Everything you need to know about Microsoft PowerToys for Windows 10 and 11

Xiaobai Software  2022-01-09 21: 29  read 192 views

Microsoft has released more and more PowerToys for Windows 10 and 11.This open source project adds many powerful features to Windows, from a batch file renamer to an Alt+Tab alternative that lets you search windows from your keyboard.

How to get Microsoft PowerToys


You can start fromMicrosoft StoreDownload PowerToys or get the installer directly from GitHub and enable the desired features from the PowerToys Settings app.It's free and open source.If you are using GitHub, download the "PowerToysSetup" EXE file from the website and double-click it to install it.

You can start PowerToys from the Start menu and it will keep running in the background.

To access PowerToys settings after installing and launching the application, find the PowerToys icon in the notification area (system tray) on the taskbar, right-click it, and select Settings.


Always on Top, so that any window is always on top


Microsoft's Always on Top PowerToy provides an easy way to keep any window always on top.Just press Windows+Ctrl+T and the window will sit on top of all other windows until you use Windows+Ctrl+T to undo changes.

When using the shortcut, the always-on top window will have a blue border and a notification sound will play.You can disable these and change the keyboard shortcut to any other shortcut if you want.


Mouse Utilities, for finding the mouse and tracking clicks


The mouse can sometimes be hard to spot, especially when using a high-resolution monitor. Mouse Utilities adds two keyboard shortcuts to make things easier: Find My Mouse and Mouse Highlighter.

To use Find My Mouse, double-click the Ctrl key.Most of the screen will be grayed out, leaving a light circle focused on the location of the mouse cursor.

The mouse highlighter leaves a colored circle every time you click.To activate and deactivate it, press Windows+Shift+H by default, you can also change this key combination in the mouse highlighter settings.

Video Conference Mute, switch your microphone and webcam


Video Conference Mute PowerToy provides you with generic (global) keyboard shortcuts to quickly mute the microphone and turn off the camera.They work with every Windows app, not just video conferencing tools like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Google Meet.

By default, you can press Windows+Shift+Q to mute the camera and microphone, Windows+Shift+A to mute the microphone only, or Windows+Shift+O to mute the camera.When you do this, a floating toolbar will appear reminding you that your inputs have been disabled using the video conference mute tool and giving you a quick way to re-enable them

Power Toys has a variety of settings that allow you to configure which microphones and webcams it disables, and change those keyboard shortcuts to anything else you like.

Awake, the quick way to stop your computer from going to sleep


Whether you're downloading files or performing other long-running tasks, sometimes you don't want your computer to go to sleep.You can go into Settings and tell Windows to never go to sleep, wait for the task to finish, then go back to Settings and change the settings back.Of course, it's cumbersome, and it's easy to forget to re-enable sleep mode.

PowerToysAwake gives you a quick notification area icon that lets you control sleep settings.You can keep your computer from going to sleep until you stop the setup.Alternatively, you can configure your PC to stay awake only until a predetermined time you set.

Color Picker, a fast system-wide color picker

People who work with graphics, from web designers to photographers and graphic artists, often have to identify a specific color and use it.That's why tools like Adobe Photoshop have a color picker (eye diagram) tool that lets you point your mouse cursor at a part of an image to identify exactly what color it is.

Color Picker is a reliable tool that can be used anywhere on the system.After enabling it in PowerToys, press Win+Shift+C to open it anywhere.You will see the color code in hex and RGB so you can use it in other programs.

Click once and the hex color code will be copied to the 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 instead when you click.

PowerToys Run, a fast application launcher


PowerToys Run is a text-based application launcher with a search function.Unlike the classic Windows Run dialog (Win+R), it has a search function.Unlike the Start menu's search box, it's all about launching stuff on your computer, not searching the web with Bing.

In addition to applications, PowerToys Run can quickly find files.It can even find and switch to open windows - just search for their window titles.

To open it, press Alt+Spacebar.This keyboard shortcut can be customized from the PowerToys Run pane in PowerToys Settings.

Start typing phrases to search for applications, files, and even open windows.Use the arrow keys to select an item in the list (or just keep typing to narrow it down), then press Enter to launch an application, open a file, or switch to a window.

