The Powerful Windows PowerToys

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The Windows PowerToys
The Windows PowerToys

The Windows PowerToys, are a truly useful set of tools that comes from the hand of Microsoft and that allows to enhance the operating system with new features, without having to use utilities developed by others. In short, a good improvement that is extended with successive updates that Microsoft launches as this we will see below.

Microsoft has released version 0.15.1 of the PowerToys (previously they had released version 0.15) but a bug with the FancyZones Editor, has forced to release a patch that takes care of adding a series of interesting improvements.

Two updates in one day

With the arrival of version 0.15.1 of the PowerToys, there is no longer any need to check for updates manually. Now PowerToys takes care of searching for and determining if a new version is available. It is also not the only improvement, since we will no longer need to enter administrator mode to run the application.

Below is a list of the new changes, where the following improvements appear:

  • Alerts if a new version is available from PowerToys.
  • The need to “run as administrator” is eliminated.
  • Almost 300 unit tests have been added to increase stability and avoid regression.
  • Nearly 100 issues have been resolved.
  • NET Framework parts made from source run faster with NGEN.
  • Local data storage is improved.
  • Improved compatibility of FancyZones with applications.
  • Fixed a bug that causes FancyZones to crash on startup.

If you want to test the PowerToys, you can download them from this link. And if you want to know how to install them, then simply continue reading.

But what are PowerToys?

For those who don’t know yet, the PowerToys are Microsoft tools and utilities with a history behind them that can already be tested in Windows 10 by the most daring users who want to get more out of their computers.

Beware with the End of Life1
Beware with the End of Life1

These new tools consist of a series of utilities designed to enhance the Windows operating system, as well as special functions whose use is recommended especially for advanced users and avoid having to touch the “Windows Registry“.

But how can these PowerToys be installed?

It is a very simple process. Even those who don’t have the least knowledge can access a number of extra features without having to touch the “Windows Registry”, by downloading the following tools that can be found on Github to start testing them immediately on your own computers.

Once downloaded from this link, we will see how in our computer we have a file with the extension .MSI. This file is the one that makes possible the installation of the PowerToys through an automatic process that guides us step by step and that installs the three available tools in a single pack.

PowerToys step 1
PowerToys step 1

Among the options that we will find during the process, there is the possibility of making the PowerToys start from the beginning with the computer, or that they only work when we activate them, or that they can be accessed thanks to a direct access on the desktop.

PowerToys step 2
PowerToys step 2

Among the tools that we will have access to with a configuration panel of the different options they offer, are the following.

PowerToys General Settings
PowerToys General Settings

FancyZones: is a tool for working with windows that allows us to organize them in a complex way if we want.

PowerToys FancyZones Tool
PowerToys FancyZones Tool

Shorcut Guide: it is a guide that offers access to see the keyboard shortcuts that Windows 10 has. To access the guide with all the keyboard shortcuts, you only have to hold down the Windows key.

PowerToys Shorcut Guide Tool
PowerToys Shorcut Guide Tool

PowerRename: with this utility we can easily rename files or folders in a massive way, since it is also integrated in the Windows 10 context menu.

PowerToys Power Rename Tool
PowerToys Power Rename Tool

Once the PowerToys are installed, we will see how a new icon appears on the desktop and a shortcut in the “Taskbar” at the bottom, if we check this option during the installation. By clicking on this icon we access the configuration options in each of the tools we have mentioned before.

We can determine the time of keystroke to activate “Shorcut Guide”, the zone where we can work with the windows in “FancyZones” or the ones related to “PowerRename”. It is therefore up to the user to set the values that work best according to their needs.

In short, a good point for these little known tools of our beloved Windows 10.

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