One thing I love about Windows is that there is a third-party app for almost everything you want to do. There are even alternative third-party apps for default Windows features.
Whether the humongous Start menu is bugging you or moving data between multiple folders in File explorer is giving you a headache, there are apps to solve all these issues. Microsoft might turn a deaf ear to our feature requests, but third-party developers are there to offer alternative apps with the features we need.
Below I have compiled a list of alternative apps that are much better than the default Windows 11 features.
Process Hacker: Task Manager Alternative
Process Hacker may not have a sleek interface like the Windows Task Manager, but it’s much more powerful. It uses color codes to make it easier to identify processes like systems, third-party, services, etc. You can also quickly see newly opened/closed processes easily using green and red colors.
It also has a dedicated tab for disk usage where you can see complete read/write history and even change process priorities for faster speed. Even though the performance it provides is similar to the Windows Task Manager, the graphs are color-coded, so reading the data is easier.
There is also a search option to find all the handles and DLLs associated with processes, which can be helpful for closing stubborn processes. Along with offering more information, Process Hacker is highly customizable, letting you configure how to view the information.
Microsoft has a thing for completely changing the Start menu with its version upgrades, so it’s a given there will be Start menu alternatives available for people who dislike the changes. I recommend StartAllBack for this, as it’s one of the few apps that were updated to work smoothly with Windows 11.
It replaces the Start menu with a classic Windows 7-style Start menu with pinned apps, important folders/settings, and a search bar at the bottom. The Start menu is fully customizable, you can change its style, size, and content you want to see.
It also replaces the Taskbar and removes many functionalities in Windows 11, like the ability to change location, icon size, icon position, and Taskbar style. You can also disable the Taskbar changes if you only want to replace the Start menu.
Why it’s better?
Access Windows 7 quick access folder/settings.
Customize the Start menu style.
Listary: Windows Search Alternative
When you search in Listary, it shows apps, folders, documents, and all types of files in a scorable interface. This makes it very easy to access all types of content in one place related to your keyword. You can apply actions right from the search results, such as copy, delete, properties, etc.
Unlike Windows Search, you are also not bound to Bing and Microsoft Edge for web search. You can use a hotkey or keyword to search your favorite website directly and open it in the default browser. This allows you to search in Google Search, Wikipedia, YouTube, Amazon, Facebook, and many more directly from the Listary interface.
As a long-time user, I find it much faster and lighter on resources compared to Windows Search. Although it works alongside Windows Search, you can disable Windows Search to free up resources.
Why it’s better?
Faster and lighter.
Opens all types of files/folders related to keywords.
Search websites from the Listary interface.
Create custom commands to access files/apps.
Apply actions in the search results.
HWiNFO: System Information Tool
The System Information tool in Windows only shows basic information about your PC hardware, like name, capacity, model, etc. HWiNFO is a great alternative that shows extension information in an interactive interface.
It shows information and changes to it in real-time, such as current CPU speed or voltage. Besides hardware specs, it also shows all the supported and unsupported features. This makes it easier to check if your PC supports a specific feature that a program may require, such as the need for TPM for Windows 11 installation.
I like its Sensors feature that shows the function of sensors in your PC in real time. You can see real-time changes to components temperature, CPU/GPU utilization, memory usage, disk read/write speed, and much more.
If you want something simpler, CPU-Z is a good option. It shows changes in real time and has the option to benchmark your PC.
Why it’s better?
Offers extensive specifications information.
View all supported and unsupported hardware features.
View information from all the PC sensors.
Save reports in multiple formats.
Double Commander — File Explorer Alternative
You’ll find File Explorer very limited if you need to manage files and folders in different locations often. Double Commander is a file manager app that offers a double-window view with unlimited tabs to manage data.
It opens two windows side-by-side to let you quickly move/copy data between two locations. You can also open unlimited tabs in both windows to manage data in multiple locations quickly. I also like how it has keyboard shortcuts for almost all the actions, which makes managing data easier and faster.
Other than easy access to data, it can do many other things like split files, create/extract archives, combine files, bulk rename, edit metadata, compare files, and much more. Best of all, you can save your sessions to continue later and continue where you left off if you close the app.
Why it’s better?
Open unlimited tabs.
Built-in file viewer.
Extra file management tools.
Autosave current session.
Avast One: Windows Defender Alternative
Windows Defender does a fine job of protecting from malware, but that’s not enough when online privacy and security are such a concern. Avast One not only protects against malware but also protects against online threats.
It will protect against browser hijacking and phishing attacks along with tracking protection. Furthermore, it will notify you if your passwords get leaked in a data breach. Important folders in your PC are also protected from ransomware attacks.
For utmost online privacy, a VPN is a must, and Avast One makes this easier by offering a built-in VPN. You can connect to 50+ locations with unlimited data; even the free version of Avast One offers 5GB of VPN data per week.
Whether you uninstall apps from the Control panel or the Settings, Windows 11 uninstaller does a sloppy job getting rid of all the data related to an app. IObit Uninstaller not only deletes all the data associated with an app but also lets you delete apps in bulk.
Just select the apps you want to delete from the list and hit the Uninstall button at the top. After confirmation, the app will uninstall all the apps along with all the residual data like registry entries and app data. It will also automatically get rid of prompts by apps, such as dialogues for surveys.
Other than bulk uninstalling, it also helps uninstall bloatware and system apps. There are dedicated sections for these apps, and it can uninstall stubborn apps too.
Why it’s better?
Bulk uninstall apps.
Delete residual data.
Uninstall bloatware and system apps.
Bulk uninstall browser add-ons.
Sort apps by size or time.
Greenshot: Snipping Tool Alternative
The Snipping Tool in Windows lets you take a screenshot using a keyboard shortcut, but it’s very limited in features. I recommend Greenshot as it’s a light tool with all the required features to take and share screenshots easily.
Like the Snipping Tool, it offers multiple screenshots, but it comes with a ruler and keyboard shortcuts to easily take screenshots. The screenshots can be saved automatically in your preferred location or shared online.
The tool doesn’t have an interface and works directly from the system tray. You just need to configure the output location and keyboard shortcuts to start using the tool.
Why it’s better?
Automatically save screenshots to a preferred location.
Use the ruler to see the screenshot size.
Upload screenshots directly to websites.
Configure screenshot quality.
Although it isn’t a Windows 11 Settings app replacement, ThisIsWin11 offers tons of automatic customization options that should heavily improve your Windows experience. Just go through the list of changes it recommends and uncheck the ones you don’t want to apply. Afterward, hit the Fix issues button, and it will apply all the changes. You can even delete bloatware using this app.
All the above apps are better than the default Windows features in most cases. However, they can have downsides too, like Avast One is much heavier on system resources compared to Windows Defender. So make sure you thoroughly check each app to ensure it doesn’t negatively impact your experience.