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The 10 Best Desktop Tools for Windows

Desktop Tool
1 Fences Fences aids easy organization of your PC through automatic placement of desktop icons and shortcuts into resizable shaded areas referred to as fences. It’s the various customization features of Fences that makes it the most popular desktop tool for Windows, all over the world.

The roll-up feature of Fences facilitates desktop de-cluttering, and helps in maintenance of Fences at places where it’s easy to find them. Double-clicking a Fence’s title bar rolls it up, saving valuable space. And double-clicking it again or just moving the mouse over the title bar, reveals the title and rest of the Fence’s icons as usual.

You can create multiple Fences and switch between them quickly by taking your mouse cursor to the screen’s edge and click-dragging the next screen. The desktop can be cleaned up instantly by double-clicking on any blank space on the desktop, causing the icons to fade out. A double-click again shows them up again.

You can define rules for arrangement of desktop icons, and Fences will automatically sort the icons based on those rules. Fences can also serve as a portal to any specific folder on your system. For instance, you can mirror your pictures or documents folders on your desktop, making them quickly accessible through a Fence, without cluttering up the desktop space. The transparency, background colors and labels of the Fences can also be personalized through an easy-to-use configuration menu. Earlier available as a free product, you now need to pay a small fee for its usage.

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2 Launchy Launchy is a free-of-cost cross-platform desktop utility that makes you forget about the desktop icons, the start menu and even the file manager! It indexes the Start menu programs and can open your bookmarks, project files, documents and folders with only a few keystrokes. Launchy can be triggered at any time, using the Alt + Space key combo, after which you can type any folder or program’s name.

This Windows desktop tool allows you to add a modal window to your website or application, saving you the time to code it yourself, especially if you don’t know which third-party scripts you should add. Launchy serves as the ideal modal window script that’s not just fully accessible, but also extremely easy to use and implement. It is an open source tool, comes for free, is well-tested and works perfectly well!

You can get Launchy by either copy-pasting the launchy.js source into a fresh JS file inside your project, and then including the script in your template, Or, through NPM

Using Launchy is extremely easy too. You must add the HTML content to the template or page you’d like appear inside the modal window. Thereafter, wrap the content inside an HTML container, using data-launchy attribute. You’d also require a data-launchy-text attribute that translates into the launcher control text.

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3 RocketDock Counted among the most popular features of Mac OS X is the Dock. It’s an easily customizable bar of icons situated at the side or bottom of the screen, enabling you to quickly access and run frequently-used applications. It’s a very important feature that is missing from the Microsoft Windows.

RocketDock is a type of dock program which can be placed at the side, bottom or top of your Windows desktop, providing you with swift access to all your favorite features and applications. You get icons for majority of important features such as Recycle bin, Control Panel, ThisPC etc. by default, and can also add many more new ones by simply dragging and dropping them into RocketDock.

It’s a highly customizable program that allows you to play around with the opacity and graphics of the icons, incorporating a number of distinct styles, and more.

On the whole, RocketDock is a very smooth, alpha-blended and animated application launcher that provides a neat interface for dropping shortcuts, enabling their easy organization and quick access. Its added taskbar support ensures that any minimized window appears in the form of an icon on the dock, providing for better accessibility and productivity.

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4 Rainmeter Rainmeter is an open source and free of cost desktop customization tool for MS Windows. It is offered under the GNU GPL v2 license and enables users to build user-generated customizable applets or widgets for the desktop, referred to as skins, which display information from multiple programs.

Users are free to download and use some are readily available skins, available in the form of packages called ‘suites’. Some of the common functionalities of the Rainmeter skins are system monitors, desktop clocks, audio players, application launchers, RSS readers and weather widgets.

Rainmeter provides an excellent means to put considerably more amount of information in front of you, on your desktop, without the need of loading different applications separately. For instance, you can create a skin for Facebook, Gmail, Twitter and RSS feeds, saving you a lot of time on checking all these services separately. The skin would keep you constantly updated about them, while you work on something more important.

It has a very tiny footprint – just 24 k inside the task monitor, despite the fact that it can display lots of information.

When it comes to the safety of its use, it’s even safer than Windows widget. All the Rainmeter skins are scripted and you get access to the source code. You’re free to open their .INI files and make edits if you need, or simply check how the skin works.

