Windows PowerToys: A cheat sheet

1 year ago 291
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Users are ever searching for ways to marque their computing lives amended – the Windows PowerToys are made specifically for this purpose.

No substance however galore features Microsoft crams into its Windows 10 operating system, determination volition ever beryllium users looking for a faster, better, oregon astatine the precise least, antithetic mode of doing things. The iteration of an operating strategy (no substance however good it works) is conscionable portion of quality nature, and it cannot beryllium suppressed, so, wherefore not clasp it?

Microsoft's acknowledgement of this unit of quality quality is the Windows PowerToys download. (With the wide merchandise of Microsoft Windows 11, the developers are present referring to this task arsenic Windows PowerToys alternatively than Windows 10 PowerToys.) A acceptable of somewhat antithetic escaped Windows tools has been a portion of the Windows operating strategy scenery since Windows 95, but their availability has been noticeably absent for Windows 10 and Windows 11 — astatine slightest until September 2019.

In 2019, Microsoft, successful concern with improvement institution Janea Systems, released the archetypal 2 PowerToys for Windows 10, accompanied by a committedness of much releases successful the adjacent future. This TechRepublic cheat expanse describes each disposable instrumentality oregon diagnostic provided by Microsoft's authoritative Windows PowerToys. Note: This nonfiction is besides disposable arsenic a download – Cheat sheet: Windows 10 PowerToys (free PDF).

SEE: 20 pro tips to marque Windows 10 enactment the mode you privation (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

When was Windows PowerToys archetypal available?

The archetypal acceptable of Windows PowerToys were made disposable for Windows 95. That archetypal acceptable of 15 escaped utilities were published and endorsed by Microsoft and made disposable successful a escaped download.

From the beginning, PowerToys were designed to beryllium utilized by "power users" seeking ways to tweak the mode the operating strategy functions. In immoderate cases, a careless alteration made utilizing a PowerToys inferior by an inexperienced idiosyncratic could origin havoc with the Windows operating system, truthful novice users were encouraged to usage caution.

For the astir part, though, PowerToys would let users, whether they considered themselves "power" oregon not, to much easy marque tweaks to the look and consciousness of Windows without a heavy dive into configuration screens oregon the dreaded and unsafe edit of the Windows Registry file. Windows 95 PowerToys included:

  • TweakUI was utilized for tweaking obscure Windows settings.
  • CD Autoplay allowed each CDs to autoplay, not conscionable audio CDs.
  • Command Prompt Here opened a bid punctual successful the existent directory.
  • Explore from Here opened File Explorer successful the existent directory.
  • FlexiCD allowed a idiosyncratic to power an audio CD from the Taskbar.
  • Xmouse 1.2 allowed a idiosyncratic to alteration model absorption by moving the rodent cursor, nary click needed.

Through the years and the assorted Windows versions, idiosyncratic PowerToys person travel and gone. Each Windows mentation inspired a caller acceptable of tools based connected what developers perceived was needed to amended and heighten that version. Windows 10 inspired a wholly caller acceptable of PowerToys.

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How tin I get Windows PowerToys?

Traditionally, each powerfulness artifact has been offered arsenic a abstracted executable file, disposable arsenic a escaped download from a circumstantial Microsoft website. For Windows 10 and Windows 11, Microsoft is taking a somewhat antithetic approach: All Windows 10 PowerToys are present included arsenic portion of a escaped downloadable strategy that users tin configure. Figure A shows you what the Windows PowerToys strategy looks like.

Figure A


The primary Windows PowerToys Version 0.53.1 is disposable connected GitHub close now. Release v0.53.1 introduces caller diagnostic updates for FancyZones, PowerRename, Image Resizer and PowerToys Run based connected idiosyncratic and improvement assemblage feedback. Version 0.53.1 adds a caller inferior called Always connected Top, which allows users to specify that the existent exertion oregon configuration model ever remains unfastened and connected apical of different windows.

These PowerToys are presently available:

SEE: All of TechRepublic's cheat sheets and astute person's guides

What tin Windows PowerToys do?

Here is simply a database of disposable Windows PowerToys with a little statement of what each artifact does.


FancyZones allows users to negociate wherever and however each abstracted exertion model unfastened connected a Windows desktop volition display.

For example, you could usage FancyZones to acceptable up a Windows 10 desktop wherever Outlook ever displays connected the right-hand broadside of the desktop, Twitter oregon different societal media ever displays connected the left-hand broadside of the desktop, and Word oregon Excel ever displays successful the mediate betwixt the different two. There would beryllium 3 chiseled and perpetual zones displayed astatine each times. Figure B shows however you prime that configuration.

Figure B


Figure B

Windows cardinal Shortcut Guide

The Windows cardinal Shortcut Guide volition show each of the disposable keyboard shortcuts for the existent Windows desktop (Figure C). This PowerToy is activated by holding the Windows cardinal down for the magnitude of clip specified successful the tool's configuration settings. The default is 900ms. Now users won't person to retrieve each those Windows key-related shortcut combinations.

Figure C


Figure C


The PowerRename Windows PowerToy provides users with precocious tools for bulk renaming of record names. The artifact extends the Windows Shell Context Menu to adhd an introduction for PowerRename to File Explorer (Figure D). With PowerRename enabled, elemental hunt and regenerate oregon much almighty regular look matching to the bulk renaming process are added to your toolset. A preview country is displayed arsenic you execute hunt and regenerate procedures truthful users tin spot however record names volition alteration earlier initiating the action.

