Enhance Your Windows Experience with Microsoft PowerToys

Microsoft PowerToys is a free collection of tools that can help power users get the most out of their Windows experience.

With a variety of useful features, from window management to clipboard management, PowerToys has something for everyone.

How to install Microsoft PowerToys

To install Microsoft PowerToys:

  1. Go to the official Microsoft PowerToys website at
  2. Click on the ‘Install PowerToys’ button to go to the GitHub page
  3. Scroll down to ‘Active’
  4. And download the installer for your system, e.g. PowerToysSetup-0.65.0-x64.exe
  5. Install the software by following the instructions
  6. Once installed, Microsoft PowerToys will load automatically.

What can you do with Microsoft PowerToys?

Microsoft PowerToys has several tools to help you get the most out of Windows 10.

always on top

Always On Top improves your multitasking workflow by pinning an application window so it’s always on top, even when focus changes to another window.

To use – press windows + Control + you on your keyboard, then select a window to always be aware of all other windows.

Awake

Awake is a Windows tool designed to keep your PC awake on demand without having to manage your power settings.

This can be useful when running time-consuming tasks while also making sure your PC doesn’t go to sleep or turn off displays.

To use: open PowerTools settings and enable Awake.

color picker

Color Picker is a system-wide color picker tool for Windows that allows you to pick colors from any currently running application and automatically copies it in a configurable format to your clipboard.

To use – press windows + Change+ C. on your keyboard, then select a window to always be aware of all other windows.

FancyZones

FancyZones is a window manager that makes it easy to create complex window layouts and quickly place windows in those layouts.

To use – press Windows + Shift + ` on your keyboard and move the window to the desired position.

locksmith file

File Locksmith allows you to see which applications are using files or directories and allows you to finish your task.

Note that it only works if the app has a ‘lock’ on the file; some apps don’t do this, for example the Microsoft Photos app.

To use: Right-click the file in File Explorer and select ‘What is using this file?’

File Explorer Plugins

PowerToys features plugins for Windows File Explorer that will enable files such as Markdown (.md), PDF (.pdf), SVG (.svg), STL (.stl), G-code (.gcode) and developer files for be seen in the preview pane. It also introduces File Explorer thumbnail support for several of these file types.

Hosts File Editor

Hosts File Editor is a quick and easy utility for managing hosts files.

Allows you to add new hosts and disable existing hosts.

To use: open the PowerToys app, select ‘Hosts file editor’ and click on the ‘Launch hosts file editor’ button.

Change image size

Image Resizer is a Windows shell extension for bulk resizing of images.

To use: Right-click on one or more images in File Explorer and select ‘Resize images’

It comes with predefined sizes and basic options.

keyboard manager

Keyboard Manager allows you to customize the keyboard to make you more productive by remapping keys and creating your own keyboard shortcuts.

mouse utilities

A collection of utilities to improve your mouse.

It includes:

  • find my mouse shake the mouse or press the left Ctrl key twice to focus the mouse pointer.
  • mouse highlighter – Use a keyboard shortcut to highlight left and right mouse clicks.
  • mouse pointer crosshair – Draw crosshairs centered around the mouse pointer.

PowerRename

PowerRename allows you to perform simple bulk renames, searches and replaces of file names.

It has some basic settings for customizing filenames, including regular expressions, text replacement, case (eg, case), and changing file extensions.

To use: Right-click on one or more files and select ‘PowerRename’.

Power Toys Race

PowerToys Run is a fast launcher for advanced users that packs some extra features without sacrificing performance.

To use: press the button Alt + Space keys on your keyboard. A search box will appear in the middle of the active window.

fast accent

Quick Accent is an easy way to type letters with accents, just like on a smartphone.

To use: Please enable the feature in PowerToys and set the hotkey.

When you hold down the letter, for example, “a” and the hotkey, an onscreen keyboard appears with a selection of similar letters with accents.

screen ruler

Screen Ruler is a quick and easy way to measure pixels on your screen.

It measures in pixels, using four different modes:

  • Limits
  • Spacing
  • horizontal spacing
  • vertical spacing

To use: press the button Windows + Shift + M keys on your keyboard. The ruler will appear and can be controlled with the mouse.

Shortcut Guide

The Shortcuts Guide presents the user with a list of available shortcuts for the current state of the desktop.

To use: press the button Windows + Shift + / keys on your keyboard. The shortcut guide will be displayed at the top of your active screen.

Text Extractor works like Snipping Tool, but copies the text from the selected region using OCR and places it on the clipboard.

To use: press the button Windows + Shift + T keys on your keyboard. Then select the text on the screen for OCR, then paste (Ctrl+V) the text on your clipboard.

video conference mute

Video Conference Mute allows users to quickly mute the microphone and turn off the camera during a conference call with the press of a key, regardless of which application has focus on their computer.

To use: press the keys on your keyboard

  • Windows + Shift + Q to toggle both the microphone and the camera
  • Windows + Shift + A to toggle your microphone
  • Windows + Shift + O to toggle your camera

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