Trending February 2024 # Microsoft President Expressed ‘Concerns About App Store’ To House Antitrust Committee # Suggested March 2024 # Top 5 Popular

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Apple CEO Tim Cook recently agreed to testify to the House antitrust committee, alongside the chief execs of other tech giants, but it appears it has already heard from Microsoft’s president – who reportedly expressed concerns about the App Store.

The committee has a wide-ranging remit to see whether tech giants are guilty of anti-competitive behaviors, with Apple coming under the most scrutiny for the way it operates the App Store …

A paywalled report in The Information says that the Microsoft interview took place a few weeks ago.

Several weeks ago, the subcommittee interviewed Brad Smith, president and chief legal officer of Microsoft, via videoconference, according to people with knowledge of the meeting. While the committee invited Smith primarily so he could provide Microsoft’s perspective as a big tech company that has previously faced antitrust regulation, during the session the Microsoft executive also discussed his company’s concerns about the way Apple operates its App Store. That issue is at the heart of regulators’ scrutiny of Apple in the U.S. and Europe […]

Smith expressed concerns about what Microsoft and others have viewed as the arbitrariness of Apple’s practices around approving apps, while also criticizing Apple’s requirement that developers use the company’s payment mechanism through their apps. Spotify and others have complained that Apple’s payment requirement allows the company to take a burdensome cut of developers’ app revenue—as much as 30%.

Cook was the last of the big four tech CEOs to agree to testify, with some suggesting that he agreed only when it was clear that he couldn’t afford to be the only one unwilling to do so.

Smith has previously steered clear of attacking Apple by name, but his references to app stores clearly refer both the Cupertino company and Google.

“I do believe the time has come, whether we’re talking about Washington, D.C., or Brussels, for a much more focused conversation about the nature of app stores, the rules that are being put in place, the prices and the tolls that are being extracted and whether there is really a justification in antitrust law for everything that has been created,” Smith said during a POLITICO Live interview […]

“If you look at the industry today, I think what you’ll find is increasingly you’re seeing app stores that have created higher walls and far more formidable gates … than anything that existed in the industry 20 years ago,” Smith said […]

“They impose requirements that increasingly say there’s only one way to get onto our platform, and that is to go through the gate that we ourselves have created. In some cases, they create a very high price or toll.”

The House antitrust committee is just one of the entities carrying out investigations into App Store practices, as we’ve previously noted.

I’ve argued that Apple’s antitrust issues aren’t going to go away, and that the company needs to take control by acting voluntarily before it is compelled to do so.

Once upon a time, Apple could have said ‘We’re just one company, this is how we operate, go elsewhere if you don’t like it.’ But that’s not a reasonable stance now that it is the gatekeeper to one-and-a-half billion iOS devices. We don’t know how many individuals own those devices, but let’s just say ‘about a billion people’ in round numbers. You can’t control access to a billion people and say it’s nobody’s business but your own what rules you make up and how you choose to interpret and enforce them.

Sooner or later, Apple is going to lose this battle. It’s going to have to be more equitable in the way it competes with third-party services. It’s going to have to revisit its commission rates to ensure they are fair to all concerned. And it’s going to have to come up with a method of setting and enforcing rules which are both just and applied equally to all.

The company does, however, have a choice: it can wait for the law to intervene, and be seen as the bad guy who only does the right thing when forced to do so, or it can take voluntary action, and be seen as the good guy. I urge it to take the latter course while there is still time.

Apple did take some steps in this direction by quietly tackling five antitrust issues in changes introduced by iOS 14.

Photo: Alex Brandon/AP Photo

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The Server Stumbled Microsoft Store

The Server Stumbled Microsoft Store [Solved] One possible fix is clearing up your cache

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The Microsoft Store is a key component of Windows 10, the official and main source of apps.

The server stumbled error code 0x80072F05 occurs when you are trying to use Microsoft Store.

Find out how to fix this issue on your device.

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Windows 10 brought all sorts of amazing features, but despite all its new features and improvements, there are certain issues that can happen from time to time.

One of the errors that users are getting is The server stumbled, and its error code is sometimes 0x80072F05, so let’s explore and see how to fix this issue.

The server stumbled can be an annoying error that will prevent you from using Microsoft Store. Speaking of this error, users reported the following problems related to it:

80072ee7 Windows 10 Store – The 80072ee7 error can be fixed by using one of our solutions.

