manager will let you do this, but the information it provides is limited.
Process Hacker gives you a much more detailed tree view of active processes, instead of a basic list.
Related Post task manager alternative
PRINT SCREEN/ SNIPPING TOOL What to replace it with?
Greenshot ( Download Now )
What it does that Windows doesn’t Windows effectively has two built-in screen-capture tools, and neither is great. Pressing PrntScr on your keyboard copies what’s on screen to your clipboard, letting you paste it into other programs, while the Snipping tool offers a handful of further features, including the ability to capture a specific area of your screen.
WINDOWS TOOLS YOU CAN IGNORE
Don’treplaceallWindowstools.Some are so unnecessary, you can simply not use them
We’re just not comfortable with the amount of personal data Microsoft’s digital assistant collects. Turn it off by clicking in the search box, then clicking the Settings cog and switching everything off.
PEER TO PEER UPDATE SHARING
Microsoft’s idea to upload Windows Update files from your PC to complete strangers’ computers over your internet connection is downright presumptuous. Switch it off in Settings, ‘Update & security’, ‘Advanced options’, ‘Choose how updates are delivered’.
Windows 10 comes with this useless app for creating 3D models. Great for the three people in the country who own a 3D printer, but not for the rest of us. Remove it
from Settings, Apps, ‘Apps & features’.