Microsoft keeps updating its PowerToys. A set of slightly unusual free Windows tools has been a part of the Windows operating system landscape since Windows 95, but their availability has been noticeably absent for Windows 10–at least until September 2019.
The toolset is available from Github as a free download. Just download the MSI file here and install. An icon will be placed in the system tray; just right-click on its Settings to access the toys.
In 2019, Microsoft, in partnership with development company Janea Systems, released the first two PowerToys accompanied by a promise of more releases in the nrar future. Let’s explore each available tool or feature provided by Microsoft’s official Windows 10 PowerToys.
This is for the Windows 10 operating system
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The tools allow users, whether they considered themselves “power” or not, to more easily make tweaks to the look and feel of Windows without a deep dive into configuration screens or the dreaded and dangerous edit of the Registry.
All Windows 10 PowerToys are now included as part of a free downloadable system that users can configure. After installation and running the application, you will see the following screen:
The latest version is available on GitHub right now. The latest main release 0.19.0 includes bug fixes for over 100 quality and stability issues across all the featured PowerToys utilities. The development team is also stressing the need for constructive feedback on the PowerToys project. As of this writing, the latest release is 0.19.2.
These PowerToys are currently available:
- File Explorer Preview
- Image Resizer
- Keyboard Manager
- PowerToys Run
- Shortcut Guide
This tool allows users to manage where and how each separate application window will open on a Windows 10 desktop.
For example, you can set up a Windows 10 desktop where Outlook always displays on the right-hand side of the desktop, Twitter to always display on the left-hand side of the desktop and Word always displays in the middle between the other two. There would be three distinct zones displayed at all times. Refer to below image for choosing a layout:
File Explorer Preview
This tool expands on the Preview Pane feature already available in the standard File Explorer application by adding additional file types. Preview Pane allows users to preview the contents of a file after clicking it in File Explorer without actually opening the file. Refer to below image:
This adds additional functionality to File Explorer by allowing users to apply bulk image resizing. You select images in File Explorer and then select the new Resize pictures item on the context menu revealed with a right-click on any image. See below image:
This application is a simple keyboard re-mapper. Run the application from the Its menu and either remap a single key on your keyboard or remap a shortcut keyboard combination. Whatever you remap will remain active as long as Keyboard Manager is enabled and PowerToys is running in the background. See following image:
This tool provides users with advanced tools for bulk renaming of file names. The toy extends the Windows Shell Context Menu to add an entry for PowerRename to File Explorer. With this toy enabled, simple search and replace are added to your toolset. A preview area is displayed as you perform search and replace procedures so you can see how file names will change before initiating the action. See following image:
This toy acts as a quick launcher in Windows 10. It is an extension of the ALT+Tab concept and taps into the Windows 10 file indexing system. To activate the tool, first setup a keyboard combination, like CTRL+ALT+Space and start typing the name of your desired application. The Run will search the system and start listing possible applications, files and folders based on your search phrase. When the item you desire appears, click or tap to run. The old Window Walker toy has been merged into the Run toy. Refer to below image:
This tool will display all the available keyboard shortcuts for the current Windows 10 desktop. This PowerToy is activated by holding the Windows key down for the length of time specified in the tool’s configuration settings. The default is 900ms. Now users won’t have to remember all those Windows key-related shortcut combinations. See below image:
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