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Microsoft PowerToys

Hey kids!

I was recently made aware of a cool new suite of free tools from Microsoft. This utility suite is also open source so, if you are inclined to do so, you can enhance what is there, or add something else that would be useful for the community.

It's called Microsoft PowerToys and can be found here.

There are a ton of neat new things to explore and use. I know I'll be using the file locksmith, image resizer, and paste as plain text immediately!!

The installation options are found here and easy to follow, depending on what option you'd like to go with.

You can install by navigating to the PowerToys page on GitHub and grabbing a copy there, using an installer, or using the Windows Powershell to install.

I used Windows Powershell as follows:

winget install Microsoft.PowerToys --source winget

And that's literally it, no additional steps, just copy, paste, run.

Once installed, this program should open for you -

Settings for each utility are available by using the "open settings" button on the main page, as shown below.

Each utility has the ability to be turned off/on in the settings area. Some utilities may be blocked if you are on a company computer, as shown below.

Below is a comprehensive list of the available utilities as of the writing of this post (June 2023). I've added a quick summary of the purpose for each utility. If you want to read more about each individual utility, go to Microsoft's website here and find the utility in the tree you're interested in getting more detail about, or click the links in each item below.

  • Always on Top utility

    • You can use this utility to pin specific windows on top of everything else, no matter what. It's easiest to use with a shortcut.

  • PowerToys Awake utility

    • Have you wanted to find a way to keep your PC awake without keystrokes? This utility will do that!

    • It can be controlled by your company admin, so it may not be available to you on a company machine.

  • Color Picker utility

    • Do you want to control your PC theme colors with precision? This can help.

  • FancyZones utility

    • Create layouts that work best for your style instead of using built in templates that are less than ideal.

  • File Locksmith utility

    • Trying to find out what program or process has your file locked? This can help.

  • Hosts File Editor utility

    • Do you need more control of your host file? This utility can help!

  • Image Resizer utility

    • Do you have to open a tool like Paint every time you need to resize an image? This allows you to resize with 1 click

  • Mouse utilities

    • This offers multiple features for your mouse, like changing the color, opacity, and radius of your mouse presence on your screen

  • Paste as Plain Text

    • An easy way to paste text without the formatting (I'm looking at you, Visual Studio)

  • Peek utility

    • An easy way to preview files

  • PowerRename utility

    • This tool can help do some bulk editing/renaming, searching using regex or plain text

  • Quick Accent utility

    • If you've tried typing in another language, you know the accent characters are difficult to get to on a US keyboard. This utility helps makes it much easier

  • PowerToys Run utility

    • An easy way to search for anything, including applications and file names

  • Screen ruler utility

    • Ever wanted to use the ruler function in Word for other applications? This accomplishes that goal

  • Text Extractor utility

    • This can help to extract text you want to copy when it's not available as a text item. If you want the text in an image, this will grab that text with no muss or fuss

  • Video Conference Mute

    • Do you forget to mute yourself on company meetings? Get in the habit of auto-muting

Am I going to use all there?

Absolutely not. But I'm glad they're there in case I need them. I hope you can use a few of these as well!! The file locksmith is a gamechanger for me 💜

Have a great day, kids!!

1 Comment

Mar 31

I use the text extractor all the time.

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