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5 Dexpot Dexpot is another highly useful desktop tool for Windows with which you can easily create multiple virtual desktop environments to place your programs in them. For instance, you can put all your favorite video editing tools inside one virtual desktop, and have your regularly used image editing tools inside another. The program is essentially meant to help you organize your desktop and keep it clutter-free.

If you’re a laptop user who feels he/she is limited to only the 15-inch monitor space he/she’s provided, a virtual desktop can be the next best thing to connecting an extra monitor to your system. The tool is highly customizable. In fact, there’s not even a single aspect of it which you cannot customize, be it in the animation (while switching between different virtual desktops), hotkeys, number of desktops and hot corners used for making the switches (with mouse and keyboard) and more.

Some of the well-known uses of Dexpot are:
- Facilitates working with multiple applications
- Helps overcome desktop clutter
- Helps easy organization of applications into different work areas

Why Dexpot:
- Packed with various features
- Free for personal use
- Easy to learn and master for beginners
- Easily customizable for the experts
- Individual level support by the tool developers
- Small memory footprint

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6 7+ Taskbar Tweaker This one’s anther very interesting tool that enables you to customize the Windows taskbar in many different ways. If you are unhappy with the way Windows groups items inside the taskbar, you are allowed to turn it off, either for only the pinned items, or everything. Majority of the configuration options offered by 7+ Taskbar Tweaker are normally tweakable through registry or the taskbar properties.

It’s a very efficient app that enables you to:
- Hide label, show label, ungroup, group based on the application ID
- Reorder items inside a tab group
- Alter the application ID of Windows, facilitating grouping of whichever windows you want
- Minimizing, closing etc. of multiple windows in one go

You can open this tool from inside the tray menu, by middle or double clicking any empty space inside the taskbar or from the tool’s main window. 7+ Taskbar Tweaker is compatible with Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1 and Windows 10.

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7 MyFolders MyFolders is a Windows Explorer shell extension which saves you plenty of time by providing you easy and quick access to any folder. Copying, moving or opening any folder can be done in a matter of few clicks. This utility enhances the Windows Explorer’s right click menu, adding many different utilities to access the folders. When you use MyFolders to access your folders from within Windows Explorer, you can:
- Copy the selected files to any of your favorite folders. This can be done by highlighting the files, then right clicking and selecting, ‘MyFolders -> Copy to,’ followed by selecting the folder you wish to copy to. MyFolders will immediately copy the highlighted files to the target folder.
- Easily move files to a folder of your choice. You can do this by highlighting the files you wish to move, then right clicking and selecting ‘MyFolders -> Move to,’ followed by selecting the folder you wish to move the files to. MyFolders will instantly do the needful for you.
- Instantly open any folder in Windows Explorer. To do this, right-click and select ‘MyFolders -> Go to,’ followed by the folder you wish to open, and MyFolders will take you that folder in an instant.
- Instantly open the Windows Command Prompt inside a particular folder. To do this, right click and select ‘MyFolders -> Open Command Window in,’ followed by selecting the folder you wish to open it in, and the utility will do exactly that for you.

If you frequently copy files and folders from/to USB flash drives, using MyFolders will cut your work into half as there’ll be no need of browsing to the destination folder. It would be all about right clicking the concerned files/folders, and then selecting the ‘MyFolders -> Copy to’ option, followed by selecting the target folder!

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8 Start10 If you’re keen on adding some extra spice to the Windows 10 Start menu, Star10 (a Stardock product) is an excellent tool you must use. The best place to obtain Start10 is from the Stardock’s official website. The tool gives you some highly granular control over the customization of your Start menu.

It makes it easy for you to switch between the regular Windows 10, Modern and Windows 7 designs, by default. Other than that, you can make changes to the menu button, tweak colors, adjust transparency and do many other things.

