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HomeTechnologyWindows PowerToys: A Cheat Sheet

Windows PowerToys: A Cheat Sheet

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Cubes with Microsoft Windows 11 logo.
Picture: PhotoGranary/Adobe Inventory

Irrespective of what number of options Microsoft crams into its Windows 10 operating system, there’ll all the time be customers in search of a quicker, higher or — on the very least — completely different means of doing issues. The iteration of an working system, regardless of how effectively it really works, is simply a part of human nature, and it can’t be suppressed. So, why not embrace it?

SEE: Microsoft Universal Windows Platform Expert Bundle (TechRepublic Academy)

Microsoft’s acknowledgment of this drive of human nature is the Windows PowerToys obtain. (With the final launch of Microsoft Windows 11, builders are actually referring to this venture as Home windows PowerToys moderately than Home windows 10 PowerToys.) A set of barely uncommon free Home windows instruments has been part of the Home windows working system panorama since Home windows 95, however their availability was noticeably absent for Home windows 10 and Home windows 11 — a minimum of till September 2019.

In 2019, Microsoft partnered with Janea Programs and launched the primary two PowerToys for Home windows 10, accompanied by a promise of extra releases within the close to future. This TechRepublic cheat sheet describes every accessible software or function offered by Microsoft’s official Home windows PowerToys and describes what every system utility can do.

Bounce to:

SEE: 20 pro tips to make Windows 10 work the way you want (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

When was Home windows PowerToys first made accessible?

The primary set of Home windows PowerToys have been first made accessible for Home windows 95. That first set of 15 free utilities have been revealed and endorsed by Microsoft and made accessible in a free obtain.

From the start, PowerToys have been designed for “energy customers” who have been looking for methods to tweak how the working system features. In some circumstances, inexperienced customers have been capable of make a careless change whereas utilizing a PowerToys utility, which might wreak havoc inside the Home windows working system; as such, novice customers have typically been inspired to make use of warning.

For essentially the most half, although, PowerToys have allowed customers — whether or not they thought-about themselves energy customers or not — to extra simply make tweaks to the feel and appear of Home windows and not using a deep dive into configuration screens or the dreaded and harmful edit of the Home windows Registry file.

Even within the earliest iterations of PowerToys, Microsoft supplied customers many invaluable functionalities. Home windows 95 PowerToys included the next:

  • TweakUI was used for tweaking obscure Home windows settings.
  • CD Autoplay allowed all CDs to autoplay, not simply audio CDs.
  • Command Immediate Right here opened a command immediate within the present listing.
  • Discover from Right here opened File Explorer within the present listing.
  • FlexiCD allowed customers to regulate audio CDs from the Taskbar.
  • Xmouse 1.2 allowed customers to alter window focus by shifting the mouse cursor, no click on wanted.

By the years and numerous Home windows variations, particular person PowerToys have come and gone. Every Home windows model impressed a brand new set of instruments based mostly on what builders perceived was wanted to enhance and improve that model. Home windows 10 impressed a totally new set of PowerToys.

Further assets for Home windows customers

How can I get Home windows PowerToys?

Historically, every of the Home windows PowerToys has been supplied as a separate executable file, accessible as a free obtain from a selected Microsoft web site.

For Home windows 10 and Home windows 11, Microsoft has taken a barely completely different strategy. All Home windows 10 PowerToys are actually included as a part of a free downloadable system that customers can configure. Determine A exhibits you what the Home windows PowerToys system appears to be like like.

Determine A

What the Windows PowerToys system looks like.
Picture: Mark Kaelin/TechRepublic

Windows PowerToys Version 0.64.0 is offered on GitHub proper now. Launch v0.64.0 consists of bug fixes and high quality of life options based mostly on consumer and improvement group suggestions, in addition to two new instruments. Model 0.64.0 provides File Locksmith and Hosts File Editor to the listing of obtainable instruments.

These PowerToys are presently accessible:

SEE: All of TechRepublic’s cheat sheets and smart person’s guides

What can Home windows PowerToys do?

Here’s a listing of obtainable Home windows PowerToys with a quick description of what every toy does:


FancyZones permits customers to handle the place and the way every separate software window that’s open on a Home windows desktop will show.

