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Free Microsoft PowerToys for Windows 10 and Windows 11

Updated January 31, 2022

Microsoft developers have always liked to create handy system utilities that add more functionally to the Windows operating system. They call them PowerToys and are released as a stand-alone program with File Explorer add-ons. And as always, these programs are entirely free.

Free Microsoft PowerToys for Windows 10 / Windows 11

It is kind of like Déjà vu for me with the PowerToys for Windows 10 / Windows 11. I hate to admit it, and I'm going to show my age here, but I have used the two (2) previous versions of PowerToys. The first version was PowerToys for Windows 95. The second version was PowerToys for Windows XP. TweakUI (Windows 95 / Windows XP) and Command Prompt Here (Windows 95) / Open Command Windows Here (Windows XP) were two (2) of my favorites.

PowerToys have always been a cool collection of handy utilities that you wonder why they were not part of Windows to begin with. In fact, some of the functionality of the PowerToys do get built into later releases of Windows.

The latest version, PowerToys for Windows 10 / Windows 11, currently has twelve (12) utilities (as of 1/6/22) included, and there are plans to add even more. As more features are added, I will update this article.

Note: Starting with version 0.37, PowerToys for Windows 10 / Windows 11 will require Windows 10 version 1903 or greater.

And since the Windows 10 / Windows 11 PowerToys are all inside one program, updates and new features will be easy to install. There is even an update button that takes you to the website so you can check for new releases.

Screen capture of the PowerToys General Settings for Windows 10 / Windows 11

The PowerToys General Settings includes all of the options for all of the actual PowerToys. This means that there is only one place to enable/disable and configure the settings for the various programs.

Now you have to keep in mind that the PowerToys is an open-source project, and the code is freely available. That is why the installer is over on the developer website GitHub, which, by the way, Microsoft owns.

The following is a list of the PowerToys for Windows 10 versions, the date released, and the utilities included. They are:

v0.12 - Released on 10/29/19

FancyZones - This is a utility that allows you to create zones (predefined areas for program windows) on your desktop for the various programs you run.
Screen capture of the FancyZones PowerToy for Windows 10 / Windows 11
For example, you can create a layout that has a separate zone for your e-mail program, word processor, and spreadsheet, all neatly arranged on your desktop. This program is beneficial if you have multiple monitors and want to keep all of your running programs organized.

PowerRename - This utility does just what its name implies; it renames files. But it has so many options that it can be used in so many different ways.
Screen capture of the PowerRename PowerToy for Windows 10 / Windows 11
You change just the file names or only the file extensions. You can exclude files, folders, and sub-folders. It is the swiss army knife of file renaming.

Shortcut Guide - This cool little utility shows you what Windows logo key Windows logo key shortcuts you can use at any given time.
Screen capture of the Shortcut Guide PowerToy for Windows 10 / Windows 11
You just hold down the Windows logo key Windows logo key for a preset amount of time, and the screen appears with the available shortcuts you can use. If you find these shortcuts handy, we have a complete list of Windows logo key shortcuts for Windows 10.

v0.16 - Released 3/31/20

File Explorer add-ons - This is a collection of valuable add-ons for File Explorer that extends the functionally of the Preview Pane and Icon Preview. There are currently five (5) Preview Pane and four (4) Icon Preview File Explorer add-ons.
Screen capture of the File Explorer Preview Pane PowerToy for Windows 10 / Windows 11
The current file types that can be rendered in the Preview Pane are: Markdown (.md), SVG (.svg), Developer files (.cpp, .py. etc.), PDF (.pdf) and G-code (.gcode).

File Explorer Preview Pane add-ons

The current file types that can have Icon thumb previews are: SVG (.svg), PDF (.pdf), G-code (.gcode) and STL (.stl).

File Explorer Icon thumb preview add-ons

Image Resizer - This utility is similar to the one for Windows XP, but this version has way more features. Right-click on one or more images, and you will get a context menu. Left-click on Resize pictures, and you get the Image Resizer screen.
Screen capture of the Image Resizer PowerToy for Windows 10 / Windows 11
There are several picture sizes to choose from, or you can create a custom size. Left-click on the Settings link, and you get even more options for resizing your images. A must-have for anybody that does photo editing.

v0.18 - Released 5/19/20

Keyboard Manager - This utility allows you to remap a single key on your keyboard to another. You can also map current keyboard shortcuts to different key combinations.
Screen capture of the Keyboard Manager PowerToy for Windows 10 / Windows 11
Keep in mind that when remapping keyboard shortcuts, you are limited to a combination of two keys.

