How to Clean Install Windows 11 (and Rollback If Needed)

Windows 11 is around the corner, and it is bringing some amazing features including a redesigned Start button, new File Explorer, new Taskbar options, and more. All these exciting features make us want to try out Windows 11. Microsoft has hinted that it will be available in October 2021 on new devices and in 2022 for upgrading devices running Windows 10.

However, you might not want to wait to check out the amazing features until the official version rolls out later. Thanks to the Windows Insider Program, you can download the Windows Insider Preview and ease your curiosity. And later, you can clean install its release version when it rolls out next year.

But what if you do not like the new Windows 11? Fortunately, it is as easy to roll back Windows 11 as it is to install it (though this rollback feature only works within 10 days of upgrading to the preview or release version).

So, in the write up below, I will guide you step-by-step on how to install Windows 11 or roll back to Windows 10.

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How to install Windows 11 Preview?

If you want to install Windows 11 Insider Build Preview on your PC, your device needs to meet a set of system requirements. Apart from running Windows 10, the requirements include 4GB RAM, 64-bit CPU, and TPM 2.0 (security module).

Microsoft’s PC Health Check app can check if your system is compatible with Windows 11. You can visit the official website, scroll down to Check for compatibility, and download the app. Then, open it to perform the check.

Although it sounds exciting to try out the new operating system, I do not recommend downloading its preview release — especially on your main device. The reason being preview releases are generally buggy and may not offer all the exciting features promised in the final release.

But you may still want to download it because you cannot tame your curiosity, or maybe you are an app developer who needs to test his app on Windows 11… Whatever be your reason to try the new OS, let me guide you on how to install the Windows 11 Insider Preview.

  1. Open https://insider.windows.com/en-us/register in a web browser.
  2. If you are not already a member, register for the Windows Insider Program. If you are, simply login to your Windows Insider Account.
  3. Then, open Windows Settings, go to Update and Security > Windows Insider Program and click the Get started button to install the preview.
  4. Register for the Windows Insider Program
  5. Log in with your Microsoft account registered with the Insider Program.
  6. Follow the on-screen instructions and select the channel through which you want to get the preview builds. You should choose one of the Beta Channel or Release Preview Channel to get the best experience.
  7. Select a channel for Windows 11 Insider Preview
  8. Accept the terms and conditions and the privacy policy that is shown.
  9. After restarting the system, go to Windows Settings > Privacy > Diagnostics and Feedback, and select Optional Diagnostic Data.
  10. Select Optional Diagnostic Data in Settings
  11. Finally, click Check for updates under Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update. You will see the latest preview build to download.

Your PC will be updated with Windows 11 Insider Preview just like any other update. After restarting, your device will be running Windows 11 — try it out!

How to clean install Windows 11?

You can also install Windows 11 using a bootable installation disk, i.e., a bootable flash drive. It is beneficial in case you do not want to carry on with your current installation of Windows 10 and wish to install Windows 11 with a clean slate. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Open the following link in a browser: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows10.
  2. Under Create Windows 10 installation media, click and plus button and follow the steps under Using the tool to create installation media (USB flash drive, DVD, or ISO file) to install Windows 10 on a different PC.
  3. Create the Windows 10's installation media
  4. After you have created a bootable installation media, continue.
  5. Open Settings, go to Updates & Security > Recovery.
  6. Click on Restart now under Advanced start-up.
  7. Advanced startup option in Windows Settings
  8. At the Advanced start-up screen, choose Use a device among options.
  9. On the next screen, select the bootable disk for installing Windows 11.
  10. This opens the Windows Setup Screen. Enter your preferred language, time, currency, and other details as asked; and finally, click Next.
  11. Choose preferred language and date in Windows Setup
  12. Click on Install now on the next screen (as shown below).
  13. Click on Install now in Windows Setup
  14. Enter your product key, or you can click I don’t have a product key.
  15. Enter your product key in Windows Setup
  16. Select Custom: Install Windows only (advanced) to perform a clean install. This will erase all data, so make sure you backed up all your data.
  17. Select the advanced option for clean install
  18. Next, you need to select the drive or partition on which you want to install Windows 11. Select the drive on which you had installed Windows 10.
  19. Select the drive for installing Windows 11
  20. Click Next to start the clean installation of Windows 11.
Installation of Windows 11

After a few restarts, you will finally see the world of Windows 11. Now you can set up your user account and personalize settings before starting to try it out.

How to update to Windows 11?

