PowerToys: a tool that should be baked into Windows

April 14, 2020 | Reading time 3 minutes

Every now and then there is a tool that makes life just a bit more fun and PowerToys is such a tool. It is an app that you barely notice, because it is just there making Windows nicer. I think Microsoft should add all PowerToys features to Windows. Read on to discover why.

PowerRename

The name says it all. You can change the name or extension of multiple files all at once. Select the files, right click, click PowerRename and rename the files. Recently I d iscovered that about half of all my files in iA Writer were txt files instead of Markdown. All I head to do was selecting the folder in Windows and replace .txt with .md and all txt files were changed. Even in the subfolders.

screenshot of the PowerToys PowerRename tool

FancyZones

Most Windows users will probably now that you can a window to a corner of the screen with the shortcut WIN (Windows key) + Arrow. FancyZones does this too, but it does more like letting you also define the size of the area.

File Explorer

I didn’t knew what to expect from this feature, but it was quite obvious after using it for the first time. It lets you preview a selected file in Explorer just by selecting it. QuickLook offers this feature too in sort of a macOS way, but now you just have to select it. You can even select and copy information from something like an Excel file. Version 0.16.1 adds support for SVG and Markdown files. Not all file types are yet supported, but more will probably be added in the future.

Image Resizer

This is one of my favorites and can be a huge time saver for people who work photos a lot. You can select one or more photos and resize them altogether at once. When I’m working on a website I often have to resize images and this little tool will save me lots of time. All you have to do is select the files you want to resize, right click, click Resize Pictures and enter the desired dimensions in the pop-up window.

screenshot of the PowerToys Image Resizer tool

Shortcut Guide

Apple has this feature on the iPad when your using an external keyboard and now Windows has it too. Press and hold the Windows key and an overlay pops up with the Windows key shortcuts that are available. No more Googling for shortcuts, because it is right at the tip of your finger. There are of course more shortcuts that are very useful and I made an overview of keyboard shortcuts that I think are useful most people.

Window Walker

The last one for now is Window Walker. Use the shortcut CTRL + WIN, enter the name of an app that is running and jump right to it. I hope this feature will expand into Spotlight on the Mac so that you can use it for search and more. Windows offers this more or less but it lacks features compared to Spotlight. A Spotlight alternative on Windows is Wox.

screenshot of the PowerToys Window Walker tool

You can download PowerToys for free on GitHub. Go on and
try it. It makes Windows more fun and smoother.