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Windows has many built-in features, however you can greatly expand on the functionality that comes built-in to Windows by installing a few handy utilities that will bring useful features and tools to the forefront of your computing experience.

These utilities will allow you to have greater control at your fingertips whilst still keeping a native Windows experience that doesn’t take you out of the zone.


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EarTrumpet is the first utility on our list and is free. EarTrumpet replaces the Windows volume mixer with a souped-up and more powerful way to control audio on your computer. EarTrumpet is simple, but provides a native feeling experience that provides a visualiser, quickly changing your default playback device as well as quickly switching the playback device per application as well as individual volume adjustments per application.

That final point is really handy, as you can, for example, have most of your computer sound come out of your speakers but make Spotify play from a Bluetooth speaker, for example. EarTrumpet is slick and I’ve been using it for the last couple of years, I highly recommend it as it gives you easy control over the sound on your computer.

Once you’ve installed it, I’d recommend disabling the built-in Windows volume mixer icon in the taskbar tray and swapping it out for EarTrumpet to avoid any confusion.

Get EarTrumpet.

Twinkle Tray

Let’s face it, monitor menu interfaces are pretty terrible. Frequently accessing the brightness adjustment for your monitor can become a bit off a faff – this is where Twinkle Tray comes in. Twinkle Tray uses DDC/CI functionality found on most computer monitors so you can control speaker volume, brightness and contrast directly from within Windows.

This is useful as you can schedule monitor brightness throughout the day as well as set hotkeys and shortcuts so you can quickly adjust the brightness of your monitors. I’ve set up a custom keyboard shortcut and have mapped it to the brightness adjustment keys on my Logitech keyboard that would ordinarily only be able to adjust the brightness on a laptop.

Twinkle Tray is free and can be downloaded from the Microsoft Store for easily installation and fits in perfectly with your Windows installation – with styles for both Windows 11 and Windows 10.

Get Twinkle Tray.


TaskbarX brings a dock-like feel to Windows as well as enhanced customisation settings. With TaskbarX, your application icons remain centred on your display and can be customised with custom styles such as opacity customisation, animations as well as the ability to offset your icons.

I’ve found TaskbarX particularly useful on large high-resolution displays, where icons would otherwise be shoved into the corner. Centralising them and bringing them to the forefront makes them only a downward glance away.

Some other neat features include the ability to set a custom start button, change the taskbar style to Transparent, Blur and Acrylic as well as hiding start buttons and system trays for a more minimal look.

TaskbarX can be downloaded for free from the developer’s website, or you can support the developer by downloading it from the Microsoft Store for $2.

Get TaskbarX.


Next up we have QuickLook, which I have covered in the past. If you’ve ever previously used a Mac, you’ll know how handy it can be to press the spacebar on a file in Finder and immediately be able to see a quick preview of what the file is. QuickLook brings this feature to Windows in a lightweight application that enhances File Explorer.

QuickLook is easy to download from the Microsoft Store, once it’s installed and running simply press the spacebar on a file in File Explorer for a quick preview. There are also plugins available on GitHub to support Microsoft Office files, multimedia files, folders and much more.

Get QuickLook.


Microsoft PowerToys is an incredibly powerful suite of free utilities, which could be worth showing off in its entirety in its own video – let me know if you’re interested in seeing that. There’s a dozen or so different tools packaged within PowerToys, I shan’t cover them all now but here are a few of my favourites and the ones I’ve found most useful.

I’ve been particularly fond of the Colour Picker which allows me to pull HEX, RGB and HSL values for any pixel on my screen with a quick and simple shortcut. Some other favourite ones include the Image Resizer which I’ve found very useful for resizing images in bulk for the Richard Tech website.

A useful one that I’ve not had much experience with myself is the File Locksmith. There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to delete a file and an error appearing saying that the file in currently in use – and Windows won’t tell you what is using it! File Locksmith alleviates this by finding out what processes on your computer are using the file so you can close them to finally get that file deleted.

Get PowerToys.


With a few handy utilities, you can take your Windows experience to the next level. Are there any extra utilities you would’ve included on this list? Let us know in the comments on YouTube!

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