Microsoft revives PowerToys with open-source tools for Windows 10 power users

Party like it's 1995

Credit: Microsoft

Microsoft’s newfound infatuation with open-source projects is spawning an unexpected love child that might just bring a tear to the eyes of PC veterans. PowerToys, a collection of power-user tools for enthusiasts from the Windows 95 through XP era, will return this summer in preview form with a pair of Windows 10 utilities, with many more projects being put forward for consideration.

You’ll find the modern PowerToys suite hosted on GitHub, as The Verge spotted this morning. The pair of projects kicking off the endeavor look mighty helpful indeed.

powertoys maximize to new desktop Microsoft

The Maximize to New Desktop button. 

The first, called the “Maximize to new desktop widget,” takes advantage of the virtual desktops that remain one of Windows 10’s most helpful tools that you might not know about. It reveals a pop-up button when you hover over the Minimize button for an application. “Clicking it creates a new desktop, sends the app to that desktop and maximizes the app on the new desktop,” the overview readme explains. Cool!

powertoys windows shortcuts Microsoft

A preview of how the Windows Shortcut Guide tool in PowerToys could appear.

The second utility is a simple (yet much-needed) Windows key shortcut guide. If you hold down the Windows key for longer than a second, a pop-up shortcut guide appears that “shows the available shortcuts for the current state of the desktop,” meaning the shortcuts you’ll see are contextualized for the task at hand. Again: Cool! Frankly, I’d love for this to appear as a native Windows 10 feature if it works as well as it seems it should.

Those two utilities could just be the beginning, though. Microsoft is considering 10 other PowerToys utilities, as described in the project’s readme:

  1. Full window manager including specific layouts for docking and undocking laptops
  2. Keyboard shortcut manager
  3. Win+R replacement
  4. Better alt+tab including browser tab integration and search for running apps
  5. Battery tracker
  6. Batch file re-namer
  7. Quick resolution swaps in taskbar
  8. Mouse events without focus
  9. Cmd (or PS or Bash) from here
  10. Contents menu file browsing

Since the revived PowerToys live as open-source projects, Microsoft’s looking for help developing the tools, and feedback into which of the additional utilities under consideration should be prioritized. “Please use issues and +1’s to guide the project,” the GitHub page pleads. Head on over and start helping out if you want to do your part in bringing this legend back to life.

Between this and the vastly improved Windows Terminal, this summer’s looking to be a great one for PC enthusiasts who enjoy getting their hands dirty!

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Brad Chacos

Brad Chacos

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?