Some of the well-known features of this app are:
- Filtration of the Start menu searches
- Replaces the regular Windows 10 tile menu with the menu type you might be more used to, from earlier
- Enables easy integration of the Stardock’s Fences in the Start menu
- Restores quick links to the core system functionalities
- Allows for texture application to the Start10 taskbar and background
- Maintains ‘All Programs’ folder
- Replaces the regular Start button with one of your own

It’s a pretty decent Windows desktop tool, especially if you love customizing your Windows 10 set up to make it suitable and likeable for your day-to-day needs. Although you need to shell out a tiny sum for it, it’s absolutely worthy of the investment if you’re in need of such an app.
9 WindowBlinds WindowBlind is a highly popular desktop utility that enables you to completely transform the overall feel and appearance of the Microsoft Windows. It does that job by application of fresh visual styles, referred to as skins, to all the main user interfaces of the Windows operating system, such as pushbuttons, title bars, taskbar, start menu, borders, progress animations, Explorer views and more. Resultantly, you get comprehensive control over the appearance of the Windows desktop.

No matter how good MS Windows might look inherently, it’s essentially a one-size-fits-all type of solution. The WindowBlinds utility provides you with thousands of fresh and different looks you can choose from.

You can even modify and personalize WindowBlinds skins or any of the default Windows themes, to your liking. These skins can even be made transparent, enabling them to blend easily into the backgrounds. Fonts can be altered too.

The tool offers a simplified configuration menu that makes such desktop-personalization more intuitive and quick. You can immediately preview your adjustments and selections, before applying them to the desktop. Furthermore, it’s only after you’re happy and satisfied with the changes made to the skin that you need to save it through the creation of a preset. Presets allow you to access the previous customizations, facilitating their quick application to the skins. You can even delete or update the presets.

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10 Folder Marker Folder marker is yet another highly useful desktop tool which comes for free. It enables you to mark folders using color-coded icons, thereby making important information easily searchable, and essentially a one-glance affair.

Although you can customize the folder icons using the regular Windows method, but if you opt for Folder Marker, you’d be able to do that on the fly, through a folder’s right click menu. Hence, there’d be no need of passing through additional dialogs or having to run the Folder Marker utility itself. It’d be just about selecting the folder you wish to mark, right clicking on its icon and selecting the color-coded icon you want for it, from the provided drop-down menu. Once done, that icon will be instantly assigned to that folder.

The same can be done for a group of folders as well, by selecting them with the mouse and then right clicking to choose the desired color-coded icon for them. You even get the option to add a maximum of 10 icons of your choice to the Folder Marker menu, apart from the default icons. These icons can be in several different formats including BMP, CPLL, ICO, DLL, EXE and ICL.

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A Windows desktop gone out-of-control is never a pretty sight. The same is applicable to an overtly practical desktop. Actually, your desktop can be compared to your wardrobe, work desk or room. All these places can get messy fairly quickly if you don’t practice some good habits, and keep them organized on a regular basis.

A messy desktop can reduce your productivity and mess up your mood too. While there are various super effective desktop management and customization tools you can use to make your life easy (detailed above), it’s also important to practice some important tips or rules to keep your desktop clean and well organized always. There isn’t a worst sight than a super-cluttered desktop!

Create shortcuts for your files

This is a golden rule when it comes to keeping your desktop clean. You must never save any files directly to your desktop, and instead should send them to the ‘My Documents’ folder available on your hard drive (can be done using the MyFolders desktop tool), followed by adding a shortcut to that folder on the desktop. Majority of the backup programs cannot protect files saved directly onto the desktop, thereby putting them at greater risk (in case of a system crash).

It is important that you save all your folders and files on a separate partition on your hard disk, and never on the system partition, to ensure their safety. You can always add a shortcut to that partition on your desktop, to make those files and folders quickly accessible. In case you’re not aware, a shortcut can be created by right clicking on the folder or drive name, and then clicking on ‘Make desktop shortcut’.

Organize your files into different folders

Maintaining your files in separate folders is a very critical step in overall computer organization, however, it is even more important when it comes to desktop organization, as your desktop would normally have very limited space.

You must create a separate folder for every different broad category, for instance, school, work, home, miscellaneous etc. These folders can thereafter have subfolders, where you can further separate files based on their purposes. For instance, you can have a separate subfolder for family vacation pictures, wedding pictures, birth day pics etc. Making effective use of folders allows you to quickly navigate to different documents, saving lots of space on the desktop.

Organize the folders on the desktop

There are several different ways you can organize folders on your desktop, depending on your exact visual preferences and needs. Experts suggest that you must divide your desktop into two separate halves, keeping all your software and applications on the left-hand side, and the general folders and files on the right. Both the sides can be alphabetized in order to facilitate quick access whenever needed.