Windows 11 is rumored to be officially released for general usage starting in 2022 for upgrading from Windows 10. You can download it on your PC if you are using a licensed version of Windows 10 and the device meets all the system requirements listed by Microsoft.

Once Windows 11 is available for download or upgrade to the general public, follow the below instructions to get it installed:

  1. Open Windows Settings and go to Updates & Security.
  2. Click on Check for updates to check for the available updates.
  3. Under Windows Update, click Check for updates
  4. You will be able to see an update named Feature Update to Windows 11.
  5. Click on Download and Install to get it and upgrade to Windows 11.

How to roll back Windows 11 to Windows 10?

Windows 11 is going to have some magnificent features, but its Insider Preview has reported bugs and errors and does not even support all the features. So, if you gave in to the temptation of downloading a pre-release software but now a less-than-great experience makes you regret your decision, do not worry. You can follow the steps given below to revert back to Windows 10.

Rollback via Windows Settings

You can easily roll back to Windows 10 in the first 10 days after you upgraded to Windows 11. However, you need to make sure not to get rid of the old installation files, which get listed as Temporary files in Storage settings.

  1. Open Settings and go to Update & Security and click Recovery.
  2. Click on Get started under Go back to the previous version.
  3. Go back to the previous version under Recovery
  4. Accept all the warnings by Microsoft to begin the rollback process.

Once the reversal process is completed, you will have rolled back to your old build of Windows 10. Wasn’t that easy enough? If you failed, read on below.

Rollback via installation media

However, what if you realize you are not a fan of Windows 11 on the 11th day after installation? Well, you need to reinstall Windows 10, i.e., clean install your old operating system.

However, you first need to back up all data. After backing up your data, follow the steps below to reinstall and start on a clean slate with Windows 10.

  1. Open the following link in a browser: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows10.
  2. Click Download tool now under Create Windows 10 installation media.
  3. Download the Windows 10's installation media
  4. Launch the setup and click on Accept to accept the license terms.
  5. On the What do you want to do? page, click Upgrade this PC now.
  6. Accept all the dialogs shown by Microsoft, then finally click Install.

You can also click the plus buttons to see a detailed guide by Microsoft. After you are done, Windows 10 will be installed on your computer. You can now create a user account for yourself and update your preferences using Windows Settings. Finally, use the backup to restore all your previous files and data.

Windows 11 has many exciting features that tempt us to try it out right away. However, if you are not a developer or a technical writer, it is always wise to wait for the official release before downloading new software. But if you are looking to try it out before the official release, you can install its preview.

After all, you can always roll back to Windows 10 in 10 days after upgrading to Windows 10. Also, Windows 11 will be officially released starting October 2021, so you can also wait for the official release. Either way, you can try Windows 11.

The post How to Clean Install Windows 11 (and Rollback If Needed) appeared first on Hongkiat.

Hongkiat

10+ New Features You Must Know about Windows 11

Windows 11 is finally here with a new design and several exciting features. With a newer, fresher, and simpler design language and user experience, Windows 11 empowers productivity and inspires creativity — as it is redesigned from the ground up to provide a faster, fancier, and powerful user experience.

Windows 11 is bringing with it several path-breaking changes in design and features like changing the position of the Windows Start button, new widgets, and the all-new Microsoft Store, etc.

That said, let me introduce you to the prominent features of the latest operating system by Microsoft. Read on.

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Reimagined user design

Microsoft has changed the design of practically the entire operating system to a softer, more rounded theme in Windows 11. There are some bold changes to the design for instance, the Start button has been brought to the center of the taskbar for the first time in Windows OS. It is one prominent change to the Taskbar after the Start screen was introduced in Windows 8.

The pinned apps have also been brought to the center of the Taskbar. This new design is not only esthetically pleasing, but it also puts everything you need right at the center of the system — both literally and figuratively.

What I found interesting is that this kind of placement makes switching apps a lot easier and quicker in Windows 11 compared to its predecessors.

The Start button is centered in Windows 11

Redesigned Start menu

The Start menu shows you the default pinned apps like Calculator and Microsoft Edge, etc. Also, the Start button is powered by Office 365 and lets you quickly access all your recent files. This includes the files you were working on — on different devices as well as across mobile OSs like Android and iOS.

Unlike Windows 10’s Start menu’s live tile interface, in Windows 11 Start menu the apps cannot be grouped together to create a folder. However, you can now pin any app to the taskbar by right-clicking the app’s icon. The Start menu also changes dynamically depending on the time of the day — a novel feature!

