ViVeTool is an open-source command line utility to get access to new APIs or I say hidden features of Windows 11 builds before their public release. And, in this post, we will show you how to use ViVeTool on Windows 11. With some simple commands, this tool lets you unlock or force enable features that are either hidden or under controlled roll-outs. These are experimental features that need more testing until being rolled out publicly. But users can take the help of this utility to activate features such as the Taskbar Search button, Task Manager option in the taskbar context menu, and more.
In simple terms, if some new feature is not available in the latest Dev build or Beta build of Windows 11 you’re using, then ViVeTool can be used to enable it. Tabs in File Explorer is one such feature in Windows 11 that was earlier revealed with this tool. And, the tool gain popularity day by day with more features unlocked. You can also use this tool in the stable release of Windows 11 to enable/disable some features that are rolling out slowly and can’t be activated using the Settings app or any other built-in way.
Apart from this, ViVeTool is not limited to use on Windows 11 only. It can be used on Windows 10 build 18963 or newer machines. In addition to that, developers can also take the help of this tool to make their own programs capable to interact with the A/B feature mechanism found in Windows 10 and newer versions. However, this post is focused on using this utility in Windows 11.
Available Commands in ViveTool
Below is a list of some important command-line arguments that can be used with ViVeTool. You can directly execute ViVeTool.exe on the console window to view the supported commands.
- /enable Enables a feature. You will need a feature ID to enable a particular feature
- /disable Disables a feature
- /query Lists all the existing feature configuration(s). You can check the feature ID of each feature present in the Windows Feature Store, the State of a feature ID (Enabled, Disabled, or Default), ID priority (Service or User), and Type (Experiment or Override)
- /addsub Adds a feature usage subscription
- /notifyusage Fires a feature usage subscription
- /reset Removes custom configurations for a specific feature enabled by you
- /delsub Removes a feature usage subscription
- /import Imports custom feature configurations
- /appupdate Checks for the new version of this tool
- /export Exports custom feature configuration
- /fullreset Removes all custom feature configurations which is helpful to undo all features enabled/disabled by you, etc.
How to use ViVeTool on Windows 11
You can use ViVeTool on Windows 11, to enable hidden features, with an elevated Command Prompt or PowerShell window in the Windows Terminal app or use CMD or PowerShell window separately:
- Enable or disable Desktop Search Bar
- Enable the Search bar in Task Manager
- Enable instant search results in Explorer
- Add a new Search button in Taskbar
- Enable or disable Tabs in Explorer
- Enable Full-Screen Widgets
- Add the Task Manager option in the Taskbar context menu
- Enable new Widget settings, etc.
Though the tool is designed for programmers and power users, anyone with some precaution can use this tool to activate the experimental features. There might be a chance that enabling some experimental feature cause system instability or crashes. So, it is advised to keep a backup of your system so that it can be restored easily if needed. Here are the steps to use this CLI tool:
- Download the latest version of ViVeTool (v0.3.2 for now) from github.com. The tool comes in a ZIP file
- Extract the ZIP file into a folder and open that folder. You will see a ViVeTool.exe application file. You will need this application file to execute the commands
- Right-click on the Start button of Windows 11
- Click on the Terminal (Admin) option and then open elevated Command Prompt or PowerShell in the Windows Terminal
- Access the directory or folder of ViVeTool (where you extracted the ZIP file of this tool) in the console window. For example, if you extracted it in the
C:\ViVeToolfolder, then type
cd C:\ViVeTooland press the Enter key
- Now, to enable a hidden feature, you will need the ViVeTool.exe application, an enable parameter, an id parameter along with the feature ID of that particular feature that you want to activate. So, your complete command would be like this:
ViVeTool.exe /enable /id:12345678
Replace 12345678 with the actual feature ID.
If the command is executed successfully, a message Successfully set feature configuration(s) will visible.
Finally, all you have to do is restart your Windows 11 computer and the new feature will be activated.
To disable the activated feature, you only need to replace the /enable parameter with /disable parameter for a specific feature and restart the system to let the changes take effect.
Now there are some examples to use ViVeTool on Windows 11 that are covered below in this post. Let’s have a look at them. After executing a command for a particular feature, you must restart your PC for the changes, and the same goes for disabling a feature.