The server stumbled 0x80072EFD – A variation of the error.

Microsoft Store cache may be damaged – This can appear if your Microsoft Store cache is damaged. You can fix the problem by simply deleting the cache.

The server stumbled page could not be loaded – This is another variation of this error, and if you encounter it, be sure to try disabling your antivirus.

The server stumbled 0x8000ffff – This error can appear while using the Microsoft Store. If that happens, try disabling your proxy and check if that helps.

Windows 10 Store cannot connect to server – If you’re having this problem, you might want to try re-registering your Microsoft Store apps.

Server stumbled Microsoft Store – This is a relatively common problem and to fix it, be sure to check if the necessary services are running.

This error usually occurs when you try to access Microsoft Store, but there are several solutions available.

The first thing that you need to know about this issue is that sometimes there can be internal issues with Microsoft Store, so the best solution is to wait a while and refresh the page to see if the issue is resolved.

In addition, it’s always good to keep your Windows up to date, because updates offer fixes to such internal issues. Also if you’re having issues with Microsoft Store you might want to temporarily disable your antivirus and try again.

How can I fix The server stumbled?

This sounds a bit simple, but sometimes if for some reason your time and date aren’t correct Microsoft Store will give you this error, so the simplest solution is just to check your time and date and see if it’s correct.

Many users reported that this solution worked for them, so we strongly encourage you to try it out.

2. Clear the Microsoft Store cache

After clearing the cache, check if the problem is resolved.

3. Check your antivirus

Using an antivirus is important if you want to protect your PC from malware. However, sometimes its settings can interfere with your network connection causing The server stumbled error to appear.

To fix this problem, it’s recommended to check your antivirus settings and disable any settings that might interfere with your network connection.

Avast users reported that they had to enable Internet Sharing Mode in Firewall settings in order to fix this problem, so be sure to do that. If you can’t find this feature, or if the problem still persists, you might want to consider switching to a different antivirus.

There are many excellent solutions on the market, and we highly recommend you to switch to a different antivirus provider that will not interfere with Microsoft Store or any other apps.

4. Re-register Microsoft Store Apps 5. Disable the proxy

Many users use proxy to protect their privacy online, however, your proxy can interfere with your Internet connection and cause The server stumbled error to appear. To fix this problem, you just need to disable proxy on your Windows 10.

After doing that, check if the problem is resolved. If you still want to protect your privacy online, you might want to consider using VPN instead of proxy.

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6. Check if necessary services are running

If you’re getting The server stumbled error message while trying to use Microsoft Store, the problem might be your services.

The app requires certain services in order to run properly, and if one or more services aren’t running, you might encounter this error.

After enabling both services, the problem should be resolved and you’ll be able to use Microsoft Store without any problems.

Many users reported that this solution solved the problem for them, so we encourage you to try it out.

7. Change your DNS

After doing that, check if the problem is resolved. Keep in mind that your Internet connection might be a bit slower after switching to Google’s DNS, but the problem with Microsoft Store should be resolved completely.

8. Change your Internet options

According to users, sometimes your Internet options can interfere with your network and cause The server stumbled error to appear. To fix that problem, you need to change your settings.

These three options should be enabled by default, but they can become disabled for various reasons. After enabling them, the issue should be resolved. Many users reported that this solution worked for them, so be sure to try it out.

9. Delete the Local cache from the Microsoft Store directory

Sometimes you might encounter The server stumbled error is your Microsoft Store cache is damaged. However, you can easily fix this issue simply by deleting the cache manually.

After doing that, you should be able to use Microsoft Store without any problems.

We also have a dedicated guide on fixing the Microsoft Store Error Code 0x000001f4.

That would be all, I hope at least one of these solutions helped you to solve this error message. Also, if you have any other problems with Windows 10, check out our Windows 10 Fix section, and maybe you’ll find the solution.

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Tiktok Algorithm To Be More Transparent, After Concerns About Harmful Recommendations

Update: TikTok says it is today launching a new tool to provide greater transparency on how videos are added to a user’s feed. For any video, you can tap the Share panel then the question-mark icon called “Why this video?”. So far, it appears only very generic reasons are being offered – like “This video is popular in the United States” – but the company is promising greater granularity later …

How TikTok’s algorithm works is probably the company’s most closely guarded secret. But the WSJ thinks it was able to work it out using a bunch of bot accounts – and the results were both fascinating and disturbing.

A former Google engineer who worked on YouTube’s algorithm says that it takes essentially the same approach, but in a less extreme form.

Officially, TikTok says that it uses four signals: what you watch, share, like, and follow. But the analysis suggested that one of the four is by far the most important …

The WSJ created a 13-minute video to share its findings.

We found out that TikTok only needs one of these to figure you out: How long you linger over a piece of content.

Every second you hesitate or rewatch, the app is tracking you. Through this one powerful signal, TikTok learns your most hidden interests and emotions, and drives you deep into rabbit holes of content that are hard to escape.

The TikTok experience starts the same way for everyone. Open the app and you’ll immediately see an endless string of videos in your For You feed. TikTok starts by serving the account a selection of very popular videos vetted by app moderators.

From these, it works to identify your interests.

The WSJ programmed bots to have an age, location, and a set of particular interests. Those interests weren’t ever entered into the app, just used as the basis for choosing the videos that the bot watched. The bot checked each video in its feed for hashtags or AI-identified images relating to its interests. It would then stop scrolling to watch these videos, and rewatch some of them.

What the paper found was that the video selections and view counts contracted, from popular videos about anything, to ones tightly focused on the interests it had identified.

The results were analysed by data scientist and algorithm expert Guillaume Chaslot, a former Google engineer who worked on YouTube’s algorithm.

“The algorithm on TikTok can get much more powerful and it can be able to learn your vulnerabilities much faster.”

In fact, TikTok fully learned many of our accounts’ interests in less than two hours. Some it figured out in less than 40 minutes.

One bot was programmed with sadness and depression as “interests.”

Less than three minutes into using TikTok, at its 15th video, [bot] kentucky_96 pauses on this [sad video about losing people from your life]. Kentucky_96 watches the 35-second video twice. Here TikTok gets its first inkling that perhaps the new user is feeling down lately.

The information contained in this single video provided the app with important clues. The author of the video, the audio track, the video description, the hashtags. After kentucky_96’s first sad video, TikTok serves another one 23 videos later – or after about four more minutes of watching.

This one is a breakup video with the hashtag #sad. TikTok’s still trying to suss out this new user, with more high view count videos [but] at video 57, kentucky_96 keeps watching a video about heartbreak and hurt feelings. And then at video 60, watches one about emotional pain.

Based on the videos we watched so far, TikTok thinks that maybe this user wants to see more about love, breakups and dating. So at about 80 videos and 15 minutes in, the app starts serving more about relationships. But kentucky_96 isn’t interested.

After 224 videos into the bot’s overall journey, or about 36 minutes of total watch time, TikTok’s understanding of kentucky_96 takes shape. Videos about depression and mental health struggles outnumber those about relationships and breakups. From here on, kentucky_96’s feed is a deluge of depressive content. 93% of videos shown to the account are about sadness or depression.

TikTok says the bot behavior isn’t representative of real users, but even bots with diverse interests programmed into them very quickly saw their content feed narrowed dramatically.

Given the massive popularity of TikTok among teenagers in particular, this raises obvious concerns. Someone in a depressive state could easily be made even more depressed by watching a stream of such content. A conspiracy theorist could end up with the impression that such views are mainstream. Such an algorithm is also likely to push those with extremist views to increasingly extreme content.

TikTok appears to be prioritizing engagement over mental health, and Chaslot says that YouTube does something similar, but in a less extreme way. That certainly matches my experience, where watching a few videos in a row on the same topic often seems to convince YouTube that this is now my sole interest in life – though it does at least reset.

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Fix Microsoft Store Error Code 0X80004003

While downloading apps from Microsoft Store or opening Microsoft Store on Windows 11/10, if you get the error code 0x80004003, follow these solutions mentioned in the article. It is common when certain things do not meet or comply with the Microsoft Store app on Windows 11/10 PC.

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Page could not be loaded. Please try again later.

Fix Microsoft Store error code 0x80004003

To fix Microsoft Store error code 0x80004003 on Windows 11/10, change your internet connection and see. If that does not help, follow these suggestions:

Change date and time settings

Restore original region

Run Windows Store Apps Troubleshooter

Reset Microsoft Store cache

Change Background apps permission

Repair or Reset Microsoft Store

To learn more about these steps, continue reading.

