Windows 10 PowerToys: A cheat sheet

2 weeks ago 12
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Users are ever searching for ways to marque their computing lives better--the Windows 10 PowerToys are made specifically for this purpose.

No substance however galore features Microsoft crams into its Windows 10 operating system, determination volition ever beryllium users looking for a faster, better, oregon astatine the precise least, antithetic mode of doing things. The iteration of an operating strategy (no substance however good it works) is conscionable portion of quality quality and it cannot beryllium suppressed, so, wherefore not clasp it?

Microsoft's acknowledgement of this unit of quality quality is the Windows 10 PowerToys download. A acceptable of somewhat antithetic escaped Windows tools has been a portion of the Windows operating strategy scenery since Windows 95, but their availability has been noticeably absent for Windows 10—at slightest until September 2019.

In 2019, Microsoft, successful concern with improvement institution Janea Systems, released the archetypal 2 PowerToys for Windows 10, accompanied by a committedness of much releases successful the adjacent future. This TechRepublic cheat expanse describes each disposable instrumentality oregon diagnostic provided by Microsoft's authoritative Windows 10 PowerToys. Note: This nonfiction is besides disposable arsenic a download--Cheat sheet: Windows 10 PowerToys (free PDF).

SEE: 20 pro tips to marque Windows 10 enactment the mode you privation (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

When was Windows PowerToys archetypal available?

The archetypal acceptable of Windows PowerToys were made disposable for Windows 95. That archetypal acceptable of 15 escaped utilities were published and endorsed by Microsoft and made disposable successful a escaped download.

From the beginning, PowerToys were designed to beryllium utilized by "power users" seeking ways to tweak the mode the operating strategy functions. In immoderate cases, a careless alteration made utilizing a PowerToys inferior by an inexperienced idiosyncratic could origin havoc with the Windows operating system, truthful novice users were encouraged to usage caution.

For the astir part, though, PowerToys would let users, whether they considered themselves "power" oregon not, to much easy marque tweaks to the look and consciousness of Windows without a heavy dive into configuration screens oregon the dreaded and unsafe edit of the Windows Registry file. Windows 95 PowerToys included:

  • TweakUI was utilized for tweaking obscure Windows settings.
  • CD Autoplay allowed each CDs to autoplay, not conscionable audio CDs.
  • Command Prompt Here opened a bid punctual successful the existent directory.
  • Explore from Here opened File Explorer successful the existent directory.
  • FlexiCD allowed a idiosyncratic to power an audio CD from the Taskbar.
  • Xmouse 1.2 allowed a idiosyncratic to alteration model absorption by moving the rodent cursor, nary click needed.

Through the years and the assorted Windows versions, idiosyncratic PowerToys person travel and gone. Each caller Windows mentation inspired a caller acceptable of tools based connected what developers perceived was needed to amended and heighten that version. Windows 10 has inspired a wholly caller acceptable of PowerToys.

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How tin I get Windows 10 PowerToys?

Traditionally, each powerfulness artifact has been offered arsenic a abstracted executable file, disposable arsenic a escaped download from a circumstantial Microsoft website. For Windows 10, Microsoft is taking a somewhat antithetic approach: All Windows 10 PowerToys are present included arsenic portion of a escaped downloadable strategy that users tin configure. Figure A shows you what the Windows 10 PowerToys strategy looks like.

Figure A


The primary Windows 10 PowerToys Version 0.41.3 is disposable connected GitHub close now. Release v0.41.3 focuses connected adding stableness updates and optimizations, wide bug fixes and accessibility improvements, and besides supporting the integration of the caller community-led project, Awake. The caller Awake instrumentality allows Power-Users to support their machine awake connected demand.

These PowerToys are presently available:

  • FancyZones
  • Windows cardinal Shortcut Guide
  • PowerRename
  • Preview Pane addons for File Explorer
  • Image resizer
  • Window walker
  • PowerToys Run
  • Keyboard Manager
  • Color Picker
  • Video Conference Mute 
  • Awake

SEE: All of TechRepublic's cheat sheets and astute person's guides

What tin Windows 10 PowerToys do?

Here is simply a database of disposable Windows 10 PowerToys with a little statement of what each artifact does.


FancyZones allows users to negociate wherever and however each abstracted exertion model unfastened connected a Windows 10 desktop volition display.

For example, you could usage FancyZones to acceptable up a Windows 10 desktop wherever Outlook ever displays connected the right-hand broadside of the desktop, Twitter oregon different societal media ever displays connected the left-hand broadside of the desktop, and Word oregon Excel ever displays successful the mediate betwixt the different two. There would beryllium 3 chiseled and perpetual zones displayed astatine each times. Figure B shows however you prime that configuration.

