Microsoft is releasing a new pack of PowerToys


Gerbils make up a slightly older audience than you're likely to find on most tech sites. So saying, I suspect we're likely to have a whole bunch of folks that remember the original Windows PowerToys fondly. For those who don't recall—or who weren't born yet—the PowerToys were a collection of tools and tweaks that could be used to modify Windows 95 (and later, Windows XP) into a form more functional for enthusiasts and power users. Now, Microsoft is reviving the PowerToys name with a new series of utilities with the same overall goal, this time for Windows 10.

So far, Microsoft has announced two new PowerToys. The first is the clumsily named "maximize to new desktop" widget. This tiny tweak will display a pop-up button when a user hovers over the maximize/restore button on any window. Clicking it will create a new desktop and send the app over there, maximized. Pretty cool for those who use multiple desktops; I'd personally like something similar for multiple monitors.

The other new PowerToy on the way is a Windows-key shortcut guide. Hold the Windows key down for a second to see all the available shortcuts, dynamically displayed based on the state of your current desktop. As an avid user of the Windows logo key, I doubt this one will be too much use for me personally, but it'll be interesting to see what shortcuts I've been missing.

The company has a list of concepts for more PowerToys on the PowerToys Github page, and while we're on the topic of Windows key shortcuts, one of the most interesting ideas is a replacement for the humble Windows+R "Run" dialog. Other useful tools could include a tray icon to quickly swap screen resolution, some facility to send mouse events without changing application focus, a "terminal from here" context menu option, and a full-on *nix-style window manager with support for specific layouts that respond to hardware changes, like docking and un-docking a laptop.

You can check out the rest of the list (under the section heading "Backlog") at the PowerToys Github page, but you can't download anything yet. Microsoft says it'll be releasing the first two PowerToys along with their source code at some point this summer, and is inviting feedback on which items from the backlog to work toward next.

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