If you 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 10. In this post, we will show how you can install PowerToys in Windows 10, and make use of its features.
Install PowerToys for Windows 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
Make sure to keep updating the software, so you get more modules.
1] How to set up PowerToys on Windows 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 10 who would love to use these small features daily.
Fancy Zones is my favorite because I need to work with multiple windows every day, and it keeps me sorted. Which one is yours?