Windows PowerToys: A cheat sheet


Cubes with Microsoft Windows 11 logo. Image: PhotoGranary/Adobe Stock No matter the number of features Microsoft crams into its Windows 10 os, there will constantly be users searching for a quicker, much better or– at least– different method of doing things. The iteration of an os, no matter how well it works, is simply part of human nature, and it can not be reduced. So, why not welcome it?

SEE: Microsoft Universal Windows Platform Specialist Bundle (TechRepublic Academy)

Must-read Windows protection

Microsoft’s recommendation of this force of humanity is the Windows PowerToys download. (With the general release of Microsoft Windows 11, designers are now referring to this job as Windows PowerToys rather than Windows 10 PowerToys.) A set of slightly uncommon totally free Windows tools has actually belonged of the Windows os landscape considering that Windows 95, but their availability was noticeably absent for Windows 10 and Windows 11– at least till September 2019.

In 2019, Microsoft partnered with Janea Systems and launched the first two PowerToys for Windows 10, accompanied by a promise of more releases in the future. This TechRepublic cheat sheet explains each offered tool or function provided by Microsoft’s main Windows PowerToys and explains what each system energy can do.

Dive to:

SEE: 20 pro pointers to make Windows 10 work the method you desire (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

When was Windows PowerToys initially provided?

The very first set of Windows PowerToys were very first made available for Windows 95. That very first set of 15 totally free utilities were published and backed by Microsoft and made available in a totally free download.

From the start, PowerToys were created for “power users” who were looking for methods to fine-tune how the operating system functions. In many cases, inexperienced users had the ability to make a negligent change while utilizing a PowerToys energy, which could create chaos within the Windows operating system; as such, newbie users have actually often been encouraged to use caution.

For the a lot of part, however, PowerToys have enabled users– whether they considered themselves power users or not– to more easily make tweaks to the look and feel of Windows without a deep dive into configuration screens or the feared and harmful edit of the Windows registry file.

Even in the earliest versions of PowerToys, Microsoft offered users lots of important performances. Windows 95 PowerToys consisted of the following:

  • TweakUI was utilized for tweaking odd Windows settings.
  • CD Autoplay allowed all CDs to autoplay, not just audio CDs.
  • Command Prompt Here opened a command prompt in the present directory site.
  • Explore from Here opened File Explorer in the present directory.
  • FlexiCD enabled users to control audio CDs from the Taskbar.
  • Xmouse 1.2 permitted users to alter window focus by moving the mouse cursor, no click required.

Through the years and numerous Windows versions, private PowerToys have actually reoccured. Each Windows version inspired a new set of tools based upon what designers perceived was needed to improve and improve that variation. Windows 10 motivated an entirely brand-new set of PowerToys.

Additional resources for Windows users

How can I get Windows PowerToys?

Typically, each of the Windows PowerToys has been used as a different executable file, readily available as a complimentary download from a specific Microsoft website.

For Windows 10 and Windows 11, Microsoft has taken a slightly various method. All Windows 10 PowerToys are now included as part of a free downloadable system that users can set up. Figure A reveals you what the Windows PowerToys system looks like.

Figure A

What the Windows PowerToys system looks like. Image: Mark Kaelin/TechRepublic Windows PowerToys Version 0.64.0 is available on GitHub right now. Release v0.64.0 includes bug fixes and quality of life features based on user and advancement community feedback, in addition to 2 brand-new tools. Variation 0.64.0 includes File Locksmith and Hosts File Editor to the list of offered tools.

These PowerToys are currently available:

SEE: All of TechRepublic’s cheat sheets and smart person’s guides

What can Windows PowerToys do?

Here is a list of available Windows PowerToys with a quick description of what each toy does:


FancyZones allows users to handle where and how each separate application window that is open on a Windows desktop will show.

For instance, you might utilize FancyZones to set up a Windows 10 desktop where Outlook always shows on the right-hand side of the desktop, Twitter or other social media always displays on the left-hand side of the desktop, and Word or Excel always displays in the center between the other two. There would be 3 distinct and perpetual zones showed at all times. Figure B demonstrates how you pick that configuration.

