A number of free and paid software have been released ever since the preview release of Windows 8.1 update. In this guide, we have compiled a list of 15 free tools that help you tweak and customize the default look and feel of Windows 8.1 operating system.
In no particular order, following are the 15 free tools out there to tweak and customize Windows 8.1 operating system.
Windows 8.1 Boot Screen Logo Changer: An advanced tool designed to change the default logo of the boot screen. Even though it sports a simple user interface, using this tool isn’t very straight-forward and we advise you follow the instructions mentioned in our how to change the boot screen logo in Windows 8.1 guide for detailed instructions.
Start Button Changer: The Start button on the taskbar in Windows 8.1 is quite nice but if you have come across a better looking Start button and want to replace the default one with your desired one, Start Button Changer is the ideal tool. It’s easy-to-use as well.
Lock Screen Customizer: Even though you don’t need a third-party tool to set your picture as lock screen background in Windows 8 and Windows 8.1, you might want to use this tool to change the time format, disable the lock screen, and change the login screen color.
Charms Bar Customizer: As the name suggests, this tool lets you change the default look of the charms bar by replacing default icons with custom ones. That is, you can replace search, share, Windows logo, settings and devices icons with your own icons.
WinAero WEI Tool: This isn’t exactly a tweaking or customization tool but helps you get the Windows Experience Index (WEI), one of features removed from Windows 8.1 update. As you might know, only the GUI version of Windows Experience Index has been dropped from Windows 8.1 version. This tool reads the WEI file located in Windows folder and then displays processor, RAM, hard disk, and graphics scores.
You can also check out other two tools named Metro Experience Index and ChrisPC Windows Experience Index to get Windows Experience Index in Windows 8.1.
Windows 8.1 Start Screen Customizer: Microsoft has enhanced the Start screen in Windows 8.1 with even more customization options. For instance, you can set your current desktop background as Start screen background. But if you want even more customization options, Windows 8.1 Start Screen Customizer is the right software. It’s not only free but portable as well.
With Windows 8.1 Start Screen Customizer, you can set your own custom picture as Start screen background, set a video file as Start screen background image, change Start screen opacity, and more.
This PC Tweaker: This PC Tweaker lets you add new folders and locations to This PC and also lets you remove Documents, Pictures, Music and Videos folders from This PC.
Start Is Gone: The Start button in Windows 8.1 isn’t quite useful as there is no Start menu and it takes us to the Start screen, which can also be accessed by pressing the Windows logo key on the keyboard or by clicking the Windows logo button on the Charms bar. If you prefer to see the Start screen by pressing the Windows logo key on the keyboard and want to free up some space on the taskbar, you can use this little tool hide or remove the Start button from Windows 8.1 taskbar.
Tiny Windows Borders: Unlike Windows 7 and previous versions, window borders in Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 are thick. If you prefer to see small window borders instead, you can use Tiny Borders to reduce the border size.
Aero Glass for Windows 8.1: If you have upgraded from Windows Vista or Windows 7, you’ll want to enable the Aero glass transparency to enhance the look of the desktop environment. Aero Glass for Windows 8.1 is the only and best tool out there to enable Aero Glass in Windows 8.1.
Start Screen Color Tuner: Start Screen Color Tuner automatically changes the Start screen background to match the window borders color on the desktop. You can also use this tool to automatically update your window borders color to match the Start screen background color.
Win+X Menu Editor: Win+X menu or power user menu is the small menu that pops up bottom left corner of the screen when you right-click on the Start button or when you press Windows logo and X keys. You can customize this menu by removing default entries or by adding new entries.
Start Menu Modifier: Many users don’t like to leave the desktop environment to launch apps or search for system settings. This tiny tool lets you open the Start screen right within the desktop environment and also lets you change the default size of the Start screen.
Ultimate Windows Tweaker: Ultimate Windows Tweaker is probably the best tweaking software out there for Windows. It has recently been updated to version 3.0 to support Windows 8.1. UWT 3.0 for Windows 8.1 includes over 170 tweaks in six different categories.
Boot UI Tuner: Unlike Windows 8.1 Boot Screen Logo Changer, Boot UI Tuner lets you enable/disable the Windows logo on the boot screen, enable/disable messages, enable/disable the small loading circle that appears just below the Windows logo, and enable/disable Windows 7 style legacy boot menu.
7+ Taskbar Tweaker: As the name implies, this tool is designed to help you tweak the taskbar in Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 versions.