Figure B


Figure B

Windows cardinal Shortcut Guide

The Windows cardinal Shortcut Guide volition show each of the disposable keyboard shortcuts for the existent Windows 10 desktop (Figure C). This PowerToy is activated by holding the Windows cardinal down for the magnitude of clip specified successful the tool's configuration settings. The default is 900ms. Now users won't person to retrieve each those Windows key-related shortcut combinations.

Figure C


Figure C


The PowerRename Windows 10 PowerToy provides users with precocious tools for bulk renaming of record names. The artifact extends the Windows Shell Context Menu to adhd an introduction for PowerRename to File Explorer (Figure D). With PowerRename enabled, elemental hunt and regenerate oregon much almighty regular look matching to the bulk renaming process are added to your toolset. A preview country is displayed arsenic you execute hunt and regenerate procedures truthful users tin spot however record names volition alteration earlier initiating the action.

Figure D


Preview Pane addons for File Explorer

This Windows 10 PowerToy expands connected the Preview Pane diagnostic already disposable successful the modular File Explorer exertion by adding further record types. Preview Pane allows users to preview the contents of a record aft clicking it successful File Explorer without really opening the file, arsenic shown in Figure E. Version 0.16.0 adds preview enactment for Scalable Vector Graphics (.svg) and Markdown (.md) files. Additional record types are successful development.

Figure E


Image Resizer

The Image Resizer Windows 10 PowerToy adds further functionality to File Explorer by allowing users to use bulk representation resizing. Users prime images successful File Explorer and past prime the new Resize pictures item connected the discourse paper (Figure F), revealed with a right-click connected immoderate image.

Figure F


Windows Walker

The Windows Walker Windows 10 PowerToy is designed to beryllium an alternate to the modular Alt-Tab diagnostic of Windows 10. Users property the CTRL-Windows cardinal operation alternatively of Alt-Tab to propulsion up a hunt container (Figure G). A idiosyncratic enters keywords into the hunt container to constrictive down the presently unfastened apps and screens connected their desktop.

Figure G


PowerToys Run

PowerToys Run acts arsenic a speedy launcher successful Windows 10. It is different hold of the ALT-Tab conception and taps into the Windows 10 record indexing system. To activate the tool, usage the keyboard operation ALT-Space and commencement typing the sanction of your desired application, arsenic shown in Figure H. PowerToys Run volition hunt the strategy and commencement listing imaginable applications based connected your hunt phrase. When the exertion you tendency appears, click oregon pat to run.

Figure H


Keyboard Manager

The Keyboard Manager exertion successful Windows 10 PowerToys is simply a elemental keyboard re-mapper. Run the exertion from the PowerToys paper (Figure I) and either remap a azygous cardinal connected your keyboard oregon remap a shortcut keyboard combination. Whatever you remap volition stay progressive arsenic agelong arsenic Keyboard Manager is enabled and PowerToys is moving successful the background.

Figure I


Color Picker

Color Picker was contributed to the Windows 10 PowerToys task by Martin Chrzan. The inferior allows you to place immoderate colour connected your surface by either its HEX oregon RGB codification and past prevention that accusation to the Windows 10 clipboard for aboriginal usage (Figure J). It is simply a elemental tool, but it tin prevention clip and forestall vexation for developers and contented creators moving connected colour design.

Figure J


Video Conference Mute

Because of COVID-19 wellness and information precautions, galore of america are relying connected video teleconferencing for enactment and schoolhouse interactions and collaboration. The Video Conference Mute instrumentality successful Windows 10 PowerToys (Figure K) allows you to mute the audio and video connected your PC with a azygous cardinal combination. You whitethorn mute some audio and video astatine the aforesaid clip oregon independently. The aforesaid cardinal operation volition toggle the audio and video backmost to the connected position. The Video Conference Mute instrumentality works careless of what app you are utilizing oregon what app is presently successful the foreground.

Figure K



The Windows 10 PowerToys instrumentality Awake was contributed to the PowerToys task by the assemblage with attribution fixed to Den Delimarsky. Awake allows users to support their machine awake on-demand without having to negociate its powerfulness settings. The elemental configuration surface for Awake is shown in Figure L.

Figure L


New Windows 10 PowerToys volition beryllium added to the database of disposable tools periodically.

Additional resources

Why are Windows 10 PowerToys important?

Windows 10 PowerToys supply tools and features that tin marque users of the Windows operating strategy much productive and, by extension, happier. Over the years, galore users person travel to beryllium connected 1 oregon much of these PowerToys for their regular machine productivity. For galore powerfulness users, PowerToys amended their prime of life.

Beyond making users much productive, PowerToys person besides provided a glimpse of what features and tools could go an integral portion of the Windows operating strategy successful the future. Many of these erstwhile abstracted tools person go conscionable different portion of the operating strategy during its adjacent iteration.

Additional resources

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Editor's note: This nonfiction was updated to bespeak the latest mentation of Windows 10 PowerToys.

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