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.

Comments closed
    • crabjokeman
    • 6 months ago

    About that start menu..

    • anotherengineer
    • 6 months ago

    Trying to bring back the halycon days of XP?

    Ahh fond memories the early/mid 2000’s were.

    [url<][/url<] edit - ahhh there is that green rolling hill [url<][/url<]

    • ermo
    • 6 months ago

    MS really is going all in with its newly acquired GitHub property, isn’t it?

    • dfi
    • 6 months ago

    Will it allow me to choose which updates I want to install?

    • juzz86
    • 6 months ago

    Oh! New SyncToy please Microsoft!

      • arunphilip
      • 6 months ago

      As an avid SyncToy user myself, I’m curious to know what functionality you’d like to see in a newer version.

      I’m torn between wanting to see SyncToy updated for this decade (wow, Help > About says it was last built in Oct 2009), and terrified that Microsoft will “update” it into something clunky like Paint 3D.

    • David
    • 6 months ago

    DisplayFusion will allow you to move a window to another monitor with a click .

      • morphine
      • 6 months ago

      Ah, another man of culture. DisplayFusion master race ftw.

      • DoomGuy64
      • 6 months ago

      It also has had weird random driver conflicts with both nvidia and amd. No problems with 390, but Vega56 = random BSOD. Developer doesn’t seem too concerned about fixing it’s stability or speed either, so it’s been sitting disabled until I see further updates. It might have been fixed by now, but I don’t use it that often, and the bloat/overhead is enough to just leave it disabled.

    • robliz2Q
    • 6 months ago

    I remember TweakUI and so on, wondering why MS kept features that ought to have been included optionally in the main OS install to a relatively obscure download.
    As someone who’s used a hell of a lot of different desktops over the years, I never managed to take on board using the Win function key & other shortcuts, because you don’t invest time studying stuff which only works on one OS. So that quick at a glance summary is EXACTLY the kind of UI feature needed to make the features discoverable.

      • Klimax
      • 6 months ago

      Because those “features” were often personal projects or small extras:
      The history of the Windows PowerToys:

    • Usacomp2k3
    • 6 months ago

    I think the alt-tab switcher and the calculator that were in my always-install list.

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