Redesigned Start menu in Windows 11

You can customize the Start menu from the Windows Settings to match your preferences. For instance, you can restore the left-aligned Start button or change the icons’ sizes from the Taskbar settings in Windows 11’s Settings.

Enhanced multi-tasking

Windows OS is known for its flexibility — especially since it allows the use of multiple apps and windows side-by-side. This flexibility a notch higher with Windows 11. The reason being it offers more powerful tools for multi-tasking like Snap Groups, Snap Layouts, and Virtual Desktops.

Windows 11 comes with several predefined snapping layouts for you to quickly snap applications. These layouts will help you optimizely utilize your screen space and organize your application windows for a visually clean desktop.

Snap Layouts on Windows 11

One of the most exciting features is that you can create multiple virtual desktops for each part of your life; for example gaming, school, or work. Also, these virtual desktops can be customized according to your liking including wallpapers.

Redesigned File Explorer

The File Explorer in Windows 11 has fresh new icons, esthetic rounded corners, and better dark mode options. The interface is modified to suit both keyboard and mouse as well as touch users.

It is also easier to select, rename, or delete files as the ribbon toolbar is replaced by a command bar that lets you quickly access commonly used actions like rename, select, and delete, etc.

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The redesigned File Explorer in Windows 11

Windows Widgets is back

If you have used Windows XP or Windows Vista and remember using desktop gadgets, you’d know the usefulness of Windows Widgets. They are small widgets like Android Widgets that display some information about the system or from the web according to how you customize it.

Windows Widgets is an AI-powered personalized feed that changes dynamically based on the time of the day and the apps you are using — just like the Start menu.

This personalized feed slides over the screen like a glass piece without disturbing what you are working on. The widgets are accessible from the dock, you can choose from plenty of widgets like weather, news, search bar, etc.

Widgets are introduced in Windows 11

Enhanced Microsoft Store

Windows 11 is bringing to you an all-new Microsoft Store that is re-built from scratch for speed and simplicity. But the more exciting news is: the new Microsoft Store brings more apps than ever before. Also, it makes it easier for you to search for apps, collections, as well as stories.

Microsoft will now support leading first- and third-party apps like Microsoft Teams, Disney+, Adobe, etc. directly in the Microsoft Store, unlike the previous store in Windows 10. And as always, while downloading apps from the Microsoft Store, you can be assured about the safety and security of the apps.

The simpler Microsoft Store in Windows 11

Improved Android apps support

Windows 11 has improved Android apps support in Microsoft Store — a long-awaited improvement in Windows 10. You can now find and download Android apps from the Microsoft Store, thanks to its collaboration with the Amazon Appstore.

Well, isn’t it exciting that you can now download your favorite Android apps right on your PC without the need for Android emulators?

Android apps get better in Windows 11
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A faster way to connect to people

In today’s world, a person’s well-being depends on being in touch with people one loves. With this in mind, Microsoft has redesigned Windows 11 to make it easier for you to connect with your loved ones. Chat from Microsoft Teams is integrated right into the Taskbar in Windows 11, letting you quickly chat.

This enables you to connect with the other person through text, chat, voice, or video directly from any screen in Windows 11. What’s better is, you can connect with people even if they are not on Teams via two-way SMS. That said, it seems like Windows 11 is all set to become your makeshift for the mobile phone.

Teams is added to the Taskbar in Windows 11

Improved gaming experience

“If you are a gamer, Windows 11 is made for you.” Microsoft keeps its promise of bringing the ultimate gaming experience to you in Windows 11. It is using some of the latest technologies to provide the best gaming environment to you. The DirectX 12 Ultimate enables magnificent, enchanting graphics in games.

Auto HDR provides a wider range of colors for an amplified visual experience. Moreover, Windows 11 uses the DirectStorage technology to enable faster loading time and overall gaming performance, so you do not have to wait for your favorite games to load or get stuck while you are making winning moves.

Improved gaming experience in Windows 11

Improved battery settings

The Battery settings page has seen a much-needed change in Windows 11. You may know it by Battery saver settings or Power & sleep settings in Windows 10. The new page provides detailed graphs about battery usage, which helps you understand your device’s battery usage over the past week or anytime sooner.

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New, redesigned clipboard

The Clipboard Manager has seen changes in its design in Windows 11. The design is more rounded — just like the entire Windows 11. But the most prominent enhancement is that you can now copy and paste emojis and GIFs via clipboard.

