Microsoft kindles nostalgia among old power users by bringing PowerToys back for Windows 10

Abhishek Baxi

PowerToys for Windows 10

Millenials, please excuse! If you are an old Windows user like yours truly, you’d remember the PowerToys that helped power users back in the day tune and enhance their Windows experience for that extra pinch of productivity.

These set of freeware, unsupported utilities debuted as a Windows 95 project, but gained prominence and widespread popularity with its second iteration for Windows XP. I used to swear by Tweak UI that allowed customization of the Windows user interface or ISO Image Burner that allowed burning ISO disk images to CDs!

Microsoft is now rebooting the project and will offer a new set of PowerToys allowing power users to squeeze more efficiency out of the Windows 10 shell and customize it for individual workflows.

The first two utilities that the company is already working on is a ‘Maximize to new desktop widget’ that creates a new desktop from any app, sends the app to that desktop, and maximizes it and a ‘Windows key shortcut guide’ that shows the available shortcuts for the current state of the desktop.

PowerToys for Windows 10

Microsoft has also listed the current set of utilities that the company is considering and is looking for feedback and suggestions from the community to prioritize those.

  • Full window manager including specific layouts for docking and undocking laptops
  • Keyboard shortcut manager
  • Win+R replacement
  • Better alt+tab including browser tab integration and search for running apps
  • Battery tracker
  • Batch file re-namer
  • Quick resolution swaps in taskbar
  • Mouse events without focus
  • Cmd (or PS or Bash) from here
  • Contents menu file browsing

Microsoft is open-sourcing PowerToys on GitHub, so anyone can contribute to and create power tools for Windows 10. The company is looking to preview the new PowerToys utilities in the summer this year, with the corresponding source code being published on GitHub.