Microsoft has released more and more PowerToys for Windows 10 and 11. This open source project adds a lot of powerful features to Windows, from batch file renaming to Alt + Tab replacements that let you search doors window from your keyboard.
You can download PowerToys from the Microsoft Store or get the installer directly from GitHub and enable the features you want from within PowerToys Settings. It is free and open source. If you are using GitHub, download the “PowerToysSetup” EXE file and double-click it to install.
You can launch PowerToys from the Start menu and it will still run in the background.
To access PowerToys settings after installing and launching the app, find the PowerToys icon in the notification area (system tray) of your taskbar, right-click it, and select “Settings.”
Always on Top will make it easy to pin any window to the top. Just press Windows + Ctrl + and the window will stay on top of all your other windows until you undo the change with Windows + Ctrl +.
When you use the shortcut, the window that is always on top will have a blue outline and a notification sound will play. You can disable these options if you want, and also change the shortcut to something else.
It can sometimes be difficult to detect your mouse, especially if you’re using a high-resolution monitor. Mouse Utilities adds two more keyboard shortcuts that make this even easier: Find My Mouse and Mouse Highlighter.
Video Conference Mute gives you common keyboard shortcuts to quickly mute your microphone and turn off your camera. They work in any Windows app, not just meeting tools like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Google Meet.
By default, you can press Windows + Shift + Q to turn off the camera and microphone, Windows + Shift + A to just mute the microphone or Windows + Shift + O to turn off your camera. When you do, a floating toolbar will appear, reminding you that you have disabled your inputs with the Video Conference Mute tool and providing you with a quick way to re-enable them.
Power Toys has many settings that allow you to configure the microphone and webcam that it will turn off, and change these shortcuts to whatever you want.
Prevent the computer from going to sleep
Whether you’re loading a file or doing another lengthy task, sometimes you don’t want your PC to go to sleep. You can go into Settings and set Windows to never go to sleep, wait for the task to complete, then go back to Settings and change the setting back. Of course, it takes a lot of clicks — and it’s easy to forget to turn sleep mode back on.
PowerToys Awake provides you with a quick notification area that allows you to control sleep settings. You can let your PC never go to sleep until you turn it off. Or, you can configure your PC to work only in wake mode.
Color Picker, System-wide Color Picker
People who work in graphics, from web designers to photographers and graphic designers, often have to find a specific color and use it. That’s why tools like Adobe Photoshop have a color picker (eyerop) that allows you to point your mouse at a part of an image to determine exactly what color it is.
Color Picker is a color picker that works anywhere on your system. After enabling it in PowerToys, press Win + Shift + CLOSE to open it anywhere. You’ll see the color code displayed in both hexadecimal and RGB so you can use it in other programs.
Click once and the hex color code will be copied to your clipboard so you can paste it. If you prefer RGB, you can open the Color Picker screen in the PowerToys Settings window and choose to copy the RGB color code.
PowerToys Run, a fast app launcher
PowerToys Run is a search-based application launcher. Unlike the classic Windows Run dialog (Win + R), it has search feature. Unlike the Start Menu, which launches things on your computer instead of searching the web with Bing.
In addition to applications, PowerToys Run can also quickly find files. It can even find and switch to open windows — just search for the window title.
To open it, press Alt + Space. This shortcut is customizable in Settings PowerToys.
Start typing a phrase to search for apps, files, and even open windows. Use the arrow keys to select an item in the list (or just keep typing to narrow it down) and press Enter to launch an application, open a file, or switch to a window.
PowerToys Run has some other features, like “Open as Administrator” and “Open Containing Folder” buttons for each option in the list. In the future, it will have calculator-like plug-ins.
Keyboard Manager, Remapping shortcuts
The Keyboard Manager provides an easy-to-use interface for remapping your keyboard’s single keys and shortcut keys.
