If you have been using Windows for long, I am sure you remember tools like Tweak UI and SyncToy. There were add-ons from Microsoft to improve the Windows experience further. The project came during Windows XP times, and now we have another one that has come our way — PowerToys for Windows 11/10. In this post, we will show how you can install PowerToys in Windows 11/10, and make use of its features.
Install PowerToys for Windows 11/10
PowerToys consists of a set of modules or programs which enhance the desktop experience and productivity. Here we are talking about:
- Install and Setup PowerToys
- FancyZones to improve multitasking when using multiple windows
- PowerRename which can rename multiple files with a right-click
- Shortcut Guide to learn essential Windows shortcut
- Video Conference Mute.
Make sure to keep updating the software, so you get more modules.
1] How to set up PowerToys on Windows 11/10
PowerToys is an open-source project, signed with Microsoft certificates. So they are safe to install on the computer. The setup file is available on PowerToys @ GitHub.
- Open the website release section
- Under the latest release tag, look for a link to download
- It should be under the name of PowerToysSetup.msi under assets.
- Click to download and save it on the computer when prompted.
- Once the download is complete, double click on the MSI file to install. You will be prompted for admin permission.
- Once installed, it will quietly sit in the system tray icon.
- Click on it to open PowerToys.
Once you go through the basic install wizard, click the PowerToys logo in the notification area on the taskbar. Double click to launch it, and you should see a screen similar to the image below.
The first screen is the General Settings, followed by the available modules. As new modules become available, they will be added to the list.
It is interesting to note that instead of clubbing all features together, each of the PowerToys can be enabled or downloaded. So if you do not use any function, you can toggle off the option available under each of the modules in General settings.
You also have settings to launch with Windows Startup and choose the dark and white mode.
2] FancyZones: Create a custom layout for multiple windows
Windows 10 allows you to resize Windows, and keep multiple windows side by side. It works beautifully when you have two windows to arrange using WIN + Arrow keys. But if you want to have multiple windows, and in a manner that you can utilize the screen efficiently, then you need to use Fancy Zones.
This module offers preconfigured zones or layouts, such as three columns, grid, rows, and so on. You can select any of them, increase or decrease columns, show space around zones, and configure it. If you want to make a layout of your own, you can do that too. Switch to custom, and then create a layout. Once done, save with a name you can remember.
The layout in the image is what I am using. I have a big monitor, and it allows me to keep 2-3 windows in different sizes easily. Once arranged, I can easily snap in the windows using the keyboard shortcut (Win + Arrow) or by dragging them into that area. You can create any number of zones depending on your work requirements.
Apart from this, you have tons of settings available. It includes overriding snap key shortcut, flash when active layout changes, keep layout intact when the resolution is changed, and more. It’s an incredible tool for those who need to work on multiple windows all the time.
I remember writing about numerous renamer tool, and you can do almost the same with Power Renamer. It offers necessary options like Regex, Exclusion, case sensitive, etc. It also integrates well with context menu so you can start renaming by first selecting the files and then right-click to choose Power Renamer.
4] Shortcut Guide
It’s an informative guide that is suitable for those who aren’t aware of shortcuts available in Windows. Press the Windows key for a little longer than usual, and you should see an overlay with all the essential keyboard shortcuts.
Overall, PowerToys is an excellent initiative for Power users of Windows 11/10 who would love to use these small features daily.
5] Video Conference Mute
If you need a global mute option for Zoom, Skype, and other applications while working on your Windows 11/10 computer, then Video Conference Mute is surely a pretty helpful feature for you. This feature lets you mute both microphone and camera, only camera, and only microphone with a default hotkey or custom hotkey.
To use this feature:
- Open PowerToys interface. You must run PowerToys as an administrator to use this feature
- Click on the Video Conference Mute option available on the left section
- Use the toggle to turn on the Enable Video Conference Mute option.
Once the feature is enabled, all its options will be activated to use. You will have a:
- Shortcuts section: It helps to check the default hotkeys to mute microphone, mute camera, and mute camera & microphone. You can also change each individual default hotkey with a custom hotkey
- Microphone section to use this feature for all microphones or the selected one
- Camera section: Using this section, you can select the webcam or camera and also set a camera overlay image
- Toolbar section: This section lets you set the toolbar position of the Video Conference Mode. As soon as you mute the camera, microphone, or both on your Windows 11/10 PC, a toolbar is visible on the Top right corner of your desktop screen to help you mute/unmute the mic and camera. If the default position of this toolbar is not suitable, you can change it to the Top center, Bottom right corner, Top left corner, or Bottom left corner using the drop-down menu in this section.
- Using Text Extractor, Screen Ruler, Quick Accent in PowerToys
- How to use Awake PowerToys to keep computer awake
- Place a window Always On Top using Microsoft PowerToys
- PowerToys Run and Keyboard Manager PowerToy
- How to use Windows Key Shortcut Guide PowerToy
- How to use Color Picker module in Windows PowerToys
- Find My Mouse & Mouse Highlighter feature in PowerToys
- Markdown and SVG Preview pane extension, Image Resizer and Windows Walker PowerToys
- Hosts File Editor and File Locksmith PowerToys let you edit the Hosts file & unlock locked files respectively.
Fancy Zones is my favorite because I need to work with multiple windows every day, and it keeps me sorted. Which one is yours?
Does Microsoft PowerToys work on Windows 11?
Of course, Microsoft PowerToys work on Windows 11 absolutely fine, including the Windows 11 2022 Update Version 22H2. And, the same goes for Windows 10 as well. From Screen Ruler to Image Resizer, Keyboard Manager to Mouse utilities, and Video Conference Mute, etc., all its tools work as expected. If you find some tools are disabled or greyed out, then you need to run PowerToys as an administrator to enable and use such tools.
How to update PowerToys on Windows 11?
To update PowerToys manually, open PowerToys and stay on the General tab on the bottom left side. Here you can check for updates and you will see the button to update the tool if an update is available. You can also set PowerToys to download updates automatically by enabling the setting.
Does PowerToys slow the computer?
If you use all or a lot of PowerToys tools altogether and your system configuration is average, then definitely it will slow down your computer. On the other hand, if you are using a couple of tools at a time, then it shouldn’t affect your system performance at all. Like any other tool, PowerToys can also have issues from time to time, but those are taken care of by the developer and fixed with updates.
Read: How to Back Up and Restore PowerToys Settings
How do I open PowerToys in Windows 11/10?
If you want to open the main interface of PowerToys, then you can use its desktop shortcut (if created), Start menu, Search box, etc. On the other hand, if you want to open a specific tool of PowerToys, like PowerToys Run (a quick application launcher), then press the default hotkey (Alt+Space) or create a custom activation shortcut for that tool.