Microsoft Teaches Its Awesome PowerToys Utility For Windows Three New Tricks

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In the age of Windows 95, Microsoft introduced PowerToys, a set of tools for Windows power users to tweak to their heart's content. Among these tools was TweakUI, which exposed system utility settings that were previously accessible only by modifying the Windows Registry. However, after Windows XP, PowerToys went the way of the dodo bird. That is until Microsoft rebooted the project in 2019 and released in on GitHub for Windows 10. Since then, the team and community behind this open source tool have brought additional features to the tool suite and a makeover for Windows 11.

The latest release of PowerToys comes with performance improvements and bug fixes, but it also introduces three new features. Two of these features are File Explorer add-ons. The first add-on introduces plain text view support for 150 different file extensions in File Explorer’s preview pane. This add-on is powered by Monaco Editor, which is the code editor for Microsoft Visual Studio Code. The second add-on generates thumbnails in File Explorer for the STL file format, which is a common 3D file format.

The final feature added in this PowerToys update is a new mouse utility co-developed with the accessibility team at Microsoft. Thanks to this utility, the key combination CTRL+Alt+P will place a crosshair over the mouse pointer. The utility is intended to help those with visual field impairments not lose track of the mouse cursor.

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Microsoft PowerTools Motion Gif Editor - Sweet!

Looking to the future, Microsoft’s roadmap for PowerTools contains two new features. The first of these planned features is a terminate tool. This tool is intended to enable users to quickly terminate a running program with easily accessible shortcut. The second planned feature is a light weight GIF and video capture tool that will extend the default screen capture tools beyond static screenshots.

You can read the full patch notes for the latest release of PowerToys over on GitHub.