Windows 95’s PowerToys Come Back, Help Improve Windows 10 for Power Users


Microsoft had first introduced PowerToys in Windows 95 as a way for Windows engineers to test a prototype feature. They packed some of the best tweaks and features into a PowerToys bundle.  These PowerToys included popular utilities like Tweak UI to customize the Windows user interface, Quick Res to quickly change screen resolutions, and Send To X that let you send files and folders to the command line, clipboard, or desktop.

Now, Microsoft is reintroducing PowerToys in Windows 10. The software giant is open-sourcing PowerToys on GitHub, so anyone can contribute and create power user tools for Windows 10.

Microsoft is in the early stages of bringing this to all its users. Some early features include a new maximize to the desktop widget and a Windows key shortcut guide.

The maximize to desktop widget places a pop-up button over the maximize button when you hover over it. You can quickly send an app to another desktop by utilizing Windows 10’s multi-desktop view. The Windows shortcut guide utility simply shows a keyboard shortcut guide when you hold down the Windows key.

Some other utilities Microsoft’s been working on are –

  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 the taskbar
  8. Mouse events without focus
  9. Cmd (or PS or Bash) from here
  10. Contents menu file browsing

If you are a developer or interested in contributing to the project, you can check it out on Github. Microsoft is looking for feedback and contributions, just like it did with Windows Calculator.  Microsoft plans to preview these PowerToys utilities in the summer this year. The corresponding source code is already published on GitHub.

Check out PowerToys on GitHub