Windows 11 brings a new look to PCs, including a brand-new Start menu and a redesigned Taskbar. New, however, isn't always better. If you dislike the look of Windows 11, there are plenty of apps that make it easy to customize your PC. From bringing back the classic Start menu to having an animated background, these are the best apps to customize the look of your Windows 11 PC.
Go back to start
The Start menu is potentially the most controversial aspect of Windows 11's design. Microsoft moved away from Live Tiles and removed several customization options in the Start menu. You can bring back a tiled interface and customization options with Start11. The even brings back the option to drag the Taskbar to the top of your screen. Start11 is currently in beta.
Round those corners
This app allows you to customize the Taskbar of Windows 11. With it, you can round the corners of the Taskbar, split the Taskbar into segments, and add margins to the Taskbar. The app can also make the Windows 11 Taskbar act like a floating dock.
Bring it to life
With this app, you can set GIFs, videos, and webpages as your PC's background. It was recently updated to support Windows 11, so it should work well with Microsoft's new operating system.
Modernize those files
The native File Explorer got a bit of an update for Windows 11, but it's far from an overhaul. Files is a third-party file manager with a modern design. It works well with touch or a mouse and keyboard. It recently received a major update ahead of Windows 11.
Get some context
With this app, you can bring back the classic context menu seen on Windows 10 to Windows 11. Be aware that this uses the Command Prompt to edit a PC's registry.
This app allows you to create customizable widgets that you can place on your Windows 11 desktop. It works with Windows 10 as well, but it looks best on Windows 11.
See through it
You can control the color of your Taskbar with this app, including making it completely transparent. It also supports making the Taskbar blurry, transparent, and opaque.
Make it your own
This progressive web app has an ever-growing library of wallpapers, including ones inspired by Surface devices and Windows 11.
It's your time
Windows 11 only displays a clock on the primary display of a PC. ElevenClock adds a clock to every other display your PC is connected to.
Day and night
This app lets you customize when your themes change on your Windows 11 PC. You can use it to specify your wallpaper per display and to switch between light and dark modes automatically.
Getting the most out of Windows 11
Windows 11 has a new interface and Microsoft working to improve it over time, but some design elements are frustrating or inconsistent. Others, such as the Start menu, lack customization options that many users want. Third-party apps can improve the look of Windows 11 while also increasing its functionality.
Since Windows 11 is new, we're still testing out some of the best apps to customize Windows 10. As we check to see whether those apps work well with Windows 11, we'll continue to update this list. Since Windows 11 builds on Windows 10, there's a good chance that your favorite customization app still works, but you may run into some inconsistencies or bugs.
For now, Start11 is a great place to, well, start. It lets you customize the look of the Windows 11 Start menu. You can also use it to bring back classic Start menu designs, such as those seen on Windows 10 and Windows 7. It also supports restoring the Taskbar context menu, adding folders and pages to the Start menu, and creating shortcut links. You can even use it to move the Taskbar to the top of your display, which was an option on Windows 10.
If you like the overall look of Windows 11 but just want to add a personal touch, Lively Wallpaper lets you set images, videos, and web pages as your PC's background.
Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at firstname.lastname@example.org (opens in new tab).
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