In context: PowerToys was a collection of tools built by Microsoft developers that were bundled together for power users, starting with Windows 95 and existing through Windows XP. Afterwards, the utility was shelved for many generations. Now, PowerToys has been resurrected as an open-source project for Windows 10 with its first preview available now. If you remember the Windows 95 era, take a trip down memory lane with this Windows 95 PowerToys throwback.
Microsoft revealed plans to revive PowerToys back in May, the classic power user utility of Windows 95 vintage, with a preview coming later in the summer months. Well, summer is almost over, and the Windows 10 PowerToys preview is here. As Microsoft has shifted to an open-source model, PowerToys and its accompanying source code is all available via GitHub. You can grab the installer here.
This first preview contains just two utilities: a Windows key shortcut guide and a window manager called FancyZones. The Windows key shortcut guide acts as a full screen overlay (as seen below), showing a menu of dynamic shortcuts and their respective actions germane to the current desktop and active windows.
FancyZones is designed to ease workflow by allowing users to drag and drop open windows or applications into predetermined zones on a desktop, resulting in the window being resized and positioned to fill up that zone. Users will also be able to create and edit layouts, with the ability to quickly restore these layouts.
If you’re ready to kick the tires on the modern PowerToys, grab the installer and let us know what you think. Do note that once installed, PowerToys runs as a service and you should see a PowerToys icon in the system tray. From there, PowerToys offers right-click access to settings and utilities.
While it’s presently unclear what utilities are next, Microsoft notes the strong reception to the project and seemingly anticipates a lot of feedback and contributions.
When the PowerToys project was first announced this spring, we didn’t think the reception would be as enthusiastic as it has been. The project started with just an empty repo, with a roadmap and a place for power users to provide suggestions and ideas. However, over 4000 users starred the repo, showing a strong interest in the project. Given this enthusiasm, we’re anticipating many developers will want to contribute to PowerToys, and we’ve made sure that the documentation, project architecture, and tools are ready for the community to dive in.