The “Remap Keyboard” tool allows you to change a key into a new key. You can set any key on your keyboard to act as another key — including special function keys. For example, you can turn the Caps Lock key you never use into the Back key on your browser to make navigating the web easier.
The “Remap Shortcuts” menu allows you to change shortcut combinations to other shortcuts. Eg, Win + E normally open a File Explorer window. You can create a shortcut Win + Space new to open a File Explorer window. Your new shortcuts may override existing shortcuts built into Windows 10.
PowerRename, batch file renaming tool
Microsoft’s PowerToys includes a batch renaming tool called “PowerRename”. With this feature, you can right-click on one or more files or folders in File Explorer and select “PowerRename” in the context menu to open it.
The PowerRename tool window will appear. You can use text boxes and checkboxes to quickly rename files in bulk. For example, you can remove words from filenames, replace phrases, add numbers, change multiple file extensions at once, and more. You can even use expressions. The preview pane will help you fine-tune your renaming settings before renaming the file.
This utility is much simpler than most of the third-party batch renaming tools available for Windows.
Image Resizer, image compression tool
PowerToys provides a quick image changer that integrates with File Explorer. Once it’s enabled, select one or more image files in File Explorer, right-click them, and select “Resize Pictures.”
The Image Resizer window will open. You can then choose a size for the image file or enter a custom size in pixels. By default, the tool creates resizing of the selected image files, but you can also resize and replace the original files. You can even click the “Settings” button and configure advanced options like image encoder quality settings.
This tool is a quick way to resize one or more image files without opening a more complicated application.
FancyZones, the window manager
FancyZones is a window manager that allows you to create layouts of “zones” for windows on the desktop. Windows typically allows you to manage windows in a 1×1 or 2×2 arrangement. FancyZones allows you to create more complex layouts.
By default, you can press Windows + `(it’s an important character, the key above the Tab key) to open the Zone Editor. Then, while dragging and dropping a window, you can press and hold the Shift key (or another mouse button, such as your right mouse button) to see the areas. Drop a window into an area and it changes according to that layout on your desktop.
FancyZones provides a quick way to set up complex window layouts without resizing each window. Just drop the windows into the areas. You can configure all its many options and shortcuts by opening the PowerToys Settings window and clicking “FancyZones”.
Shortcut Guide, for keyboard shortcuts on Windows
Windows has built-in keyboard shortcuts that use the Windows key. For example, you can press Windows + E to open a File Explorer window, Windows + i to open the Settings window or Windows + EASY to show your screen? You can also press Windows + 1 to activate the first application shortcut from the left on the taskbar, Windows + 2 to activate the second shortcut, etc.
The Shortcut Guide will help you learn and remember these shortcuts. Once it’s enabled, you can hold down the Windows key on your keyboard for about a second to see common keyboard shortcuts.
Add-ons File Explorer, file preview
File Explorer also has a preview pane, which can display previews of images and other file types directly in File Explorer. Press Alt + P in File Explorer to show or hide it. Select a file and you’ll immediately see a preview.
With the various File Explorer Add-ons enabled in PowerToys, Windows will be able to display previews of SVG images, documents formatted in Markdown, PDF documents, and G files (used by 3D printers). ).
What happened to Window Walker?
Update: This tool has now been merged into PowerToys Run. You can type a window’s title into PowerToys Run to find and switch to that window.
Window Walker is an alternative to Alt + Tab based on the search feature. To open it, press Ctrl + Win. You will see a text box appear.
Start typing a phrase to search for open windows that match that term. For example, if you have multiple Chrome browser windows open, you can type “Chrome” and you will see a list of those windows. Use the arrow keys to select windows and press Enter.
This tool can be very useful if you have multiple windows open and are looking for a specific window. For example, if you have ten different browser windows open and you’re looking for a window that shows a specific web page, you can press Ctrl + Tab, start typing the name of the website and find the browser window that displays it.
The PowerToys package is still incomplete and Microsoft has more tools planned before the 1.0 release.