PowerToys Run has a few other features, such as "Open as administrator" and "Open containing folder" buttons for each option in the list.In the future, it will have a plugin like a calculator.

Keyboard Manager, for remapping keyboard shortcuts


Keyboard Manager provides a simple interface for remapping single-key and multi-key shortcuts on your keyboard.

The Remap Keyboard tool lets you change individual keys to new ones.You can make any key on the keyboard act like any other key, including special function keys.For example, you can convert the unused caps lock key to a browser back key for easier web browsing.

The Remap Shortcuts panel lets you change multikey shortcuts to other shortcuts.For example, Win+E normally opens a File Explorer window.You can create a new keyboard shortcut Win+Space to open the File Explorer window.Your new keyboard shortcuts can overwrite existing keyboard shortcuts built into Windows 10.

PowerRename, a batch file renamer


Microsoft's PowerToys includes a batch renaming tool called "PowerRename".When this feature is enabled, you can right-click one or more files or folders in File Explorer and select "PowerRename" in the context menu to open them.

The "PowerRename" tool window will appear.You can quickly batch rename files using text boxes and checkboxes.For example, you can remove words from filenames, replace phrases, add numbers, change multiple file extensions at once, and more.You can even use regular expressions.Preview pane will help you fine-tune rename settings before renaming files

This utility is much simpler than most third-party bulk renaming tools available for Windows.

Image Resizer, batch image resizer


PowerToys offers a quick image resizer integrated with File Explorer.After enabling this feature, select one or more image files in File Explorer, right-click the files, and select "Resize Picture".

The Image Resize window will open.Next, you can choose the size of the image file, or enter a custom size in pixels.By default, the tool will create a resized copy of the selected image file, but you can also have it resize and replace the original.You can even click the Settings button and configure advanced options such as image encoder quality settings.

This tool is a quick way to resize one or more image files without opening a more complex application.

FancyZones, a zone-based window manager


FancyZones is a window manager that lets you create "zone" layouts for windows on your desktop. Windows usually allows you to "snap" windows in a 1x1 or 2x2 arrangement. FancyZones allows you to create more complex layouts.

By default, you can press Windows+' (this is a serious character, the key above the Tab key) to open the region editor.Then, while dragging and dropping the window, you can hold down the Shift key (or other mouse button, such as the right mouse button) to view the area.Drag and drop a window into an area and it will align with that layout on the screen.

FancyZones provides a quick way to set up complex window layouts without carefully resizing each window.Just drop the window into the area.You can configure all of its many options and keyboard shortcuts by opening the PowerToys settings window and clicking "FancyZones" in the sidebar.

Shortcut Guide, for Windows Shortcuts


Windows includes keyboard shortcuts that use the Windows key.For example, did you know that you can press Windows+E to open a File Explorer window, Windows+i to open the Settings window, or Windows+D to display the desktop?You can also press Windows+1 to activate the first application shortcut on the left side of the taskbar, Windows+2 to activate the second application shortcut, and so on.

The Windows Key Shortcuts Guide will help you learn and remember these shortcuts.With this feature enabled, you can press and hold the Windows key on your keyboard for about a second to see an overlay showing common shortcuts.Release the key to close the overlay.

File Explorer Add-ons, for more previews


File Explorer has a preview pane that displays 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 see a preview right away.

By enabling various File Explorer add-ons in PowerToys, Windows will be able to display previews of SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) images, Markdown-formatted documents, PDF documents, and G-code files (used by 3D printers).

What happened to Window Walker?


Window Walker is a text-based Alt+Tab alternative with search capabilities.To open it, press Ctrl+Win.You will see a text box appear.

Start typing a phrase to search for matching open windows.For example, if you have multiple Chrome browser windows open, you can type "Chrome" and see a list of those windows.Use the arrow keys to scroll through the windows and press Enter to select a window.

This tool can be very useful if you have a lot of windows open and are digging one window in particular.For example, if you have ten different browser windows open and you're looking for a window that displays a specific website, you can press Ctrl+Tab, start typing the website's name, and find the browser window that displays that website.










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