Figure B

FancyZones. Image: Mark Kaelin/TechRepublic

Windows essential Faster way Guide The Windows key Shortcut Guide screens all of the offered keyboard shortcuts for the present Windows desktop(Figure C). This PowerToy is triggered by holding the Windows key down for the length of time defined in the tool’s configuration settings. The default is 900ms. With this function, users do not have to remember many Windows key-related shortcut combinations. Figure C Image: Mark Kaelin/TechRepublic PowerRename The PowerRename Windows PowerToy offers users with sophisticated tools for bulk renaming of files. The toy extends the

Windows Shell Context Menu to add an entry for PowerRename to File Explorer (Figure D). With PowerRename allowed, simple search and replace or more effective regular expression matching are added to your toolset for the bulk renaming process. A preview area is shown as you perform search and replace procedures so users can see how file names will change prior to initiating the action. Figure D Image: Mark Kaelin/TechRepublic Sneak peek Pane addons for File Explorer This Windows PowerToy expands on the Preview Pane function already offered in the standard File Explorer application by including additional file types. Preview Pane allows users to sneak peek the contents of

a file after clicking it in File

Explorer without actually opening the file(Figure E ). Version 0.16.0 includes sneak peek support for Scalable Vector Graphics(. svg)and Markdown(. md)files. Additional file types remain in development. Figure E Image: Mark Kaelin/TechRepublic Image Resizer The

Image Resizer Preview Pane addons for File Explorer.Windows PowerToy includes more functionality to File Explorer by enabling users to use bulk image resizing. Users can pick images in File Explorer and after that select the new Resize Pictures product on the context menu (Figure F), exposed with a right-click on any image. Figure F Image: Mark Kaelin/TechRepublic Windows Walker The Windows Walker Windows PowerToy is developed to be an alternative to the basic Alt-Tab feature in Windows 10 and

Windows 11. Users push the CTRL-Windows essential combination instead of Alt-Tab to pull up a search box( Figure G). The user then gets in keywords into the search box to narrow down the presently open apps and screens on their desktop. Figure G< img src= "" alt ="Windows Walker.

“width=”770″height=”297″/ > Image: Mark Kaelin/TechRepublic PowerToys Run PowerToys Run function as a quick launcher in Windows. It is another extension of the ALT-Tab concept and use the Windows

file indexing system

. To activate the tool, use the keyboard mix ALT-Space and start typing the name of your wanted application( Figure H). PowerToys Run will browse the system and start noting possible applications based upon your search expression. When the application you desire appears

, click or tap to run. Figure H Image: Mark Kaelin/TechRepublic Keyboard Manager The Keyboard Manager application in Windows PowerToys is an easy keyboard re-mapper. Run the application from the PowerToys menu

(Figure I )and either remap a single key on your keyboard or remap a faster way keyboard mix. Whatever you remap will stay active as long as Keyboard Manager

is allowed and PowerToys is running in the background. Figure I Image: Mark Kaelin/TechRepublic Color Picker Color Picker was added to the Windows PowerToys

task by Martin Chrzan. The utility enables you to determine any color on your screen by either its HEX or RGB code and then conserve that info to the Windows clipboard for later usage (Figure J). It is a simple tool, but it can conserve time and prevent disappointment for

developers and content creators dealing with color style. Figure J Image: Mark Kaelin/TechRepublic Video Conference Mute As a variety of companies shifted to remote work structures throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, much of us now rely on video teleconferencing for work