1] Change date and time settings

It is the first thing you need to check when you get error code 0x80004003 while downloading or opening Microsoft Store on Windows 11/10. If you use an incorrect date and time as per your location, you might get this error on your PC. Therefore, follow these steps to correct the date and time settings in Windows 11/10:

Open Windows Settings.

Go to the Time & language section.

Toggle the Set time automatically button to turn it on.

Expand the Time zone list, and select the correct time zone based on your location.

After that, restart the Microsoft Store app to check whether you can download any app without error.

2] Restore the original region

Sometimes, we change the region to download regionally locked apps from Microsoft Store. If you have done that earlier, and now you are getting this error code after some time, you need to restore it to the original region. For that, do the following:

Open Windows Settings on your PC.

Switch to the Time & language tab.

Head to the Region section.

Expand the Country or region drop-down list.

Choose the region you are currently in.

Then, close all the windows and restart the Microsoft Store app.

3] Run Windows Store Apps Troubleshooter

It is one of the working solutions you can choose to use. If there are internal issues in the Microsoft Store app, the Windows Store Apps Troubleshooter will detect and fix them within moments. Therefore, follow these steps to run the Windows Store Apps Troubleshooter:

Press Win+I to open Windows Settings.

Get to the Windows Store Apps Troubleshooter.

After that, you need to follow the screen instructions. However, if at any point, Apply repairs automatically option appears, it is recommended to select that option.

4] Reset Microsoft Store cache

Before using this tool, make sure that Microsoft Store is closed. On the other hand, this command might take a few moments to complete the entire process. Once done, you can open and use Microsoft Store without any problem.

5] Change Background apps permission

By default, Microsoft Store runs in the background so that all the other apps run smoothly. However, if you changed the setting earlier, this error might occur on your computer. That is why you need to verify the Background apps permissions:

Open Windows Settings on your computer.

Switch to the Apps section.

Find out the Microsoft Store app.

Head to the Background apps permissions section.

Expand the drop-down list, and select the Power optimized (recommended) option.

After that, restart the Microsoft Store app and check whether it resolves the problem.

6] Repair or Reset Microsoft Store

Once done, it is recommended to restart your computer before checking the progress.

To fix the Microsoft Store errors, you must verify the date and time settings, restore to the original region, reset the Microsoft Store cache, etc. If nothing helps, you can reset the Microsoft Store app. You can also sign out of the store and log back into your account. So if anything is restricting because of an account issue, it can be resolved.

That’s all! I hope this guide helped.

How do I fix errors when downloading from the Microsoft Store?

If you are getting an error when downloading apps or games from Microsoft Store, check whether you have a good internet connection. Following that, it is recommended to run the Windows Store Apps Troubleshooter, reset the Microsoft Store app, and clear the app’s cache. You also need to check if the app is available in the store. At times, the app gets delisted, but since the store keeps showing it, the error can occur.

Why is Microsoft Store not downloading in the background?

Read: Fix Microsoft Store Error 0x80073d0a.

Apple Updates App Store Guidelines In Response To Class

Apple is announcing a trio of updates to the App Store Guidelines today that focuses on giving developers more flexibility for communicating with their customers. One of the changes specifically comes to address Apple’s settlement in a class-action lawsuit from small developers in the US, first announced back in August.

As background, Apple promised a handful of small App Store changes back in August as part of its settlement with small developers in the United States. One of the most notable changes announced at the time was that developers would be able to communicate outside of their applications about alternatives to Apple’s in-app purchase system.

In line with this settlement, Apple says that it is updating guideline 3.1.3 to remove its previous restriction on using customer communication information obtained with an application to communicate outside the application about payment methods other than in-app purchase. Apple says this update satisfies the terms of the settlement.

Here is the wording of guideline 3.1.3 prior to today’s update (emphasis ours):

The following apps may use purchase methods other than in-app purchase. Apps in this section cannot, within the app, encourage users to use a purchasing method other than in-app purchase. Developers cannot use information obtained within the app to target individual users outside of the app to use purchasing methods other than in-app purchase (such as sending an individual user an email about other purchasing methods after that individual signs up for an account within the app). Developers can send communications outside of the app to their user base about purchasing methods other than in-app purchase.

