7 Best Free Alternatives To Windows Desktop Management

By | March 16, 2022

Is your Windows desktop a mess? Here are free desktop management apps that can help you organize your desktop clutter.

In the same way you can tell a lot about a person by looking at their physical desktop, you can infer the same amount of information from that person’s Windows desktop.

If you live in a world full of virtual chaos, it might make sense to turn to a third-party desktop management app for help. The best known is Fences, but there are plenty of other options out there too.

Here are the best free alternatives to Fences to manage and organize your Windows desktop.

Fences

How can Fences Stardock be an alternative to Fences? Listen to us.

Currently, Fences is a paid app. You can enjoy a free trial for 30 days, but after that you have to pay $13 for the app. If you want the full application, including Object Desktop, it costs $36.

However, Fences has not always been a paid app. Back when it first made a name for itself, the app was free.

And the good news? You can still download the old, free version of Fences. Sure, it doesn’t have as many bells and whistles as the latest release, but it still works great.

Nimi Places

Nimi Places is a desktop organizer application that allows users to organize their desktops into customizable containers. Each container can hold files and folders from multiple locations, and each file or folder can be displayed as an icon or thumbnail.

From an organizational point of view, you can add colored labels and create rules for containers so that certain actions will be performed at predetermined times. Each container can use an individual theme, and you can use different sized icons within each container to aid visuals on the screen. The container also has a built-in media preview.

Thumbnails also deserve a closer look. Nimi Places not only has the ability to create image and video thumbnails it can also work with Photoshop files, web page shortcuts, folder directories, and various productivity files.

XLaunchpad

If you’re an Apple user, you’ll be familiar with Launchpad on macOS. Yes, you can try and customize the Start Menu in Windows 10 to partially replicate it, but all your installed apps are neatly displayed and available with a single click which is very convenient and a real time saver.

If you’re the kind of person who has hundreds of app shortcuts on your desktop, give XLaunchpad a try. It brings the Mac Launchpad experience to Windows. Once installed, you will see a Rocket icon on your desktop. Click the icon, and you will see all your apps. You can finally remove all those app shortcuts from your desktop.

SideSlide

People who’ve used Fences for Windows will love SideSlide. It’s the Windows equivalent of pushing all the clutter on your physical desktop into your office drawer. Out of sight, out of mind, right?

Program centers around the Workspace. Within the Workspace, you can add containers, shortcuts, commands, URLs, RSS news feeds, images, reminders, notes, and much more.

All content in your Workspace is available with just one click. Just stick the app to the side of the screen, and the app remains invisible when not in use; hover your mouse over the dock, and it will instantly expand.

Customization is SideShare’s priority. With a few tweaks, you can make your app work exactly how you want it.

ViPad

Another computer desktop organizer for Windows 10, ViPad, also uses a container-based approach to organizing your desktop. However, it only uses a single container, with tabs along the top of the container window, allowing you to switch between different content groups.

Tabs can store apps and documents, web links, social media contacts, and even music. Tabs are fully searchable (just start typing to start searching) and can be rearranged to suit your needs using drag-and-drop.

TAGO Fences

TAGO Fences is the lightest app on this list. If you just want a few core features without all the extra extras you’ll probably never use, check them out.

It’s also arguably the most Fences-like experience, with the aforementioned Nimi Place coming soon.

This app lets you save multiple shortcuts and apps in each Fence and has a scroll bar in case the icon list gets too large for the container.

You can change the background and color of the tiles, show or hide individual icons, and drag and drop your content into the order of your choice for each container.

Virtual Desktops

We know some of you try to avoid third-party apps wherever possible, so we’ll conclude with the native Windows 10 Virtual Desktops feature.

Windows 10 marks the first time multiple virtual desktops have become a mainstream feature. If used properly, they can massively reduce the amount of clutter on your desktop. For example, if your desktop is a collection of Steam shortcuts, college assignments, and new memes you found on Reddit, why not give each category its own desktop space?

To create a new desktop, press Windows + Tab. In the new window, click + New Desktop in the upper left corner. To switch between desktops, press Windows + Ctrl + Left Arrow (or Right Arrow), and to close the desktop, press Windows + Ctrl + F4.

Do You Need a Fences Alternative for Windows 10

Windows 10 has the potential to make all of these apps redundant. You can now use the Start menu to group shortcuts and apps into expandable folders (just drag one icon over another to get started). If you pair the Start Menu with a virtual desktop, you can argue against an application like Fences reaching the end of its lifecycle.

However, some users will still like the extra features they bring. People going to cluttered desktops will be able to extract the most benefit.

If you’re looking for the most Fences-like experience, we recommend Nimi even though all the apps on this list are decent Fences Stardock alternatives.

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