Bonus: Features for normal users

Acrylic right-click menus

All the right-click context menus are updated to use acrylic material design, which gives a see-through effect.

New right-click context menus in Windows 11
Black Screen of Death

The infamous Blue Screen of Death by Microsoft is being replaced by the Black Screen of Death for a more metallic look.

The Black Screen of Death of Windows 11
Dynamic Refresh Rates

Windows 11 supports Dynamic Refresh Rate (DRR) that allows monitors or screens to refresh at low rates up to 60Hz or high rates up to 120+ Hz and effectively switch between the two refresh rates to enhance user experience while lowering the power usage.

Focus Assist in the Notification Center

Windows 11 has added the Focus Assist settings directly into the Notification Center for easy access.

Focus Assist in the Notification Center in Windows 11

Bonus: Features for developers

Microsoft Store

With Windows 11, Microsoft has announced support for Android apps from the Amazon Appstore and also different app types like Win32, .NET, and PWAs.

Also, Microsoft is offering better revenue sharing options like giving 100% of the revenue if you bring your own commerce platform to your app. However, this offer is not available for games.

Designer Apps

You can take advantage of WinUI3 to build your app’s design in sync with Windows 11 UI for giving a known experience to your app users using Windows 11. The built-in user interface update includes rounded corners, refreshed color palette, better typography, etc.

Windows 11 UI with rounded geometry for apps

Game Development Kit

Microsoft is making its Game Development Kit (GDK) publicly available. It can be accessed free of charge on GitHub. This will help developers create, publish, and scale their games easily.

With all these novel features and a truly innovative user design, Microsoft has described Windows 11 as the “Windows that brings you closer to what you love”. Windows 11 has a highly customizable user interface that helps you enjoy a truly personalized experience — unlike all its predecessors including Windows 10.

Windows 11 delivers on bringing you closer to what you love by bringing you closer to the people you love with its Chat feature integrated right on the Taskbar.

However, some people including me may see it as bloatware if Teams is not your primary communication tool. But, Microsoft has always forced its products on Windows users — be it Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge, or the new Microsoft Edge. And this time it is doing the same with Microsoft Teams.

The post 10+ New Features You Must Know about Windows 11 appeared first on Hongkiat.

Hongkiat

9 Best Live Wallpaper Apps for Windows 10

We always want our belongings to reflect our personalities including our devices. That is why we tend to make small or intricate changes to the look of our devices: whether it is a sticker or skin on the outside or a background, dock, or widget in the device itself.

After all, the aim is to make the device our own, right? One of the simplest ways of owning your device is customizing your device with live dynamic wallpapers. The reason being their dynamicity gives a personalized yet dynamic look and feel every now and then.

Moreover, did I tell you some of these apps are free as well? That said, let’s explore the best apps that help you set up live dynamic wallpapers as your device’s background. Alright, are you ready?

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Desktop Live Wallpapers

Desktop Live Wallpapers is one of the best apps offering animated wallpapers for your desktop. It allows you to download dynamic wallpapers from its collection of thousands of wallpapers organized under categories like Cats, Nature, River, Search, Sun, etc.

Desktop Live Wallpapers offers multiple wallpaper options.

You can also upload your favorite personal videos on the app and set them as your background in its pro edition. One of its best features is its support for multiple screens (at least three) and various DPIs, helping your entire workspace resonate with your set style.

Desktop Live Wallpapers functions with Android and iPhone videos too. All you need to do is copy the files from your phone to the desktop and use it in this app. You can also choose to play videos with sound by switching its option on under its settings.

Last but the best part is it pauses the video when the desktop is not visible or while using full-screen applications, so you do not have to worry about the live wallpaper hogging the system resources.

Rainmeter

Rainmeter is a robust toolkit to add live wallpapers and widgets to your desktop. It is one of the popular tools to display customizable skins and widgets in Windows 10. Its skins include informative widgets like hardware usage, live news, weather forecasts, etc.

Rainmeter allows setting dynamic wallpapers

You can choose from thousands of themes and wallpapers or use your videos as the desktop background. You can also select one of the few starter skins offered by the platform or download skins from the hundreds of Rainmeter skin collectibles on the Internet.

One of the most exciting features of Rainmeter is you can add an animation to a still image or use part-GIF as your wallpaper. Last but not least, the other exciting feature about Rainmeter is it goes easy on the hardware resources including memory and storage.