For instance, you could possibly use FancyZones to arrange a Home windows 10 desktop the place Outlook all the time shows on the right-hand facet of the desktop, Twitter or different social media all the time shows on the left-hand facet of the desktop, and Phrase or Excel all the time shows within the center between the opposite two. There can be three distinct and perpetual zones displayed always. Determine B exhibits how you choose that configuration.

Determine B

Picture: Mark Kaelin/TechRepublic

Home windows key Shortcut Information

The Windows key Shortcut Guide shows all the accessible keyboard shortcuts for the present Home windows desktop (Determine C). This PowerToy is activated by holding the Home windows key down for the size of time specified within the software’s configuration settings. The default is 900ms.

With this function, customers don’t have to recollect so many Home windows key-related shortcut mixtures.

Determine C

Windows key Shortcut Guide.
Picture: Mark Kaelin/TechRepublic


The PowerRename Home windows PowerToy offers customers with superior instruments for bulk renaming of information. The toy extends the Home windows Shell Context Menu so as to add an entry for PowerRename to File Explorer (Determine D).

With PowerRename enabled, easy search and substitute or extra highly effective common expression matching are added to your toolset for the majority renaming course of. A preview space is displayed as you carry out search and substitute procedures so customers can see how file names will change earlier than initiating the motion.

Determine D

Picture: Mark Kaelin/TechRepublic

Preview Pane addons for File Explorer

This Home windows PowerToy expands on the Preview Pane function already accessible in the usual File Explorer software by including further file sorts. Preview Pane permits customers to preview the contents of a file after clicking it in File Explorer with out really opening the file (Determine E).

Model 0.16.0 provides preview help for Scalable Vector Graphics (.svg) and Markdown (.md) information. Further file sorts are in improvement.

Determine E

Preview Pane addons for File Explorer.
Picture: Mark Kaelin/TechRepublic

Picture Resizer

The Picture Resizer Home windows PowerToy provides extra performance to File Explorer by permitting customers to use bulk picture resizing. Customers can choose photos in File Explorer after which choose the brand new Resize Footage merchandise on the context menu (Determine F), revealed with a right-click on any picture.

Determine F

Image Resizer.
Picture: Mark Kaelin/TechRepublic

Home windows Walker

The Home windows Walker Home windows PowerToy is designed to be an alternative choice to the usual Alt-Tab function in Home windows 10 and Home windows 11. Customers press the CTRL-Home windows key mixture as a substitute of Alt-Tab to tug up a search field (Determine G). The consumer then enters key phrases into the search field to slender down the presently open apps and screens on their desktop.

Determine G

Windows Walker.
Picture: Mark Kaelin/TechRepublic

PowerToys Run

PowerToys Run acts as a fast launcher in Home windows. It’s one other extension of the ALT-Tab idea and faucets into the Home windows file indexing system. To activate the software, use the keyboard mixture ALT-Area and begin typing the identify of your required software (Determine H).

PowerToys Run will search the system and begin itemizing doable purposes based mostly in your search phrase. When the applying you want seems, click on or faucet to run.

Determine H

PowerToys Run.
Picture: Mark Kaelin/TechRepublic

Keyboard Supervisor

The Keyboard Manager software in Home windows PowerToys is a straightforward keyboard re-mapper. Run the applying from the PowerToys menu (Determine I) and both remap a single key in your keyboard or remap a shortcut keyboard mixture. No matter you remap will stay lively so long as Keyboard Supervisor is enabled and PowerToys is working within the background.

Determine I

Keyboard Manager.
Picture: Mark Kaelin/TechRepublic

Shade Picker

Color Picker was contributed to the Home windows PowerToys venture by Martin Chrzan. The utility lets you establish any shade in your display screen by both its HEX or RGB code after which save that data to the Home windows clipboard for later use (Determine J). It’s a easy software, however it might save time and stop frustration for builders and content material creators engaged on shade design.

Determine J

Color Picker.
Picture: Mark Kaelin/TechRepublic

Video Convention Mute

As a variety of organizations shifted to distant work constructions through the COVID-19 pandemic, many people now depend on video teleconferencing for work and faculty interactions and collaboration. The Video Conference Mute tool in Windows PowerToys (Determine Okay) lets you mute the audio and video in your PC with a single key mixture.

It’s possible you’ll mute each audio and video on the identical time or independently. The identical key mixture will toggle the audio and video again to the on place. The Video Convention Mute software works no matter what app you’re utilizing or what app is presently within the foreground.

