Microsoft Reboots the PowerToys for Windows 10

Posted on May 8, 2019 by Paul Thurrott in Windows 10 with 24 Comments

Microsoft is rebooting the PowerToys, a set of system utilities that debuted alongside Windows 95, as open source projects on GitHub.

“Inspired by the Windows 95-era PowerToys project, this reboot provides power users with ways to squeeze more efficiency out of the Windows 10 shell and customize it for individual workflows,” Microsoft’s GitHub repository notes. “The first preview of these utilities and corresponding source code will be released Summer 2019.”

Microsoft released a set of PowerToys with each Windows release starting with Windows 95, and by the release of Windows XP in 2001, it ballooned into a truly-useful collection. Key among the PowerToys was TweakUI, a small app that let you configure hundreds of aspects of the Windows UI in ways that were difficult or impossible otherwise.

TweakUI is not coming back. Indeed, neither of the first two new PowerToys utilities that Microsoft is highlighting bear any resemblance to past PowerToys. But the point here, of course, is to provide an updated and modern take on PowerToys. And these new PowerToys work as did their predecessors by providing useful functionality that is not present in the core product.

They are:

Maximize to new desktop widget. This widget shows a pop-up button when a user hovers over the Maximize/Restore button in any window. Clicking it creates a new virtual desktop, sends the app to that desktop, and maximizes the app on the new desktop.

Windows key shortcut guide. This handy, full-screen guide appears when you hold the Windows key down for more than one second and displays the available Windows key shortcuts for the current state of the desktop.

Microsoft is considering add other utilities too, including a full window manager with specific layouts for docking and undocking laptops, a keyboard shortcut manager, a WINKEY+R replacement, a better ALT + TAB experience with browser tab integration and search for running apps, a battery tracker, a batch file renamer, a quick resolution swapper, mouse events without focus, CMD (or PS or Bash) from here, and a contents menu file browsing utility. If you remember the old PowerToys, you’ll see that some of these are modern takes on classic PowerToys utilities.

Thanks to Neowin for the tip.

I have a lot of PowerToys information from the past. I will dig that up when I get home from Build.

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