Enable or disable Desktop Search Bar in Windows 11
This command enables a floating desktop Search bar in Windows 11. You can perform a web search query and then results are displayed using Bing Search in the Edge browser. To use this command, you must be using Dev Build 25120 or newer of Windows 11. The command to enable the desktop Search bar in Windows 11 is:
ViVeTool.exe /enable /id:37969115
To disable the desktop Search bar, use the following command:
ViVeTool.exe /disable /id:37969115
Enable the Search bar in Task Manager of Windows 11
It’s another interesting feature that you can activate in Insider build 25231 or newer of Windows 11. You can enable and use the Search bar in Windows 11 Task Manager to search for background apps, processes, and services by PID, Publisher, or name. The command is:
ViVeTool.exe /enable /id:39420424
Enable instant search results in Windows 11 File Explorer
Until now, we need to type a query and then wait for the search results to be displayed using the search functionality in File Explorer. Now Windows 11 File Explorer supports instant search results. Microsoft is gradually rolling out this feature to users, but you can activate it now using ViVeTool in the stable version of Windows 11. If you are using Windows 11 build 22621.754 or newer build, you can enable this feature with the following commands:
ViVeTool.exe /enable /id:39281392
ViVeTool.exe /enable /id:38665217
Add a new Search button in Windows 11 Taskbar
You can replace the default Search icon (magnifier icon) present in the taskbar of Windows 11 will a new Search button in the stable release. In Windows 11 build 22621.754 or higher, you can use ViVeTool to change the search appearance with any of the following three search variants:
- Search with web button
- Search button with “Search” label, and
- Search icon that includes a magnifier and a globe inside.
The command is:
ViVeTool.exe /enable /id:39263329 /variant:#
Replace # with the variant number 1, 3, or 5 before executing the command.
Enable or disable Tabs in File Explorer on Windows 11
The Tabs feature in File Explorer comes with the first feature drop of Windows 11 2022 Update Version 22H2. If you don’t like this feature, you can disable Tabs in File Explorer on Windows 11 using ViVeTool. For this, execute the following commands:
ViVeTool.exe /disable /id:37634385
ViVeTool.exe /disable /id:36354489
Later, if you wish to enable the tabbed interface in Windows 11 File Explorer. You can execute the above commands with /enable parameter.
Enable Full-Screen Widgets on Windows 11
The Widgets panel opens with Half View mode in Windows 11. But, ViVeTool helps you enable full-screen widgets on Windows 11. The command works with Insider build 25201 or newer.
ViVeTool.exe /enable /id:34300186
Add the Task Manager option in the Taskbar context menu
If you are on stable build 22621.675 or newer of Windows 11, you can add the Task Manager option in the taskbar context menu. This feature is also slowly rolling out to users. So, those who didn’t get this feature can enable it with this command:
ViVeTool.exe /enable /id:36860984
Enable new Widget settings in Windows 11
The Widgets feature in Windows 11 supports new Widget settings. It lets you turn on or off Show widgets on hover, Show widget rotation or announcements, and Show notification badges or Show widget badging. This feature roll-out started with Insider build 25211. If you haven’t received this feature yet, you can activate it with this command:
ViVeTool.exe /enable /id:38652916
Once done, open Widgets and then click on the Profile icon (also known as Settings icon) in the Widgets panel and you will see the new options for Widget settings.
That’s it! We will include more options as the new features are unlocked in Insider builds of Windows 11.
How do I enable Tabs in Windows 11?
If you haven’t received the Tabs feature in Windows 11 File Explorer or you disabled it, then you can use ViVeTool to enable it. For this, you need to execute
ViVeTool.exe /enable /id:37634385 and
ViVeTool.exe /enable /id:36354489 commands one by one.
How do I enable the hidden features of Windows 11?
If you want to enable the hidden or experimental features of Windows 11 such as the desktop Search bar, full-screen Widgets, a Search bar in Task Manager, etc., then you need to use a Windows feature configuration tool named ViVeTool. You will need a unique feature ID and enable parameter to enable a specific feature. A list of some hidden features of Windows 11 that can be enabled or disabled using this tool is mentioned in the post above.
What are the hidden features of Windows 11?
Multitasking, Snap Layouts, volume adjustment for individual apps, Device usage, etc., are some hidden features in Windows 11 you might not know exist. In addition to that, there are some other hidden features like full-screen Widgets and a Search bar in Task Manager present in Insider builds of Windows 11.
Hope this helps.