Microsoft revives Windows PowerToys as an open-source project

Remember Power Toys? If you worked on PCs when Windows 95 or XP were en vogue, you may remember that Microsoft released a number of useful tools back then to extend the functionality of the Windows operating system.

Microsoft just announced it has decided to reboot PowerToys as an open-source project for Windows 10. Developers already have several cool toys planned.

The first, called the “Maximize to new desktop widget,” takes advantage of the virtual desktops that remain one of Windows 10’s most helpful tools that you might not know about. It reveals a pop-up button when you hover over the Minimize button for an application. “Clicking it creates a new desktop, sends the app to that desktop and maximizes the app on the new desktop,”.

The second utility is a simple Windows key shortcut guide. If you hold down the Windows key for longer than a second, a pop-up shortcut guide appears that “shows the available shortcuts for the current state of the desktop,” meaning the shortcuts you’ll see are contextualized for the task at hand.

Those two utilities could just be the beginning, though. Microsoft is considering 10 other PowerToys utilities, as described in the project’s readme:

1 Full window manager including specific layouts for docking and undocking laptops

2 Keyboard shortcut manager

3 Win+R replacement

4 Better alt+tab including browser tab integration and search for running apps

5 Battery tracker

6 Batch file re-namer

7 Quick resolution swaps in taskbar

8 Mouse events without focus

9 Cmd (or PS or Bash) from here

10 Contents menu file browsing

Since the revived PowerToys live as open-source projects, Microsoft’s looking for help developing the tools, and feedback into which of the additional utilities under consideration should be prioritized. “Please use issues and +1’s to guide the project,” the GitHub page pleads. Head on over and start helping out if you want to do your part in bringing this legend back to life.

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