PowerToys Run - This utility can perform all sorts of different functions. Type a couple of letters, and PowerToys Run will display a list of programs, folders, and files with the letter(s) in their name(s).
Screen capture of the PowerToys Run for Windows 10 / Windows 11
It can also search for running processes, run shell commands, and do simple math calculations.

v0.20 - Released 7/31/20

Color Picker - This utility will display the color of anything you place your mouse cursor over in both HEX and RGB values. You can copy the color value to the clipboard by left-clicking on the object.
Screen capture of the Color Picker PowerToy for Windows 10 / Windows 11
You can change the hotkey shortcut used to bring up Color Picker, and the values (HEX or RGB) copied to the clipboard. And if you have a scroll wheel on your mouse, you can use it to bring up a magnifier window to get an even more detailed color pick.

v0.41.2 - Released 6/28/21

Awake - This utility will keep your Windows 10 computer from going asleep. This is really handy when you are doing updates and upgrades. No more do you have to create a special power plan to keep your computer awake.

Screen capture of the Awake PowerToy for Windows 10 / Windows 11

Remember that if your computer goes to sleep, anything it was doing, like performing a Windows 10 Feature update, will be paused. So when you need to prevent your computer from going asleep, Awake can be the perfect solution.

v0.49.0 - Released 10/28/21

Video Conference Mute - This utility lets you turn off your camera and mute your microphone with a single keystroke. This utility has finally made it to the stable release of PowerToys, as it was previously categorized as experimental in previous releases.

Screen capture of the Video Conference Mute PowerToy for Windows 10 / Windows 11

There are three (3) keyboard shortcuts that the Video Conference Mute utility uses. The first one will mute the camera and microphone, the second will mute just the microphone, and the third will mute just the camera. And these shortcuts can be customized to a user's preference.

Mouse utilities - This is a collection of useful apps that extends and enhance the functionality of the mouse and cursor in Windows 10 / Windows 11. Currently, there are two (2) utilities in the collection: Find My Mouse and Mouse Highlighter.

Screen capture of the Find My Mouse PowerToy for Windows 10 / Windows 11

Find My Mouse is a simple utility that displays a spotlight on the mouse cursor when the left control key is pressed twice. Quite handy when you are using multiple screens.

Screen capture of the Mouse Highlighter PowerToy for Windows 10 / Windows 11

Mouse Highlighter is another simple utility that highlights the mouse cursor when clicking either mouse button. You can choose which color is displayed for each mouse button (left or right), the opacity, radius, fade delay, and fade duration.

Screen capture of the Mouse Pointer Crosshairs PowerToy

Mouse Pointer Crosshairs is another simple utility that, when activated, shows crosshairs across the entire screen to indicate the mouse pointer's location.

v0.53.1 - Released 1/6/22

Always on Top - This utility will keep a program that is running on top of all of the rest of the open program windows. This PowerToy can be helpful if you have a program that you want to always be in front of all other app windows.

Screen capture of the Always on Top PowerToy for Windows 10 / Windows 11

Along with putting a particular app window in front of the others, you can also have a border around that window. You can select the color and thickness of the border. You can also have Always on Top play a sound when you activate it.

If you would like to give the PowerToys a try, I include two (2) links at the bottom of this article. The PowerToys are only available for the 64-bit versions of Windows 10 and Windows 11. As I told you before, the PowerToys download is on GitHub, and for an average Windows user may be kind of hard to find.

The first link is to the PowerToys project description page. It has an overview of all of the programs included in the PowerToys.
Windows 10 / Windows 11 PowerToys download link on GitHub
The second link is to the PowerToys releases page. The link to download PowerToys is in the Assets section at the bottom of each release.

Windows 10 / Windows 11 PowerToys on GitHub - Description page
Windows 10 / Windows 11 PowerToys on GitHub - Download page

RAW Image Viewers for Windows

When I migrated from Windows XP to Windows 7, one of the things I have missed is the Microsoft Powertoys. A couple of the functions have been integrated into Windows 7 (Open Command Window Here and Power Calculator). However, there are a few I am still looking for applications to replace them with.

