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What is PowerToys and how to use it in Windows 10?

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Getting the most out of your operating system is essential and having productivity tools to help you do that always helps. Although there are several productivity tools in the market, Windows Powertoys stands out of the crowd.

Managed by Microsoft, Powertoys is a freeware productivity tool under the MIT license on Github. Being an open-source project, it welcomes contributions and is designed according to power users’ needs.

As Microsoft moderates these tools, they amalgamate with the operating system with great finesse, and its open-source model signifies that productivity does not come at the cost of privacy.

So, if you are looking to take your Windows experience to the next level, you should try Powertoys. This article will be looking at everything Powertoys has to offer and how you can get it on your Windows system.

To run Powertoys on your system you need Windows 10 1803 (build 17134) or later

Also read: Top 7 GBA emulators for Windows 10 

How to install PowerToys in Windows?

As Powertoys are designed specifically for power users, they do not come bundled with the Windows operating system. To install Powertoys follow the steps given below

Step 1: Open the Powertoys github repository.

Step 2: Click on Assets and download the latest .exe file from the drop-down menu.

What is PowerToys and how to use it in Windows 10?

Step 3: Run the .exe file and follow the installation process to get Powertoys on your machine.

Step 4: Open the Powertoys application on your system by searching for it in the Start menu.

Step 5: Open the app tray on your system and click on the Powertoys icon

Step 6: Toggle the Always run as administrator and click on the Restart as administrator

Using Powertoys in administrator mode enables tools to integrate completely with the operating system and features like fancy zones work better when in administrator mode.

Step 7: Enable Run at startup in Powertoys so that it starts automatically when your system starts.

Also read: Where are Windows 10 Sticky Notes stored?

Understanding tools in PowerToys

There are several tools in Powertoys and having a basic understanding of these tools can help you use them in an effective manner. So without further ado, lets get into it.

Color picker

If you are a content creator and find yourself using a colour picker often, then this tool in Powertoys will help you integrate your workflows.

With multiple colour formats to select from, the tool enables users to get detailed information of the colours they pick. The tool also exports values to the systems clipboard and with editor support you can extract specific information about the colours you pick.

To activate this tool you can use the Win + Shift + C shortcut and you can change this shortcut according to your preference as well.

Fancy zones

Multitasking has become the new norm and managing multiple windows in an efficient manner can really boost your productivity. Fancy zones is a Powertoys tool that enables users to customise Window layouts to make multitasking easier. Not only does this tool help in efficient multitasking but also helps shift your focus according to your workflows.

This tool lets users create their own layouts for window positions during multitasking with an in-house layout editor. In addition to this, it comes with several customisable templates (focus, columns, rows, grid, and priority grid) the user can use.

To enable fancy zones, you have to press the Shift key while you are dragging the windows and Powertoys shows a user interface to help you select the zone where you want to place the window.

File explorer

If you use the preview pane to get information of the files you are viewing, the file explorer tool adds support for Scalable Vector Graphics(SVG) and markdown files. This lets you get a sneak peek of SVG files on your system and see markdown files in a matter of seconds

Image resizer

If your daily workflows involve resizing batch images, then the image resizer tool will really enhance your productivity. As the name suggests this tool helps users resize images at the click of a button. With its easy access feature, users can resize images by just right clicking on an image and selecting the resize image option.

This tool offers multiple encodings like PNG, BMP, JPEG, TIFF, WMPhoto, and GIF. With several editable resizing configurations, users can create and edit images according to their needs. In addition to this, you can also select the quality of the resized image and enable TIFF compression and PNG interlacing.

Keyboard manager

Having a dead key on your keyboard can be a haunting issue, and if you have one, you can use the keyboard manager in Powertoys to remap the dead key.

This tool also lets you remap shortcut functionality when a particular app is running. So, if you are looking to change a shortcut’s functionality when Microsoft edge is running the app name will be msedge and not Microsoft Edge.

The target app’s name should be its process name and not the app name to use this feature. If no app name is given, then the changes in shortcuts are applied globally

This tool requires Windows 10 1903 (build 18362) or later.

Power rename

If bulk renaming tasks make your daily workflows intolerable, then the power rename tool is the one for you. Its search and rename feature let users rename parts of a file at the click of a button. This tool also adds an easy access option when you right-click on a file making renaming operations convenient.

Also read: Top 7 Snipping Tool alternatives for Windows

PowerToys run

This feature adds spotlight search functionality to your Windows machine enabling users to search for files, access URLs, look at running processes and even run shell commands.

To use the Powertoys run feature, you can use the Alt + Space shortcut and then search for anything on your system.

Shortcut guide

Shortcuts make life easier and if you are new to the Windows ecosystem and are not familiar with the shortcuts, the shortcut guide will come in handy.

This tool overlays the common shortcut combinations on a Windows machine when a user presses and holds the Windows key. The tools also lets you change the duration of the overlay, the background opacity and the background colour.

Also read: How to turn off your calculator?

Nischay Khanna

A tech enthusiast, driven by curiosity. A bibliophile who loves to travel. An Engineering graduate who loves to code and write about new technologies. Can't sustain without coffee. You can contact Nischay via email:

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