Determine Okay

Video Conference Mute.
Picture: Mark Kaelin/TechRepublic


The Home windows PowerToys software Awake was contributed to the PowerToys venture by the group with attribution given to Den Delimarsky. Awake permits customers to maintain their pc awake on-demand with out having to handle its energy settings. The easy configuration display screen for Awake is proven in Determine L.

Determine L

Awake tool.
Picture: Mark Kaelin/TechRepublic

Mouse utilities

Mouse utilities was contributed to the Home windows PowerToys venture by Raymond Chen. Mouse utilities is a group of options that improve the mouse and cursor performance on Home windows techniques.

With two consecutive presses of the Left CTRL key, Discover My Mouse will find your mouse cursor and spotlight its present place with a halo (Determine M). Urgent the Esc key will dismiss the spotlight. The Discover My Mouse function is helpful for displays on giant shows whenever you need to draw the viewers’s consideration to a selected space of the display screen.

Determine M

Mouse utilities.
Picture: Mark Kaelin/TechRepublic

At all times on High

Always on Top permits customers to designate the applying window presently in focus as “all the time on prime” with a keyboard shortcut toggle (Determine N).

No matter what instructions, mouse clicks or different inputs are made out of that time on, the designated window will stay on the forefront, superseding another open home windows till At all times on High is toggled off. The default keyboard shortcut for the At all times on High toggle is Home windows Key + CTRL + T.

Determine N

Always on Top tool.
Picture: Mark Kaelin/TechRepublic

Display screen Ruler

The Home windows PowerToys utility, Display screen Ruler, proven in Determine O, is a fast and simple option to measure the pixels represented in your show display screen. The software is ideal for figuring out the pixel dimension of a possible display screen seize or for lining up objects in a doc.

Determine O

Screen Ruler.
Picture: Mark Kaelin/TechRepublic

Fast Accent

Fast Accent, proven in Determine P, is another option to kind accented characters, which is helpful for when a keyboard doesn’t help that particular accent with a fast key combo. Use this utility to create accented characters, particularly for writing in languages apart from English.

Determine P

Wuick Accent.
Picture: Mark Kaelin/TechRepublic

Textual content Extractor

The Home windows PowerToys utility, Textual content Extractor, proven in Determine Q, is a handy option to copy textual content from wherever in your display screen. This code relies on Joe Finney’s Text Grab. Textual content Extractor makes use of optical character recognition to learn the textual content on the display screen, so it could require enhancing or proofreading.

Determine Q

Text Extractor.
Picture: Mark Kaelin/TechRepublic

File Locksmith

The Home windows PowerToys utility, File Locksmith, proven in Determine R, is a Home windows shell extension for checking what information are in use and by which processes. After putting in, right-click on a number of chosen information in File Explorer, after which choose “What’s utilizing this file?” from the context menu.

Determine R

File Locksmith.
Picture: Mark Kaelin/TechRepublic

Hosts File Editor

The Window PowerToys utility, Hosts File Editor, proven in Determine S, is a fast and easy utility for enhancing a neighborhood hosts file. Word, the applying will solely work if a hosts file exists.

Determine S

Hosts File Editor.
Picture: Mark Kaelin/TechRepublic

Are extra Home windows PowerToys coming quickly?

New Home windows PowerToys are periodically added to the Home windows library to deal with new consumer expectations and necessities. As new PowerToys are launched, this listing of obtainable instruments might be up to date to mirror that growth.

Further assets

Why are Home windows PowerToys necessary?

Home windows PowerToys present instruments and options that may make customers of the Home windows working system extra productive and, by extension, happier. Through the years, many customers have come to depend upon a number of of those PowerToys for his or her each day pc productiveness. For a lot of energy customers, PowerToys enhance their high quality of labor and life.

SEE: Microsoft Office Professional for Windows: Lifetime License (TechRepublic Academy)

Past making customers extra productive, PowerToys have additionally offered a glimpse into what options and instruments might (and will) change into an integral a part of the Home windows working system sooner or later. Many of those once-separate instruments have change into simply one other a part of the working system throughout its subsequent iteration.

Learn subsequent: Get Microsoft Office for Windows and learn how to use it (TechRepublic)

Further assets

Editor’s notice: This text was up to date to mirror the newest model of Home windows PowerToys.

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