Color Picker.and school interactions and collaboration. The Video Conference

Mute tool in Windows PowerToys (Figure K) allows you to silence the audio and video on your PC with a single key combination. You may silence both audio and video at the very same time or independently. The exact same crucial combination will toggle the audio and video back to the on position. The Video Conference Mute tool works no matter what app you are using or what app is presently in the foreground. Figure K< img src="" alt ="Video Conference Mute. "width=" 770 "height="578 "/ > Image: Mark Kaelin/TechRepublic Awake The Windows PowerToys tool Awake was contributed to the PowerToys project by the neighborhood with attribution given to Den Delimarsky. Awake enables users

to keep their Video Conference awake on-demand without needing to manage its

power settings. The easy configuration screen for Awake is shown in Figure L. Figure L Image: Mark Kaelin/TechRepublic Mouse energies Mouse energies was contributed to the Windows PowerToys job by Raymond Chen. Mouse energies is a collection of features that improve the mouse and cursor functionality on Windows systems. With two consecutive presses of the Left CTRL key, Discover My Mouse will find your

mouse cursor and highlight its present position with a halo(Figure M). Pushing the Esc key will dismiss the highlight. The Find My Mouse function works for presentations on large displays when you want to draw the audience’s attention to a specific location of the screen. Figure M Image: Mark Kaelin/TechRepublic Always on Top Constantly on the top enables users to designate the application window currently in focus as”always on top” with a keyboard shortcut toggle( Figure N). Despite what commands, mouse clicks or other inputs

are made from that point on, the designated window will remain at the forefront, superseding any other open windows up until Always on Top is toggled off. The default keyboard faster way for the Always on Top toggle is Windows Key+CTRL+T. Figure N Image: Mark Kaelin/TechRepublic Screen Ruler The Windows PowerToys energy, Screen Ruler, shown in Figure O

, is a fast and simple method to determine the pixels represented on your display screen. The tool is perfect for figuring out the pixel size of a possible screen capture or for lining up things in a document. Figure O Image: Mark Kaelin/TechRepublic Quick Accent Quick Accent, displayed in Figure P, is an alternative method to type accented characters, which is useful for when a

keyboard does

n’t support that specific accent with a fast essential combo. Use this energy to develop accented characters, particularly for writing in languages besides English. Figure P< img src=""alt="Wuick Accent."width="770"height="500"/ > Image: Mark Kaelin/TechRepublic Text Extractor The Windows PowerToys utility, Text Extractor, shown in Figure Q, is a convenient way to copy text from anywhere on your screen

. This code is

based on Joe Finney’s Text Get. Text Extractor uses optical character recognition to read the text on the screen, so it may require modifying or proofreading. Figure Q Image: Mark Kaelin/TechRepublic File Locksmith Professional The Windows PowerToys energy, File Locksmith, shown in Figure R, is a Windows shell extension for checking what files are in use and by which

procedures. After setting up, right-click on one or more chosen files in File Explorer, and then select” What’s using this file?”from the context menu. Figure R Image: Mark Kaelin/TechRepublic Hosts File Editor The Window PowerToys utility, Hosts File Editor, shown in Figure S, is a fast and simple energy for modifying a regional hosts file. Note, the application will only work if a hosts file exists. Figure S Image: Mark Kaelin/TechRepublic Are more Windows PowerToys coming quickly? New Windows PowerToys are periodically contributed to the Windows library to resolve new user expectations and requirements. As brand-new PowerToys are released, this list of available tools will be upgraded to reflect that expansion. Additional resources Why are Windows PowerToys crucial? Windows PowerToys supply tools and functions that can make users of the Windows os more productive and, by extension, better. For many years, many users have pertained to depend upon several of these PowerToys for their everyday computer system efficiency. For many power users, PowerToys improve their quality of work and life. SEE: Microsoft Workplace Expert for Windows: Life Time

License (

Hosts File Editor.TechRepublic Academy)Beyond making

users more productive, PowerToys have actually likewise offered a glance into what functions and tools could(and ought to) end up being an essential part of the Windows operating system in the future. Much of these once-separate tools have ended up being simply another part of the os during its next iteration.

Check out next: Get Microsoft Office for Windows and discover how to use it(TechRepublic)Extra resources Editor’s note: This article was upgraded to reflect the most recent variation of Windows PowerToys. Source

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *