Microsoft PowerToys – when you need a little extra from Windows 10 or 11

Sometimes you demand a little extra from your Windows PC.

Today I was looking for a colour picker, a handy piece of software that allows me to pick a precise colour from anywhere on my Windows screen. You can get such things easily as Chrome browser extensions, but they only work inside your browser window (which might be all you need), not outside.

And then I remembered Microsoft PowerToys!

Microsoft PowerToys is a free set of utilities and tools for Windows that can enhance your productivity, improve your workflow, and customize your experience. The first version of PowerToys was released way back in 1995 for Windows 95. It quickly became popular among Windows users who wanted to tweak their operating system and add new functionalities.

After a hiatus of several years, Microsoft revived PowerToys in 2019 as an open-source project, making it available for Windows 10/11 users. The new version of PowerToys includes several new tools and features, all designed to improve your Windows experience.

Here is a summary of the different functions included in the free Microsoft PowerToys app for Windows:

  1. FancyZones: This tool allows you to create custom layouts for your desktop, so you can organize your windows and applications in a way that suits your workflow. You can create zones, snap windows to them, and quickly resize them with keyboard shortcuts.
  2. PowerRename: With PowerRename, you can quickly rename multiple files and folders at once. This tool allows you to use regular expressions to find and replace text, add prefixes or suffixes, and more.
  3. PowerToys Run: This tool is a powerful launcher that lets you quickly find and launch programs, files, and settings on your computer. You can customize the search results, add plugins, and even launch web searches from the same interface.
  4. Keyboard Manager: Keyboard Manager allows you to remap your keyboard keys and create custom shortcuts for your favorite programs and commands. You can also use it to disable keys you don’t use or remap them to perform other actions.
  5. Image Resizer: This tool allows you to quickly resize images by right-clicking on them in Windows Explorer. You can choose from several preset sizes, or create your own custom sizes.
  6. File Explorer Add-ons: PowerToys also includes several add-ons for Windows Explorer, including a preview pane that lets you view the contents of files without opening them, and a batch file renamer that lets you rename multiple files at once.
  7. Color Picker: This tool allows you to pick colors from your screen and copy them to your clipboard. You can use it to quickly grab colors from websites, images, or other applications.
  8. Mouse Utilities: PowerToys includes several utilities for your mouse, including a tool that lets you adjust the sensitivity of your mouse scroll wheel, and a tool that lets you disable the mouse acceleration in Windows.

In conclusion, Microsoft PowerToys is a free set of utilities and tools for Windows that can enhance your productivity, improve your workflow, and customize your experience. From creating custom layouts for your desktop to remapping your keyboard keys and resizing images, PowerToys offers a wide range of features that can help you get the most out of your Windows computer. So if you’re looking to customize your Windows experience and add new functionalities to your operating system, give PowerToys a try!

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