Microsoft 'PowerTools' Make Windows Easier

John Lister's picture

Microsoft has a bunch of potentially-useful Windows 10 and 11 tools available to install. Rather oddly though, they aren't part of the Windows Update system.

Instead users must manually download and install the "PowerToys" tools from independent software site GitHub. While that site is generally safe, users can follow the link from Microsoft's powertoys page to make sure they get the latest edition.

The package includes 11 tools which generally offer simple solutions to very specific problems. Many are based on the work of independent developers.

Find Your Mouse Easily

Mouse utilities is highlighted by Find My Mouse, which darkens the display except for a spotlight around the mouse cursor. It's particularly aimed at people using multiple monitors. (Source:

ColorPicker works like the tool of the same name in Adobe's Photoshop. Clicking on any pixel on the Windows screen (regardless of application) automatically selects that color to the clipboard to use in a relevant app.

FancyZones lets users manually create an arrangement of spaces on the desktop and then automatically resize and snap windows to fit those spaces.

File Explorer add-ons let users see the contents of certain filetypes such as PDF without having to open the file.

Image Resizer lets users resize one or more images using a right-click in File Explorer.

Keyboard Manager lets users redefine individual keys or create their own shortcuts.

PowerToys Awake simply keeps the PC awake until switched off, overriding existing sleep and power settings.

Keyboard Shortcut List

Shortcut Guide lets users press the Windows and question mark keys to see a list of all available keyboard shortcuts for the open applications.

PowerRename lets users rename multiple files with a single operation, including filtering the results. It works a little like find and replace in Microsoft apps, with an option to preview results or undo options.

PowerToys Run makes it easier to start an app without using the regular navigation menus or shortcuts. Instead users simply press Alt and Space, start typing the app name, then click on the app once it appears in the results.

Video Conference Mute lets users simple press Windows and the N key to instantly mute the camera and microphone, regardless of whether video calling apps are in the foreground or background.

What's Your Opinion?

Have you used these tools? Do any of them sound useful? Should Microsoft build them into Windows automatically?

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dbrumley3077's picture

I think the tools would be useful, but it seems odd that Microsoft doesn't offer the download via Windows Update. As it is setup now, many will probably never find these tools unless by accident or word of mouth; plus an unscrupulous individual could possibly imitate these tools with built-in malware.

jimain's picture

Thanks for telling us! several of these tools would be fun to play with now. They and several others are potentially of real use. Microsoft provides enough distractions, it's better they don't add this opportunity. I'd prefer they tell us about other things we Need to know!

Unrecognised's picture

Down the years I've sought out and installed a number of the above-mentioned. Evidently not alone in that. That being the case it should all just be built in- especially the preview facility for Explorer. FFS!