Wallpaper Engine

Wallpaper Engine is one of the best apps on this list. You can animate your images, create new wallpapers, download videos from the Internet, or choose from the wallpapers provided by the application. Surprisingly, the possibilities are endless with Wallpaper Engine.

Wallpaper Engine allows creating your wallpapers.

What makes it the showstopper is its extensive display support. It supports all monitor resolutions including all ultra-wide resolutions. Also, it can comfortably handle all multi-monitor setups.

Wallpaper Engine boasts of a powerful editor which allows users to turn static images into live animated wallpapers. Its performance settings can stop playing when full-screen apps or games run.

However, it is a paid app, unlike the above ones. Wallpaper Engine can be purchased from its site via vendors like Green Man Gaming, Humble Store, Steam, etc. for a small one-time fee of 3.99 USD.

Stardock’s DeskScapes

Stardock’s DeskScapes is yet another application providing live wallpapers for laptops and PCs. Like most other apps on this list, DeskScapes lets you choose from its massive library of wallpapers and upload your images and videos to personalize your laptop.

What makes DeskScapes different is the cool effects it offers to customize and turn your images into wallpapers. Its effects list includes Sepia, Inverted, Night vision, Canvas texture, and many more. Also, its Dream Maker lets you create your animated videos.

DeskScapes offers themes and wallpapers

DeskScapes offers multi-monitor support, giving you the ability to put customized backgrounds on each of your screens. Also, its user interface is easy-to-use and intuitive, making it easy to navigate. But it is also a paid app like Wallpaper Engine, costing just $ 6 USD.

WinDynamicDesktop

WinDynamicDesktop is one of the most popular apps offering live wallpapers. The reason being it brings the Dynamic Desktop feature from the macOS Mojave to Windows 10, which changes the desktop wallpaper based on the time of the day, giving you an idea of the time while working continuously on your system.

WinDynamicDesktop is the only live wallpaper app on this list that changes the wallpaper according to the time of the day. It uses the system’s location information to determine the time of the day and use that information to change the wallpaper automatically.

You need to choose a preferred theme and enter your location for the first time you use the app, after which, the app will determine the time and auto-change the wallpaper in the background.

WinDynamicDesktop with its location settings.

Like most other live wallpaper apps on this list, WinDynamicDesktop allows you to download themes or edit your images and videos to create themes and use them as wallpapers in Windows.

Lively Wallpaper

Lively Wallpaper is another app providing the capability to set dynamic images as your desktop background. It is a free, fully open-source application letting you use GIFs, videos, or web pages as your desktop wallpaper.

Lively Wallpaper supports multiple monitors with any resolution and aspect ratios including HiDPI resolutions and ultra-wide aspect ratios. You can set any video as your wallpaper because of its hardware-accelerated video playback powered by the mpv media player.

A artistic wallpaper by Lively Wallpaper.

Video playback is paused when using full-screen applications or while playing games to reduce resource usage. Also, Lively Wallpaper supports two themes: light and dark themes, allowing you to use the current trend of dark themes.

RainWallpaper

RainWallpaper is another one of the best apps on this list, allowing you to download live wallpapers from its built-in online library. You can also create your wallpapers using its native wallpaper editor (one of its solid features, making it stand out here).

Live desktop wallpapers by RainWallpaper.

RainWallpaper offers live interactive wallpapers that can be controlled by clicking with the mouse. Also, it pauses wallpapers while playing games or using full-screen applications to reduce resource usage including memory.

Its user interface is friendly and easy to use, and it supports multiple monitors of all aspect ratios and native resolutions. Moreover, it is optimized to provide great visuals without compromising on system performance.

MyLiveWallpapers

MyLiveWallpapers is another platform like WallpaperWaifu, offering a whole range of downloadable live wallpapers. It has many types of live wallpapers like anime, fantasy, gaming, nature, sci-fi, etc.

MyLiveWallpapers boasts of providing the best anime wallpapers in the market, and I find it right. Unlike WallpaperWaifu, it has an app to apply these wallpapers as your desktop background in Windows.

MLWapp v2 converts videos into wallpapers

If you are an anime enthusiast looking for some mind-blowing anime wallpapers for your desktop, MyLiveWallpapers is the one place to find them. It offers a long list of animated wallpapers: its site lists 300+ pages of wallpapers along with an option to install on mobile.

WallpaperWaifu

Waifu is a platform that offers a wide range of animated gaming wallpapers that you can use as your desktop background. Waifu houses hundreds of amazing wallpapers to choose from.

However, Waifu does not have its own app that can help you to apply these wallpapers on your desktop. Fortunately, it can be done with the help of apps like Desktop Live Wallpapers or Rainmeter.

Gaming wallpapers by WallpaperWaifu.

Moreover, its wallpapers can be used with various apps without any compatibility issues. That is why when you are looking for classic gaming wallpapers, WallpaperWaifu should be your go-to site.

Bonus: GIFs or Web Pages as Live Wallpapers

If you are looking for a way to use your favorite GIFs as your desktop wallpaper in Windows 10, you can make use of Plasteur. It allows you to set up GIFs, videos, and web pages as live wallpaper. GIFs often lighten our moods and having them on the desktop can be a stress buster when you need a break. You can set them up using these:

  1. Download and install Plasteur from https://plastuer.com.
  2. Select the monitor you want to set the wallpaper on.
  3. Click Select File and choose a GIF, then click Save.
Set desired GIF as background using Plateur

However, Plasteur is a paid application. If you are looking for a free software allowing you to set GIFs as your desktop wallpaper, then Bionix should be your choice though its interface is just basic.

Bonus: Use Videos as Live Wallpapers

Would you love to see a video playing in the background while you work on your computer? Fortunately, there is an easy way of using a video as a live wallpaper. You can utilize VLC media player and its background wallpaper feature to accomplish this in two steps.

  1. Open the desired video in the VLC media player.
  2. Click on the Video menu > click Set as Wallpaper.
Set desired video as wallpaper using VLC

That is all about the applications and tips and tricks to apply live dynamic wallpapers in Windows 10. With so many options available at your fingertips, you can customize your desktop easier than ever. Whether you want to increase productivity or display your creativity using dynamic wallpapers, these apps can take care of them all.

The post 9 Best Live Wallpaper Apps for Windows 10 appeared first on Hongkiat.

Hongkiat

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10 Best Extensions for Windows 10 File Explorer

If you’re using Windows, you must be familiar with File Explorer. File Explorer — previously called Windows Explorer — is the de facto file manager in Windows. It’s a basic tool that helps you manage files and folders on your computer.

Though it gets the job done, it misses a few functionalities that can make your digital life a lot easier or productive (if you ask me). Fortunately, it’s possible to extend the File Explorer on Windows 10. You can install third-party apps (or so-called extensions) that extend the features of the default File Explorer.

The result? You get a better, more powerful or user-friendly file manager. You can quickly manage files, convert them, load from or save to the cloud, search in your old archives, and do a lot more — efficiently! So, let’s check the list.

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QTTabBar

QTTabBar lets you create and use tabs in the File Explorer. You can navigate through the files and folders in a tabular interface like Google Chrome. You can create tabs and extra folder views along with the ability to customize them.

You can change the position of items using its drag-and-drop mechanism, assign them different icons, change the appearance of the tabs, and do a lot more.

File Explorer with QTTabBar in Windows 10
Pros
  • Easy drag-and-drop mechanism as in the web browsers.
  • Offers customization options including plugins, skins, etc.
  • Supports scripting for adding new features or extending it.
Cons
  • Only integrates with an old browser: Internet Explorer.

Air Explorer

Air Explorer allows you to access, view, transfer, and sync files between your computer and cloud storage. It directly integrates into the File Explorer, allowing you to navigate through your local as well as cloud files under a single roof.

Its drag-and-drop mechanism makes it easier to work with files and folders between your computer and your cloud. Also, it brings various features including a scheduler to organize backups as well as file transfers and synchronizations.

Air Explorer for File Explorer in Windows 10
Pros
  • Supports major cloud providers like Google Drive, Dropbox, etc.
  • Supports scripting to automate and manage file management.
  • Allows collaborating on and sharing files directly from the desktop.
Cons
  • Free version restricts advanced features including the support for data encryption, password protection, automation options, etc.

TeraCopy

TeraCopy — a popular app for the File Explorer — helps at copying files fastly and securely. It skips processing the files having an error during a data transfer whilst displaying a report simultaneously. TeraCopy comes with many features that assist in file editing, copying locked files, exporting reports, etc.

TeraCopy for File Explorer in Windows 10
Pros
  • Allows faster and secure copying of files than the default option.
  • Saves recently-used directories for quick-selecting target locations.
Cons
  • Packs a long list of features in an incomprehensible interface.