And here is the wording of guideline 3.1.3 following today’s revision:

The following apps may use purchase methods other than in-app purchase. Apps in this section cannot, within the app, encourage users to use a purchasing method other than in-app purchase. Developers can send communications outside of the app to their user base about purchasing methods other than in-app purchase.

To go along with this update, Apple is also adding a new guideline saying that apps may request basic contact information from users, with some restrictions:

Apps may request basic contact information (such as name and email address) so long as the request is optional for the user, features and services are not conditional on providing the information, and it complies with other provisions of these guidelines, including limitations on collecting information from kids.

In practice, this means that developers will be able to collect contact information from users (as long as it’s not required), then use that contact information to communicate outside of their application (such as with email), about more purchase and payment options that are perhaps cheaper than in-app options.

It’s important to keep in mind that changes are solely in response to the class-action lawsuit from US developers that Apple settled in August. These changes do not put Apple in compliance with the Epic Games ruling or the ruling from the Japan Fair Trade Commission. While the Epic Games case is being appealed, Apple says that it will update its App Store guidelines to accommodate the JFTC ruling in early 2023.

Apple is also making tweaks to the App Store guidelines to accommodate In-App Events, as we reported earlier this week. You can read the full App Store Review Guidelines on Apple’s Developer website here.

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Best Free Microsoft Store Apps To Customize Windows 11

Here is a list of the best free Microsoft Store apps to customize Windows 11. Windows 11 is publicly released and if you haven’t already installed it, you can install Windows 11 on your system now. It has a lot of new personalization features that you can look out for. To further customize the desktop, taskbar, and more on Windows 11, you can use a free third-party app. In this post, we are going to mention some free apps available on Microsoft Store that allow you to customize Windows 11 as per your liking.

These Microsoft Store apps can be used to open File Explorer with tabbed UI, create customizable and personalized desktop widgets, and enhance the look and feel of the taskbar. Apart from that, a few of these apps let you add some nice animated wallpapers to your desktop background in Windows 11. Let us check out these free apps in detail now!

How can I personalize Windows for free?

You can personalize WIndows 11/10 for free using any of the apps that we have mentioned here for Windows 11/10. These Microsoft Store apps work for both Windows 11 and Windows 10. You can use them to customize the desktop background, taskbar, and widgets.

Best Free Microsoft Store Apps to Customize Windows 11

Here are the best free apps on Microsoft Store that enable you to easily customize Windows 11/10:

Files – File Manager for Windows

BeWidgets

Lively Wallpaper

RoundedTB

TaskbarEffectLT

X Live Wallpaper.

1] Files – File Manager for Windows

Try this free Microsoft Store app called Files to customize Windows 11. As the name suggests, it is a UWP File Manager app for Windows 11. It lets you open hard drives and folders in different tabs within the same window. This makes it easy to navigate through different directories and folders in distinct drives. It is basically an alternative to the conventional File Explorer in Windows 11.

You can get this app from Microsoft Store and then launch it to start using it. To completely replace File Explorer with this app, unpin File Explorer from your taskbar and then pin Files to your taskbar. Now, you can launch this app instead of File Explorer whenever you need to browse through drives, directories, folders, and files.

It has a tabbed interface to open up different folders in multiple tabs. You can view some quickly accessible sections in a Sidebar that you can customize. By default, it shows Cloud drives, Network drives, Libraries, and Favorites on the sidebar. Besides that, the standard File Manager features like Delete, Rename, Share, Selection options, and Sort are provided in it. You can also customize and change the layout mode to Details, Tiles,  Small Icons, Medium Icons, etc. Apart from that, you can also create new DOCX, PPTX, RTF, XLSX, and more files directly from this app.

All in all, it is a great app to customize and enhance your experience in Windows 11.

See: 12 Best Free Microsoft Store apps for Windows 11/10

2] BeWidgets

BeWidgets is another free Microsoft Store apps for Windows 11. It basically lets you create customizable widgets on Windows 11. You can create different kinds of widgets using it that include Photos, Time, Date, App Shortcut, and Finances.

It also lets you customize some app-related options like startup options, notifications, theme, accent color, and more. If you want to create and use various widgets on your Windows 11 PC, try this easy-to-use app. You can get this app from Microsoft Store.