Some experts also suggest dividing your desktop into four quadrants, rather than two halves. Doing so would enable you to not just separate your files and applications, but would also allow you to categorize your files into separate sections for every quadrant, for instance, personal, finance, work and family. This method works best for people who wish to effectively manage different aspects of their lives, on one single computer. It aids separation of categories in a visual way.

Use color codes for your folders

Although color coding doesn’t work well for everyone, as all of us have distinct learning styles, it can be a game changer when it comes to visually oriented people. For instance, you could make all your financial docs green and your work-related documents purple. Alternatively, you could also have distinct colors for items that must be attended to immediately, as against the ones that can be addressed later. Such color coding allows for quick and simple identification of files based on your organizational preferences. You can perform such color coding with the Folder Marker desktop tool detailed above.

Never allow your desktop to get cluttered

Cluttering up your desktop has a direct impact on the clutter in your mind. Your home screen should always look orderly and clean, having limited number of items. The maximum number of items present on your desktop at any point of time would depend on your personal preferences and the screen size, however, the general thumb rule is to keep at least 1/2 to 2/3 of your desktop screen icon-free and open.

Perform regular updates

Once you get into the habit of saving everything on your desktop, it’s only natural that things will pile up over a period of time, even if you don’t use many of them for a long time. You can avoid such pile up by spending at least 10 minutes per week on reviewing your desktop and deleting any items that aren’t required anymore. Doing so would allow you to keep your workspace updated and you’d be able to reflect on your accomplishments in the week gone by, as well as what all you must do in the upcoming week.

Use some neutral and simple image for the background

Although it might seem fun to have the pictures of your favorite vacation destinations, pets, family members, friends etc. as your desktop background, you must instead use some neutral colored and simple image for that purpose. It would help you keep the desktop design clutter-free and clean. Steer clear of background images that have loads of pictures and bright colors, for instance, collages, as they can make your desktop look crowded, and distract the attention away from important application and file icons. You must opt for some blue background image, as this color is scientifically proven to boost productivity. There are plenty of desktop customization tools you can use for this purpose.

Keep the important, delete the rest

Your computer’s desktop environment is the ideal place to host your important documents and applications, which you use frequently, however, you cannot still keep everything there.

It is advisable to use the ABCD method, as per which you must prioritize different desktop items. The system entails allocating one of the A, B, C or D categories to these items. The items falling in the A category should be the ones that you use on a daily basis, for instance documents you’re currently working on, messaging apps, web browser etc. Category B should have the items you use twice or thrice per week, but not on a daily basis. Some of these items might also make it to your desktop.

Category C and D shouldn’t be included on your desktop at all. These are the documents and applications you use very rarely, or never at all. They have no place in such a visible spot on your computer.

Opt for an automated system

Considering the fact that modern-day professionals are all tied up in their professional and personal lives, it can be very hard for them to steal time to organize their desktops every week. That’s where the Windows desktop tools we’ve detailed above come into the picture. You can make use of all such third-party desktop management tools to do this job. For instance, some of these applications could automatically move certain files and folders from your desktop to a separate predefined area on your hard disk, if you don’t use them for over a month.

Do it now!

Although it might seem like a complicated task, making you feel like postponing it to some other time, don’t get carried away by that thought, and start clearing-up your desktop right now. Understood that you must handle more important tasks first, once you get to it, you’d be surprised how little time it takes to de-clutter your desktop. You just need to make up your mind and get started.

Don’t go overboard on the subfolders

Subfolders are undeniably very important when it comes to organizing files within folders, however, you mustn’t go overboard with them.

One of the good examples of using subfolders would be having the Work folder inside My Documents, then an Assignments folder within that Work folder, and another [Name of the Assignment_Date] folder, inside the Assignments folder, and so on.

But please be careful about the number of folders you create within the folders, as it can sometimes get very complicated to open folder after folder, just to look for one single file. If there’s a particular file you need to access often, you must attempt to keep it away at a distance of more than one or two folders.

Pin daily used software to the taskbar

If there are certain tools or software you use on a daily basis, you must pin them to the taskbar, rather than having to locate and open them every day. Once any such tool is on your taskbar, you’d be able to open it with just a single click of the mouse button!