PowerToys is a free and open-source application developed by Microsoft which is designed to bring a set of utilities for power users who want to improve their productivity and benefit from additional features. Whether you are a home-user, a developer or want to deploy certain features for an enterprise, this suite of useful utilities will be greatly appreciated by most.

PowerToys is a revival of the “PowerToys” project that was available on Windows 95.

This program will offer something for everyone, whether you are a keyboard-oriented user or someone after productivity, this software is for you.

Useful features that I use

Fancy Zones: If you have used any tiling window manager, you wold know how beneficial they are for your workflow. PowerToys comes with a tiling feature called “FancyZones” which allows you to position windows into various layouts. You can create custom layouts, whether it is for development, monitoring windows or graphics design, I found FancyZones to be super helpful.

Reassigning Keyboard Shortcuts: Keyboard shortcuts are one of those things that are hard to let go, especially if you have used it to move and manipulate windows around. I like to maximise my windows with Start + X and close them with Start + C.

Remapping Keys: Ever wonder why the caps-lock key is hardly ever used? I tend to think it’s meant to be remapped to something else. By default, you cannot map keys on Windows but with PowerToys you can. Over the years, I have made caps lock my escape key. I find it very convenient for many situations especially if you use text editors like VIM.

Colour Picker: Sometimes I just want to pick a colour from my desktop without having to install a colour picking tool. If you’re a keyboard driven person and you do any form of graphics design, you will appreciate this feature.

It automatically copies to the clipboard, it can be activated by pressing

Start + Shift + C

Notable mentions

Image Resizer: If you want to resize images without having to open a photo editing program like GIMP, you can use this built-in utility for quickly resizing images directly from the Windows File Explorer.

PowerToys Run: For ex-Mac users or those who want a different way to launch applications. This convenient utility can be triggered with Alt + Space and then you start typing. It is open-source and the functionality can be extended with plugins.

Reminds me of the macOS “Spotlight” feature. You can also run with administrator and even do quick maths calculations.

PowerRename: This is more convenient than I thought but I hardly do bulk-renaming. However for those who have many files in a folder and would like to bulk-rename things, this is the tool for you. Once PowerToys is installed, it is associates itself with Windows Explorer so you can simply select your files and perform bulk-renaming.

Things to note

I would recommend running PowerToys as administrator, especially if you plan to use custom keyboard shortcuts as some applications won’t respond to shortcuts if you don’t. As the app is under heavy-development, there are some bugs however they are quick to fix it and often each release comes with new or improved features.

Neat little Windows 10 progress bar notification!

Get it now!

If you want to try it out, download it from GitHub (scroll down to “Assets”) or you can read more on the repository home page.