Read: Best Free Calling Apps for Windows 11/10

3] Lively Wallpaper

Lively Wallpaper is a free Microsoft Store app to customize Windows 11. It basically lets you add animated backgrounds and enhance the look and feel of your desktop. You can add rain, sunset, fluids simulation, hill, waves, triangles & lights, and more eye-pleasing animated wallpapers to your desktop. You can preview, delete, edit, and perform some other actions on a wallpaper.

You can find a dedicated Add Wallpaper tab where you add new customized wallpapers. It lets you select a file or enter a URL (YouTube, etc.) of wallpaper to use it.

This app can be installed from Microsoft Store or by using its program installer file from its official website. There are other Automatic Wallpaper Changer apps too that you may want to take a look at.

Read: Best Productivity Apps Windows 11/10 from the Microsoft Store

4] RoundedTB

Another Microsoft Store app that you can use to customize Windows 11 is RoundedTB. This app lets you add rounded corners, segments, and margins to your taskbar in Windows 11.

You can customize the margin including top, bottom, right, and left as well as adjust the corner radius to add a rounded effect to your taskbar. Additionally, you can also enable the Dynamic Mode to let it automatically resize your taskbar in order to accommodate the number of icons in it. This makes your taskbar behave similarly to macOS’ Dock.

It even lets you show or hide the system tray on the taskbar as per your requirement. You can enable TranslucentTB Compatibility to customize the opacity, blur, and color of your taskbar. However, this feature is in the experimental phase now and might not work as intended as of now.

After customizing your taskbar through this app, your taskbar will look something like the one shown in the above screenshot. If you want to use it, you can get it from here.

See: Best Medical apps for Windows 11 on Microsoft Store

5] TaskbarEffectLT

TaskbarEffectLT is a free app on Microsoft Store that allows you to customize your taskbar in Windows 11. You can use it to constantly change the color of our taskbar. You can install this app and then launch it to configure taskbar colors. It lets you select lower, current, and upper taskbar colors as per your preferences. Apart from that, you can enable the Random option on Red, Blue, and Green to let it automatically change the color of the taskbar.

You can install this app from Microsoft Store.

6] X Live Wallpaper

X Live Wallpaper can be another Microsoft Store app that you can try to personalize Windows 11. It is quite similar to the above discussed Lively Wallpaper app. As you can guess by its name, it is primarily used to personalize desktop wallpaper with animated cartoons, background themes, games, and more. You can also add custom wallpapers from a URL or a locally saved GIF, Video, HTML, and more files. It lets you preview, export, remove or customize a specific wallpaper.

It is a nice app if you want to add some animated wallpapers to your background. To use it, you can get it here.

BONUS:

Ultimate Windows Tweaker

With this freeware tool, you can easily customize or personalize your PC by adding adjustments to your Windows operating system. Ultimate Windows Tweaker is a popular tool that supports several Windows customization settings in a single UI. This software supports the Taskbar, Thumbnails, File Explorer, and Modern UI customization options in Windows.

Read: Best Free Movie apps available on the Microsoft Store for Windows

Is the Windows 11 upgrade free?

Yes, Windows 11 upgrade is free for everyone. Microsoft has already announced that Windows 11 will be free for all ever since the new OS was disclosed. You can upgrade from Windows 10 to Windows 11 to the same edition as the one you are using currently. Similarly, even Windows 8.1 7 users can upgrade to Windows 11. However, your system must meet the minimum requirements to get the new OS i.e., Windows 11 on your system.

How do I make Windows 11 more customizable?

Although Windows 11 comes with so many options to customize the interface easily, you can opt for some third-party apps if they are not enough. That being said, you can go through the above-mentioned list to find some of the best apps for this purpose. For example, you can use BeWidgets, Lively Wallpaper, X Live Wallpaper, etc.

How do I customize Windows 11 to look cool?

There are so many things you can do to customize Windows 11 to look cool. For example, you can opt for Dark Mode, use the slideshow on the lock screen, enable Widgets, etc. You need to go through the list of new Windows 11 features in order to learn more about them so that you can tweak desired settings as per your requirements.

Now read: Exhaustive list of best free Windows UWP Apps in Microsoft Store.

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