PowerToys started off as a bunch of utilities made for Microsoft Windows 95 by individuals not affiliated to Microsoft but endorsed by the company nonetheless. Whew!
They were intended to be used by Windows ‘power users’ looking to change the way the operating system functions. This meant that there was the unintended side effect of being able to fry your system.
Through the years, Microsoft has baked some functionalities of PowerToys into it’s own operating system and for a while decided it wasn’t going to support PowerToys anymore (looking at you windows 8).
The new PowerToys for windows 10 was released recently and it has some really nifty features.
So what can it do?
Here’s a list of what it can do now:
- Fancy Zones
- Windows Key Shortcut Guide
- File Explorer Addons
- Image Resizer
- PowerToys Run
- Color Picker
For those of you with great screen real estate, you’ll love this one.
It allows you to snap and arrange windows into more efficient layouts to improve your workflow. When you drag a window into a zone, the window is resized and re-positioned to fill that zone.
You can make as many number of layouts as you’d like and then drag windows into them. Want Youtube on one corner, Word on another, Chrome in another… you get the idea. It’s crazy simple to set up and it just works.
Windows Key Shortcut Guide
This is a fairly self explanatory PowerToy.
Basically, you press the windows key and hold it there for a while to see a list of shortcuts you can use. Super handy to have. Power users won’t get too much help from this, since it’s the basic commands – but Hey! it’s there.
This Toy allows you to bulk rename files natively in explorer. For example, in the demo below, all instances of the word Pampalona is renamed to Pamplona in one swoop.
Get your files , folders and life in order with this tool that should actually have just been a part of Windows to begin with IMHO.
File Explorer Add-ons
This tool adds the functionality to view svg and markdown files directly from the preview pane.
This is a shell extension that allows you to resize images directly from the menu. Really useful if you just want to effortlessly resize images without having to install a separate app for it, use a shady site, or struggle in paint.
This is something that I use regularly since I got it. It is basically a search function that taps into the Windows 10 indexer without sacrificing performance. Works also as a window switcher without having to leave the keyboard.
It already has some plugins built in, such as a calculator and it’s built to be modular so expect more plugins to be developed for it as time goes on.
I think that this function is the nicest of all (even though I use PowerToys run much much more). It’s a color pickling utility for Windows 10 that allows you to select a color from any running application. You can edit the colors in app and copy the color in a configurable format to your clipboard.
So why aren’t these tools just integrated into windows?
Someday probably. Like how older PowerToys are native Windows integrations. For now, Microsoft is fine with just letting users test out their tools.
A handy list of links.
You can grab PowerToys from Microsoft’s GitHub here:
You can see what they have planned for PowerToys here: