Microsoft is resurrecting the PowerToys project. These utilities, intended for advanced users, may include a keyboard shortcut manager, a batch file renamer, and a window manager that can reposition windows when a laptop is inserted or disconnected.

The PowerToys project was originally launched for Windows 95. It included a package of useful utilities. The most famous was TweakUI, which provided an interface for tweaking hidden settings in Windows that would otherwise require editing the Windows Registry. Windows XP also received a suite of PowerToys applications. Full lists of included PowerToys are available on Wikipedia.

Microsoft pretty much discontinued PowerToys after Windows XP, but now they’re making a comeback. This time, the PowerToys project is an open source project, the source code of which is available on Microsoft GitHub.

No PowerToys have been released yet, but Microsoft is working on two that will be released as previews in Summer 2019.

There is a «Maximize to New Desktop Widget» that will appear when you hover over the Maximize or Restore button in any window. You can click a button to create a new desktop, push the app to that desktop, and deploy the app to that new desktop. This is a convenient way to interact with Windows 10 Task View virtual desktops.

Expand to new desktop PowerToys widget

Microsoft will also create a Windows keyboard shortcut guide. When you press and hold the Windows key for more than a second, the available Windows shortcuts will appear on your screen. This list is contextual. You will only see shortcuts that work for the current screen state.

Of course, serious Windows power users may know most of them, but Windows keyboard shortcuts are powerful and usually hard to discover. Did you know that pressing Windows + E opens a File Explorer window anywhere, or that pressing Windows plus a number key activates the corresponding application icon on the taskbar?

Windows PowerToy Keyboard Shortcut Guide

Microsoft is also «looking at» a list of other utilities, including:

  1. Full window manager including dedicated layouts for docking and undocking laptops
  2. Keyboard Shortcut Manager
  3. Replacing Win+R
  4. Better alt + tab including browser tab integration and search for running applications
  5. Battery tracker
  6. Renaming a Batch File
  7. Quick resolution switching on the taskbar
  8. Mouse events without focus
  9. Cmd (or PS or Bash) from here
  10. File View Menu Contents

Microsoft encourages you to vote +1 and create issues on GitHub to prioritize the list and come up with new ideas.

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