The First Preview of PowerToys

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A few months after Microsoft announced the resurrection of the long-lived PowerToy, the first preview was released on September 5 on Github for Windows 10 users to get a taste of it how it will shape your desktop experience.

The first preview includes two preview utilities as well as the tools and docs to make it easy to create new PowerToys utilities. Simply download the msi installer from the release page and install it on your Windows 10 computer. The PowerToys launches automatically after the installation, with a tiny icon quietly sitting in the system tray.

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Clicking on the icon opens up PowerToy’s Settings window where you can turn on or off any available PowerToys utilities and change their settings.

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Windows Key Shortcut Guide

This little cute utility shows common keyboard shortcuts that use the Windows key. Press and hold the Win key for about 1 second, an overlay window appears with all the Win keyboard shortcuts right in the middle.

Windows key shortcut Guide usage 600x338 - The First Preview of PowerToys

It actually could be useful as it does remind me of a couple of these key shortcuts that I’ve forgotten. For example, Win + M to minimize all open windows, Win + , to take a peek at my desktop, and Win + plus/minus to zoom in or out the entire desktop.

Fancy Zones

Fancy Zones is a window manager that arranges and snaps windows into efficient layouts for your workflow and also to restore these layouts quickly. This one is much interesting and offers a better or alternative to the built-in Windows Snap feature.

When enabled, you can drag any window while holding the Shift key down to across pre-defined zones. The window will be resized and repositioned to fill the zone accordingly.

FancyZones 600x375 - The First Preview of PowerToys

To view and change the layout template, press Win + ~ to launch the Fancy Zones setup UI. You can change the number of zones, or customize one for your own, and select a layout for your desktop. Press the Apply button to save the changes.

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If you like the Windows Snap feature, you will probably like Fancy Zones even more. It would be even better if it supports layouts across multiple screens. For now, it’s beneficial the most to those who use ultra-wide screens.

So far, the experience of these PowerToys is pretty impressive. Can’t wait for more to come.

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