Listary

Listary — a file search and app launcher — offers a range of features to help you search and manage your files. How’s it better? Listary is faster than Windows Search, allowing you to perform searches, launch applications, and do more.

Moreover, it comes with a set of commands or shortcuts that makes everything easily accessible and improves your workflow. For example, you can instantly switch to your favorites folder or open an application using a key command.

Listary Options in Windows 10
Pros
  • Allows custom commands for finding and launching programs.
  • Allows searching the web directly from the File Explorer.
  • Offers quick access to recent and favorite files and folders.
Cons
  • Free edition limits some advanced, premium-only features like setting keywords for custom actions, custom themes, send-to-menu, etc..

DropIt

DropIt is one of the best extensions for the File Explorer that allows you to access and organize your files. It lets you assign automatic actions to files and folders, which can be sorted by name, size, directories, properties, etc.

Its features like file monitoring, file encryption, profiles, etc. along with a drag-and-drop mechanism makes this extension highly productive and useful.

DropIt for File Explorer in Windows 10
Pros
  • Helps automatically manage your files — just drop them to DropIt.
  • Supports 20+ actions like copy, extract, encrypt, create shortcuts, etc.
  • Supports activity logs for tracking and verifying automatic actions.
Cons
  • Poor update cycles may prevent it from working on future Windows.

File Converter

File Converter — as its name suggests — helps you convert audio and video files, images, and documents into any desired format. In addition, it also allows you to compress one or more files using the context menu in the File Explorer.

File Converter for File Explorer in Windows 10
Pros
  • Supports 70+ input and output formats in total.
  • Allows configuring the context menus for conversion presets.
  • Supported formats include MP3, MKV, MP4, JPG, PDF, DOCX, etc.
Cons
  • Requires Microsoft Office if you need to convert Office documents.

Icaros

Icaros is an extension for the File Explorer, which provides thumbnails for all video formats in the file manager. It’s super useful since Windows File Explorer is inefficient at displaying thumbnails — it doesn’t support all video formats. But, it all changes with Icaros; it displays the thumbnails for most video formats.

Icaros Thumbnailing options in Windows 10
Pros
  • Supports major video formats including FLV, AVI, MP4, MKV, etc.
  • Allows customizing color and theme for generating thumbnails.
  • Comes with custom parsers to create Cover Art thumbnails.
Cons
  • Requires .NET Framework 4.0 to be installed for Icaros.

FilerFrog

FilerFrog is a shell extension that avails a list of features that help allow you to organize and manipulate your files and folders. With FilerFrog, you can extract, delete, move, copy, and rename your files. It also gives you options to manipulate images by creating albums or putting a logo on the top of images.

FilerFrog Sort Desktop option on Windows 10
Pros
  • Allows encrypting and decrypting files directly from the File Explorer.
  • Avails features to join and split files and manipulate images too.
  • Comes with a feature to sort your desktop icons into icon groups.
Cons
  • Avails no interface apart from the Settings that allow customization.

FileMenu Tools

FileMenu Tools is another extension that allows you to customize the context menu of the File Explorer. It offers a set of built-in utilities to sync folders, delete files, change icons, copy or move files, etc. from the context menu.

You can also add commands to perform custom actions like running external applications, moving files to specific folders, renaming selected files, etc.

FileMenu Tools for File Explorer for Windows
Pros
  • Allows verifying file integrity by calculating and checking its checksum.
  • Allows you to shred files and folders, making them impossible to recover.
  • Supports changing the time of creation, modification, or last access of a file (its metadata), just like it’s possible via the next tool (File Meta).
Cons
  • Free version allows using context menus for 20 files and folders only.

File Meta

File Meta allows you to add or edit the metadata of files. Metadata is the data providing information about other data. For example, a file’s metadata tells about its size, creation date, the user who created it, its associated program, etc.

With File Meta, you can add comments and tags to your files, allowing you to easily access and organize them. You can add, edit, and remove metadata with a few clicks, and it provides many more features as I’ve detailed below.

File Meta Association Manager for Windows
Pros
  • Allows enabling or disabling metadata properties for different files.
  • Supports managing custom profiles, allowing easy customization.
  • Supports importing and exporting metadata from the context menu.
Cons
  • File metadata doesn’t get copied if you copy files to different drives.

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How to Batch Install & Batch Update Apps in Windows

Chocolatey is a package manager for Windows 10 that offers most of the required features. Although it offers a graphical interface for accomplishing the basic tasks yet its command-line tool is more popular and powerful. However, for my readers’ convinience, I have designed this guide using Chocolatey GUI.

