PowerToys is a collection of free utilities for Windows 10 main users. The goal is to optimize the Windows experience to increase productivity. PowerToys was first launched for Windows 95 and then for Windows XP and is now available again as an open source project for Windows 10.
PowerToys lets you rename files in bulk, change batch-size images, launch applications quickly, and more. We'll show you how to download PowerToys and use the tools they contain.
What are PowerToys?
PowerToys are a set of free tools designed to improve the functionality of the Windows operating system.
PowerToys for Windows 95 was the first version and contained 15 components such as:
- CDAutoPlay to use AutoPlay on non-audio CDs
- Desktop menu Open desktop items from a system tray menu
- Quick resolution to quickly change the screen resolution
The second version of PowerToys was for Windows XP. Instead of being available in a single package, they were separate downloads. Various components were discontinued during their lifespan, but there were a total of 20 components, such as.
- Alt-Tab replacement task switcher to display the previous live window when you switch with Alt-Tab
- Power calculator for advanced and complex expressions
- Webcam timershot Take webcam pictures at specific intervals
Later operating systems such as Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8 did not receive official support for PowerToys.
In September 2019, Microsoft released the first version of PowerToys for Windows 10 to the public. These utilities are available in a single package. Although designed for power users, thanks to the simple user interface, they can be used by anyone.
The utilities included in PowerToys for Windows 10 are:
- Preview File Explorer
- Image resizer
- Keyboard manager
- PowerToys are running
- Linking instructions
We will examine these in more detail below.
How to get PowerToys for Windows 10
PowerToys for Windows 10 is an open source project. Information about the project can be found on the PowerToys GitHub page.
To download PowerToys, go to the GitHub versions page. All iterations of the project are listed here because it is constantly updated.
The entry above is the newest and has the tag "Latest Version". Check out the list of financial assets For this entry you will see a file with the name PowerToysSetup-0.18.2-x64.msi or similar
Download and run this file to install PowerToys for your system. PowerToys also requires .NET Core 3.1 Desktop Runtime to run, but this is included in the installer.
What are Windows 10 PowerToys and how are they used?
Once you've downloaded PowerToys, launch it from the Start menu. To view the settings, look for the icon in the taskbar and Double click it. The settings interface is very easy to use and looks like the rest of Windows 10.
The first time you start, you should switch Always run as administrator click on Restart as administrator.
Also switch over Download updates automatically (except for measured connections) to the on position so that you don't have to manually download new versions from GitHub.
By default, all tools are activated. Via the menu on the left you can edit the settings for each tool and deactivate those that are not required.
In Windows 10, when you click a window and drag it to the side or corner of the screen, it resizes according to a basic grid layout.
FancyZones allows you to create advanced layouts for resizing many windows.
In PowerToys, go to the FancyZones section and click Start the zone editor. Here you can select the window layout from some standard settings or click on Custom Tab to create your own.
Then hold down the key while dragging a window shift Press the button to view the zones and drag your window into a section to resize automatically.
You can edit many FancyZones settings in PowerToys, including the need to hold down the Shift key. Familiarize yourself with these settings to take full advantage of this utility.
2. Preview the file explorer
File Explorer has a preview window where you can view the contents of some file types such as documents and spreadsheets without opening them.
If you don't see this when you click a file, go to view In File Explorer, click and click Preview window to activate it.
With the File Explorer preview in PowerToys, this functionality is now extended to SVG image files and markdown documents.
3. Image Resizer
You can batch resize images on a Mac, and now you can do that on Windows 10 too.
Simply open File Explorer and select the images you want to resize. Right clickand click Resize images.
This will open a window where you can choose the new image size, along with options like resizing the original (instead of making copies) and ignoring the orientation of images. When you're done, click change size.
In the PowerToys settings, you can edit the default size presets and add your own. You can also change the encoding settings and the naming of the newly changed images.
4. Keyboard manager
With the keyboard manager you can create your own keyboard shortcuts or reassign existing ones. This is managed in the PowerToys settings under Keyboard manager Section.
For example, you can use unusual buttons to control media playback or browser navigation. Alternatively, you can change the link, for example Ctrl + C. (which usually copies text) to be pasted instead.
There are two sections: Reassign keyboard to assign a single key to another key, and Reassign links to map a link to another link.
click Reassign a key or Reassign a link. Press the Plus symbol to add a reallocation. The existing button or shortcut is on the left, and you want to reassign it on the right. Use the Trash icon to remove remapping. When you're done, click OK.
It can be difficult for the average user to rename files and folders in bulk in Windows 10 without using PowerShell. With the PowerRename utility, this is now a breeze.
In File Explorer, select the files or folders you want to rename. Right click and click PowerRename.
This will open a window where you can choose which term to use Search for and what about Replace with. There are also helpful options such as case-sensitive renaming, folder exclusion, just item expansion, and more.
6. PowerToys Run
PowerToys Run is a search tool for quickly launching applications, files and folders. You can also use it to go to open things.
By default, press Alt + spacebar to open it (you can adjust this in the PowerToys settings). Then just start typing to find something on your computer. Use the Above and Low Keys to switch between results and Enter start.
If you want, use the icons next to each result Start as administrator or Open parent folder.
7. Linking instructions
Windows 10 is full of helpful shortcuts
Windows Keyboard Shortcut 101: The Ultimate Guide
. With the Shortcut Guide you can hold the button down Windows key go to a screen to remember some.
In the PowerToys settings you can change the print duration (900 ms by default) as well as the opacity and the color scheme of the screen.
Become a Windows 10 master
PowerToys is still in active development, so existing tools are changing and new utilities may be added over time. Some of them may even become part of the standard Windows 10 operating system.
If you want to be the ultimate Windows 10 user, here are plenty of tips and tutorials for mastering Windows 10
Ultimate Windows PC mastery: over 70 tips, tricks and tutorials for everyone
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