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Five Handy (and Free) Windows Tools for Gamers

Windows is the home of PC gaming, but that doesn’t mean it can’t use a little bit of remodeling. Here are some handy tools to make your gaming life a little easier.

SharpKeys

Most games have a built-in way to assign keys to a command. If you’d like a more permanent way to alter not just key assignments but Windows’ basic controls, SharpKeys is a program that will remap keyboard commands and write them directly to the Windows registry, making the change permanent and applicable to all menus, applications, and games. It’s especially handy for modifying keys that can mess with games, like disabling or re-assigning the Caps Lock and left Windows key, or giving your keyboard dedicated volume keys. It’s a great tool if you don’t have a gaming keyboard with its own dedicated software. Check out our guide for more info on how to use it.

SoundSwitch

If your gaming computer has both standard speakers and headphones (or a full headset), you’re probably tired of manually switching the sound output from one to the other whenever you’re ready to play a game. SoundSwitch gets around that problem: it’s a little application that lives in your system tray and switches from one sound output to the other with a keyboard hotkey. Users can selectively include outputs from the command list (handy for graphics cards that often have HDMI sound no one uses), and there’s a separate command for microphone inputs, which is very handy if you have a headset mic and webcam and a dedicated full…