PowerToys is getting quite some attention from the rest of the pro consumers and us. We covered new features that are offered from PowerToys that would improve and increase your productivity here before. This next feature is arguably going to be the most requested or used feature since COVID. Now with a set of Windows keyboard shortcuts, you can globally mute and unmute or toggle on or off video for any video conference apps.
The latest version of PowerToys added a new feature to allow you to globally turn on and off audio and video with a single keystroke.
- ⊞ Win+N to toggle both Audio and Video at the same time
- ⊞ Win+Shift+A to toggle microphone
- ⊞ Win+Shift+O to toggle video
Under the hood, Microsoft didn’t bother to make it ‘work’ with Google Meet, Teams, Slack or any other apps that use your webcam and microphone.
Normally if a camera stops working, the application using it tends not to recover until the API does a full reset. To toggle the global privacy camera on and off while using the camera in an application, typically, it will crash and not recover. This is also why you won’t be able sometimes to use your webcam in multiple applications simultaneously.
So, how does PowerToys handle this so you can keep streaming?
- Audio: PowerToys uses the global microphone mute API in Windows. Apps should recover when this is toggled on and off.
- Video: PowerToys has a virtual driver for the camera. The video is routed through the driver and back to the application. Selecting the Video Conference Mute shortcut key stops video from streaming, but the application still thinks it is receiving video, the video is just replaced with black or the image placeholder you’ve saved in the settings.
For more details checkout this post where it went on for more details how this new trick is going to work. As long as you have a Windows 10 version 1903 (build 18362) or higher this utility will work.