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Author Topic: Microsoft is Relaunching Power Toys For Windows 10 Users  (Read 104 times)
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« on: May 12, 2019, 04:08:15 PM »

Microsoft announced this week that they will be bringing back the Windows Power Toys so that a new generation of users can enjoy them. To start they will be offering two new Power Toys, but have a list of others that they hope to add.

For those who are unfamiliar with Windows Power Toys, they were small freeware utilities that were created by Windows developers as side projects related to something that they were interested about. They will not be supported by Microsoft and are use-at-your-own-risk type of tools.

For Windows users, especially power users, they allowed you to play with Windows internals by tweaking undocumented features, play with fun tools, or to provide functionality that made it easier to get things done.

Some of the more popular Power Toys were Tweak UI that allowed you to enable undocumented features in the Windows Shell and user interface, a virtual desktop manager, and "Open Command Window Here", which allowed you to open a command prompt within whatever folder you right-clicked on.

While some of these features are now built into Windows, in the past they were not and users enjoyed them as many provided an insight into the Windows internals that mostly Microsoft developers really knew about.

Power Toys for Windows 10

Recently, Microsoft has announced that they are going to be relaunching the Power Toys for Windows and will be open sourcing them on GitHub.

To start, they will be releasing two tools; a "Maximize to new desktop widget" and a "Windows key shortcut guide".

The Maximize to a new desktop widget, or MTND, will show a pop-up button when you hover over the normal maximize button. If you click on this pop-up button, it will create a new virtual desktop and maximize the program on it.

MTND Feature

The other Power Toy being released is a Windows Key shortcut guide that appears when you hold down the Windows key for a short period of time.

Windows Key Shortcut Guide - click to enlarge

Microsoft is also considering other tools to be added to the Power Toys, such as:

    Full window manager including specific layouts for docking and undocking laptops

    Keyboard shortcut manager

    Win+R replacement

    Better Alt+Tab including browser tab integration and search for running apps

    Battery tracker

    Batch file re-namer

    Quick resolution swaps in the taskbar

    Mouse events without focus

    Cmd (or PS or Bash) from here

    Contents menu file browsing

These are not the Power Toys I am looking for

Unfortunately, the Power Toys being advertised don't have the same hacker or adventurous feel that I remember from the tools released for Windows 95 and Windows XP can be found here.

Download Windows 95 Power Toys here.

The original tools were created by Windows developers who wanted to share fun things for Windows users to play with. When using the tools, you felt the developer's excitement as you play with the functionality you may not normally have had access to or used souped-up versions of existing Windows tools.

The proposed tools,  just don't have that same feeling. They feel more like add-ons that can be found from other developers rather than ones that only Microsoft developers could make.

Instead, let's see some tools that allow you to play with the internals of Windows. Give us something that enables hidden features, show how internal data in interesting ways, or gives us access to other undocumented features that most users do not know about.

Those would be fun Power Toys.


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