PowerToys is a free collection of utilities for Windows 10 users that aim to improve your operating system productivity.
PowerToys started with Windows 95, continued with Windows XP, and are now back as open source applications for Windows 10. They let you rename your files in bulk, resize images, get quick startups in applications, and more . Today we will show you how to download PowerToys and how to use the tools they offer.
What are PowerToys?
PowerToys is a free tool from Microsoft designed to improve the functionality of the Windows operating system.
PowerToys for Windows 95 was the first release and included 15 features, including:
- CDAutoPlay to use Auto play on CD without sound
- Desktop menu to open desktop items from the taskbar menu
- Quick res for a quick change of screen resolution
The second version of PowerToys was for Windows XP. Instead of being available in a single package, they were separate downloads for each application. Various gadgets stopped during the life of Windows XP, but there were a total of 20 items, such as:
- Alt-Tab Replacement Task Switcher which the previous window displayed when switching to Alt-Tab
- Power Calculator for complex and complex expressions
- Webcam Timershot to take photos with the webcam at specific intervals
Later, Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8 received no official support for PowerToys.
In September 2019, Microsoft released the first version PowerToys for Windows 10. These utilities are available in a single package. Although designed for experienced users, they can be used by anyone thanks to their easy display.
What do they include?
The PowerToys utilities for Windows 10 are:
- File Explorer Preview
- image Resizer
- Keyboard Manager
- PowerToys Run
- Shortcut Guide
We will explore each of them in detail below.
How to get PowerToys for Windows 10
PowerToys for Windows 10 is an open source project. Therefore, information about them can be found on the page PowerToys GitHub.
To download PowerToys, go to GitHub version page. There you will find all the occasional versions of the project, as the page is constantly updated.
The entry at the top will be the newest and will have a label "Latest Release". Look at the list of items for this entry and you will see a file with the name PowerToysSetup-0.19.1-x64.msi or similar.
Download and run this file to install PowerToys on your system. PowerToys also need the .NET Core 3.1 Desktop Runtime to run, but this is included in the installer.
What Windows 10 PowerToys is and how to use it
Once you have downloaded PowerToys, start them from the Start menu. To see their settings, find the icon on the taskbar and double-click it. The settings screen is very easy to use and looks like the rest of Windows 10.
At startup, you must switch so that it always works as an administrator (Always run as administrator), and then click Restart as Administrator (Restart as administrator).
Also enable Automatic Updates (Download updates automatically) so that you do not have to manually download new versions of GitHub.
By default, all tools are enabled. You can use the menu on the left to edit the settings for each tool and turn off the ones you do not need.
In Windows 10, clicking and dragging a window to the side or corner of the screen will resize it according to a basic grid layout.
With FancyZones, you can create complex layouts for resizing multiple windows.
Go to the FancyZones section in PowerToys and click on Launch Zones Editor. Here you can select the window layout from some defaults or click the Custom tab to create your own.
Then when you drag a window, hold down the Shift key to see the zones and drag your window into a section to resize it automatically.
You can edit many settings for FancyZones in PowerToys, including removing the Shift booking requirement, so familiarize yourself with them to take full advantage of this utility.
2. File Explorer Preview (File Explorer Preview)
File Explorer has a preview window so you can view the contents of certain file types without opening them, such as documents, spreadsheets, etc.
If you do not see the preview when you click on a file, go to the tab View (View) in File Explorer and click Preview panel (Preview Window) to enable it.
With PowerToys File Explorer preview, this functionality is now being extended to SVG image files and Markdown documents.
3. Image Resizer
Just open File Explorer and select the images you want to resize. Right-click and click Resize pictures (Resize images).
This opens a window where you can select the new image size, along with options such as the original size (instead of making copies) and ignore the image orientation. When you are ready, click Resize (Resize).
In PowerToys settings, you can edit the default size defaults and add your own. You can also change the encoding settings and how the resized images are named.
4. Keyboard Manager
With Keyboard Manager, you can create your own keyboard shortcuts or reconfigure existing ones. This is done through the PowerToys settings in the section Keyboard Manager (Keyboard Management).
For example, you could use unusual keys to control media playback or browser navigation. Alternatively, you could do something like change the shortcut Ctrl + C (which usually copies text).
There are two sections: Keyboard Reconstruction to assign a single key to another key, and Assign shortcuts to assign a shortcut to another shortcut.
Click Remap a key (Key rewording) or Remap a shortcut (Shortcut mapping). Click the plus icon to add a match. The left side is the existing key or shortcut, while the right side is the one you want to reassign. Use the trash can icon to clear any match. When done, click OK.
5. PowerRename (Bulk Rename)
It can be difficult for the average user to rename bulk files and folders in Windows 10, without the use of PowerShell. With the PowerRename utility, it is now very easy.
In File Explorer, select the files or folders you want to rename. Right click and click PowerRename.
A window will open where you can choose which term to look for and what to replace. There are also useful options, such as renaming funds, excluding folders, and more.
6. PowerToys Run (Quick start of applications)
PowerToys Run is a search tool for quickly launching applications, files and folders. You can also use it to jump to things you already have open.
By default, press Alt + Space to open it (you can adjust it in PowerToys settings). Then just start typing to find something on your computer. Use the Up and Down keys to move between results and Enter to start.
If desired, use the icons next to each result to Launch As Administrator (run it as Administrator) or Open containing folder (Open the folder).
7. Shortcut Guide
Windows 10 is full of useful shortcuts. With the Shortcut Wizard, you can hold down the Windows key to display a screen to remember them.
In PowerToys settings, you can change the click duration (900 ms by default), screen opacity, and color combination.
Become a Master of Windows 10
PowerToys are still in development. So over time, existing tools could be changed and new utilities added. Some of them may become part of the basic Windows 10 operating system.