What I find most interesting is that Chocolatey is free like other popular package managers and supports thousands of software packages for Windows 10. It includes essential packages like Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, etc. and other tools and utilities like Adobe Flash, CCleaner, VLC Media Player, etc. as well.

Chocolatey GUI is a package manager for Windows

Get Started

Install Chocolatey

Let’s start with downloading and installing Chocolatey. It is easy if you have administrative access. However, if you do not have the admin privileges, then you must follow the steps given at this link; else follow the below steps:

  1. Press Win + X and choose “Command Prompt (Admin)“.
  2. Copy and paste the following command in Command Prompt: @"%SystemRoot%\System32\WindowsPowerShell\v1.0\powershell.exe" -NoProfile -InputFormat None -ExecutionPolicy Bypass -Command "iex ((New-Object System.Net.WebClient).DownloadString('https://chocolatey.org/install.ps1'))" && SET "PATH=%PATH%;%ALLUSERSPROFILE%\chocolatey\bin"
  3. Install Chocolatey through Command Prompt
  4. After you have installed Chocolatey, you can test run the package manager by running chocolatey or choco -? in Command Prompt. If you see the below-like output, you are good, else there may be some problem.
  5. Test-run Chocolatey in Windows 10

Install Chocolatey GUI

When you are done installing Chocolatey, you can now install Chocolatey GUI. Just follow the below steps to download and install it:

  1. Press Win + X and select “Command Prompt (Admin)“.
  2. Run choco install chocolateygui in Command Prompt.
  3. Install Chocolatey GUI in Windows 10
  4. If all things go okay, you will see above pic-like message.

Managing Packages

Install a single package

After you are finished installing Chocolatey and Chocolatey GUI, let’s see how you can install a package using these tools — one by one.

Install using Chocolatey

If you are comfortable with Command Prompt, let’s do it, else you can skip to the next section. Please press Win + X and select “Command Prompt (Admin)“. I am telling to launch it with admin privileges because most packages will not install in the non-admin console, so let’s avoid possible issues.

In the console, type choco list NAME (replace “NAME” with your search query). It will show you a list of packages matching your query; find the name of the required package. Then type choco install NAME (replace “NAME” with the exact name of the package), and Chocolatey will get and install it.

Install a package using Chocolatey
Install using Chocolatey GUI

If you are a beginner or do not feel comfortable with the console, please follow these steps. First of all, open Start menu, search for “Chocolatey GUI” and run it. In its interface, click Chocolatey on the left, then type your search query in the text field named Search and hit Enter. It will try to find packages.

After few moments, Chocolatey GUI will list the packages with similar names. You must find your package > right-click its thumbnail and select Install from the options. It will then download and install the package for you.

Install a package using Chocolatey GUI

Install multiple packages

Chocolatey GUI does not allow to install multiple packages in one go at this time, unfortunately. That means we need to rely on Chocolatey for this task.

Install using Chocolatey

In the console (Command Prompt), type choco install NAME1 NAME2 to install multiple packages (replace “NAME1” with the name of the first package and so on). You can add as many packages as you require to install at a time, but do note to provide correct package names, else Chocolatey may show an error.

Install multiple packages using Chocolatey

Update a single package

Chocolatey GUI works well with updating packages in the same way it works well with installing packages. You can update packages in the single or batch mode per your preference. Let’s check out below how you can do it.

Update using Chocolatey GUI

In Chocolatey GUI, please click “This PC” on the left and you will see all the installed packages. You can right-click a package and select Update to update a package. Chocolatey will download its latest version and install it.

Update a package using Chocolatey GUI

Update multiple packages

Let’s see how to save time and update all of the installed packages in a system at once by using Chocolatey GUI. It’s as easy as clicking a few buttons.

Update using Chocolatey GUI

In Chocolatey GUI, in the left bar, click “This PC” to see all the installed packages. It may take some time to download the information about all the packages. When it stops showing the progress bar, you can click the “Update All” button to update all packages and leave rest all to Chocolatey GUI.

Update all packages using Chocolatey GUI

That is all about installing and updating apps (or so-called packages) using Chocolatey and Chocolatey GUI. I hope it will help you to sleep more.

How did you find this tutorial? Did it help you speed up the package management tasks? Please leave a comment below or write to me at @aksinghnet on Twitter.

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