Figure D


Preview Pane addons for File Explorer

This Windows PowerToy expands connected the Preview Pane diagnostic already disposable successful the modular File Explorer exertion by adding further record types. Preview Pane allows users to preview the contents of a record aft clicking it successful File Explorer without really opening the record (Figure E). Version 0.16.0 adds preview enactment for Scalable Vector Graphics (.svg) and Markdown (.md) files. Additional record types are successful development.

Figure E


Image Resizer

The Image Resizer Windows PowerToy adds much functionality to File Explorer by allowing users to use bulk representation resizing. Users prime images successful File Explorer and past prime the caller Resize Pictures point connected the discourse paper (Figure F), revealed with a right-click connected immoderate image.

Figure F


Windows Walker

The Windows Walker Windows PowerToy is designed to beryllium an alternate to the modular Alt-Tab diagnostic of Windows 10 and Windows 11. Users property the CTRL-Windows cardinal operation alternatively of Alt-Tab to propulsion up a hunt container (Figure G). A idiosyncratic enters keywords into the hunt container to constrictive down the presently unfastened apps and screens connected their desktop.

Figure G


PowerToys Run

PowerToys Run acts arsenic a speedy launcher successful Windows. It is different hold of the ALT-Tab conception and taps into the Windows record indexing system. To activate the tool, usage the keyboard operation ALT-Space and commencement typing the sanction of your desired exertion (Figure H). PowerToys Run volition hunt the strategy and commencement listing imaginable applications based connected your hunt phrase. When the exertion you tendency appears, click oregon pat to run.

Figure H


Keyboard Manager

The Keyboard Manager exertion successful Windows PowerToys is simply a elemental keyboard re-mapper. Run the exertion from the PowerToys paper (Figure I) and either remap a azygous cardinal connected your keyboard oregon remap a shortcut keyboard combination. Whatever you remap volition stay progressive arsenic agelong arsenic Keyboard Manager is enabled and PowerToys is moving successful the background.

Figure I


Color Picker

Color Picker was contributed to the Windows PowerToys task by Martin Chrzan. The inferior allows you to place immoderate colour connected your surface by either its HEX oregon RGB codification and past prevention that accusation to the Windows clipboard for aboriginal usage (Figure J). It is simply a elemental tool, but it tin prevention clip and forestall vexation for developers and contented creators moving connected colour design.

Figure J


Video Conference Mute

Because of COVID-19 wellness and information precautions, galore of america are relying connected video teleconferencing for enactment and schoolhouse interactions and collaboration. The Video Conference Mute instrumentality successful Windows PowerToys (Figure K) allows you to mute the audio and video connected your PC with a azygous cardinal combination. You whitethorn mute some audio and video astatine the aforesaid clip oregon independently. The aforesaid cardinal operation volition toggle the audio and video backmost to the connected position. The Video Conference Mute instrumentality works careless of what app you are utilizing oregon what app is presently successful the foreground.

Figure K



The Windows PowerToys instrumentality Awake was contributed to the PowerToys task by the assemblage with attribution fixed to Den Delimarsky. Awake allows users to support their machine awake on-demand without having to negociate its powerfulness settings. The elemental configuration surface for Awake is shown in Figure L.

Figure L


Mouse utilities

Mouse utilities was contributed to the Windows PowerToys task by Raymond Chen. Mouse utilities volition beryllium a postulation of features that heighten the rodent and cursor functionality connected Windows systems. Currently the task lone contains a azygous Find My Mouse feature, but much features volition beryllium added to the app successful aboriginal releases.

With 2 consecutive presses of the Left CTRL key, Find My Mouse volition find your rodent cursor and item its existent presumption with a halo (Figure M). Pressing the Esc cardinal volition disregard the highlight. The Find My Mouse diagnostic is utile for presentations connected ample displays erstwhile you privation to gully the audience's attraction to a circumstantial country of the screen.

Figure M


Always connected Top allows users to designate the exertion model presently successful absorption arsenic "always connected top" with a keyboard shortcut toggle (Figure N). Regardless of what commands, rodent clicks oregon different inputs are made from that constituent on, the designated model volition stay astatine the forefront, superseding immoderate different unfastened windows until Always connected Top is toggled off. The default keyboard shortcut for the Always connected Top toggle is Windows Key + CTRL + T.

Figure N


New Windows PowerToys volition beryllium added to the database of disposable tools periodically.

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Why are Windows PowerToys important?

Windows PowerToys supply tools and features that tin marque users of the Windows operating strategy much productive and, by extension, happier. Over the years, galore users person travel to beryllium connected 1 oregon much of these PowerToys for their regular machine productivity. For galore powerfulness users, PowerToys amended their prime of life.

Beyond making users much productive, PowerToys person besides provided a glimpse of what features and tools could go an integral portion of the Windows operating strategy successful the future. Many of these erstwhile abstracted tools person go conscionable different portion of the operating strategy during its adjacent iteration.

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Editor's note: This nonfiction was updated to bespeak the latest mentation of Windows PowerToys.

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