One of them is the RAW Image Viewer. I am into digital photography and like to organize and work with digital RAW image files in Windows Explorer (much as you can with JPEG images). But Windows does not have support for this format built-in. Well, I am glad to say I have found a replacement for it.

FastPictureViewer is a free collection of 32 and 64-bit RAW Image Decoders for Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8.1, and Windows 10.

Once installed, you have the same features for RAW image formats in Windows as you do with JPEG, BMP, PNG, GIF, and TIFF, complete with thumbnails in Explorer, preview, slide show support in Photo Gallery / Photo Viewer, and metadata search integration.

For more information and to download FastPictureViewer, please visit their web site.

Image Resizer Powertoy Clone for Windows

Updated October 13, 2020

When I migrated from Windows XP to Windows 7, one of the things I have missed is the Microsoft PowerToys. A couple of functions have been integrated into Windows 7 (Open Command Window Here and Power Calculator). However, there are a few I am still looking for applications to replace them with.

One of the applications you could integrate into Windows Explorer was Image Resizer. With a right-click on a picture, you could quickly resize a photo without opening an application. Well, I am glad to say I have found a replacement for it.

Image Resizer PowerToy Clone is, as its name implies, a clone of the original Microsoft PowerToy. Image Resizer has also been incorporated into the Windows 10 PowerToys.

Right-click on a photo and choose 'Resize Pictures' from the context menu.

Then select a size to make the pictures smaller, not larger, or to resize the originals, or make copies. Then click OK. It's that simple. And it's available in both 32 and 64-bit versions for Windows Vista and Windows 7.

For more information and to download Image Resizer PowerToy Clone for Windows, follow the links below.

Image Resizer for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1

Image Resizer (Windows 10 PowerToys) for Windows 10

Free Microsoft PowerToys for Windows XP

PowerToys add fun and functionality to the Windows experience. What are they? PowerToys are additional programs that developers work on after a product has been released.

Color Control Panel Applet
Professional-level photographers and designers know that getting consistent, accurate color from file to screen to print and beyond is a requirement for great results. This new tool helps you manage Windows color settings in one place. Download or learn more.

SyncToy
With new sources of files coming from every direction (such as digital cameras, e-mail, cell phones, portable media players, camcorders, PDAs, and laptops), SyncToy can help you copy, move, and synchronize different directories. Download or learn more.

RAW Image Thumbnailer and Viewer
Are you a serious photographer? Now you can organize and work with digital RAW files in Windows Explorer (much as you can with JPEG images). This tool provides thumbnails, previews, printing, and metadata display for RAW images. Download or learn more.

ClearType Tuner
This PowerToy lets you use ClearType technology to make it easier to read text on your screen and installs in the Control Panel for easy access.

HTML Slide Show Wizard
This wizard helps you create an HTML slide show of your digital pictures, ready to place on your Web site.

Open Command Window Here
This PowerToy adds an "Open Command Window Here" context menu option on file system folders, giving you a quick way to open a command window (cmd.exe) pointing at the selected folder.

Alt-Tab Replacement
With this PowerToy, in addition to seeing the icon of the application window you are switching to, you will also see a preview of the page. This helps immensely when multiple sessions of an application are open.

Tweak UI
This PowerToy gives you access to system settings that are not exposed in the Windows XP default user interface, including mouse settings, Explorer settings, taskbar settings, and more.

Version 2.10 requires Windows XP Service Pack 1 or Windows Server 2003.

Power Calculator
With this PowerToy, you can graph and evaluate functions and perform many different types of conversions.

Image Resizer
This PowerToy enables you to resize one or many image files with a right-click.

CD Slide Show Generator
With this PowerToy, you can view images burned to a CD as a slide show. The Generator works downlevel on Windows 9x machines as well.

Virtual Desktop Manager
Manage up to four desktops from the Windows taskbar with this PowerToy.

Taskbar Magnifier
Use this PowerToy to magnify part of the screen from the taskbar.

Webcam Timershot
This PowerToy lets you take pictures at specified time intervals from a Webcam connected to your computer and save them to a location that you designate.

Since Windows XP has reached its end-of-life, Microsoft PowerToys for Windows XP is no longer available for download.

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