This Free Utility from Microsoft Speeds up Your Work at Times. It Has Been Around Since Windows 95.

Posted on the 13 July 2023 by Top10
This free utility from Microsoft speeds up your work at times.  It has been around since Windows 95.

Since Windows 95, Microsoft has supported a set of system utilities called PowerToys, which, of course, is also implemented on Windows 10 and Windows 11. This is a separate application that allows you to manage extremely useful utilities that significantly expand the capabilities of the OS, simplify life in many situations, and allow perform certain actions much faster. I decided to choose the most useful from an impressive list of utilities - they are easy to get used to, but hard to refuse. And, of course, I would really like to see all this integrated natively in Windows 12.

Peek - quick file preview

Insanely simple, but just as handy, Peek allows you to quickly view various types of files directly from File Explorer without launching the default application for a particular format. For example, if you need to find a specific frame in a huge album of photos, then just press Ctrl + "Space" and then use the left and right arrows to scroll through the content without launching the same Photoshop or any other graphics editor. The utility is especially useful if there are several very similar frames, but you need to find the best one. And this works not only with images, but also with web pages, Markdown files and text files, although the software still cannot handle heavy files.

Image Resizer - conveniently compress images

The need to change the resolution of images in certain scenarios of working with a PC arises very often. And if we are talking about working with one file, then, of course, you can change its parameters even from Paint or any other graphic editor, but when there are 10-20 images, it will take too much time and effort. The Image Resizer utility allows you to avoid these difficulties - the application allows you to change the resolution of the required number of images at a time according to pre-prepared templates or according to special parameters. In the settings, you can create the necessary templates, set the compression quality, format, and much more.

Keyboard Manager - reconfiguring keyboard keys

The need to remap keyboard keys arises quite often - due to non-working buttons, uncomfortable layouts, habits, or simply wishes. Previously, third-party and rather clumsy software was used for these purposes, but now Microsoft has a proprietary utility that works great and is very easy to set up. Moreover, here you can remap not only the keys on the keyboard, but also entire keyboard shortcuts. For example, if you are used to the fact that there is always a Ctrl button in the lower left corner of the keyboard, then this can be implemented on any keyboard in the world.

PowerRename - advanced file renaming

The file renaming tool built into Windows is, to put it mildly, outdated, and PowerRename is an improved version of it. You can quickly rename a huge number of files, replace only part of the name, adjust the editing format (lowercase letter, all capital letters, capital letters for each new word), apply changes to all matching files in a specific folder, and so on. It is very convenient for quickly renaming a large stream of similarly named files, TV series series, documents, photographs, data archives. And, most importantly, the utility allows you to change not only the name of the file, but also its permission (or only it).

This Free Utility from Microsoft Speeds Your Work Times. Been Around Since Windows
This Free Utility from Microsoft Speeds Your Work Times. Been Around Since Windows

PowerToys Run - an improved analogue of Spotlight

The PowerToys Run utility resembles the Spotlight search bar from macOS, but has, perhaps, even more useful features. For example, you can launch the desired application or web page directly from the line, calculate something in a calculator, convert meters to centimeters, go to the registry, launch the console, or put the computer to sleep. This utility has a lot of different plug-ins (unnecessary ones can be safely disabled) and flexible settings for issuing results, so with due attention, it significantly increases productivity and speed of performing various tasks.

FancyZones - Flexible Windowing

By default, Windows 10 and 11 provide fairly simple tools for managing the layout of windows on the screen, which are suitable for simple scenarios (like having multiple browsers on the same monitor), but completely fall short in complex ones when flexible customization is needed. The FancyZones utility completely eliminates this problem - you can create a window layout template of any complexity (or use ready-made ones), after which, using Shift + LMB, you can very quickly arrange the windows into the desired cells, and the system will adjust the window size itself. In specific work scenarios, this really helps - you can conveniently position the software on the screen and be able to interact with all applications at once without spending half an hour manually stretching windows on the screen.

Text Extractor - extract text from anywhere

A phenomenal tool that allows you to "extract" text content from literally any area on the screen. It is enough to press hotkeys, select an area, and then press Ctrl + V in a text editor or anywhere else. Quickly copy text from the laptop of the protagonist in the series, copy the title of a book and find it in a search engine, collect text from a book page without manually retyping it, get text from a PDF and not worry about formatting - all this works great and does not require additional applications for text recognition or anything else.

This Free Utility from Microsoft Speeds Your Work Times. Been Around Since Windows
This Free Utility from Microsoft Speeds Your Work Times. Been Around Since Windows

Shortcut Guide - all shortcuts in front of your eyes

Shortcuts greatly simplify life, speed up work and make you more efficient, but, unfortunately, remembering everything at once is extremely difficult. The Shortcut Guide utility makes the task a little easier, allowing you to quickly look through the shortcut guide for the operating system in order to remember the keyboard shortcuts or just look at the ones that exist. There is a huge possibility that before the launch of the Shortcut Guide, many users did not even know about the existence of very convenient shortcuts for switching between running applications, launching Explorer, or hiding all active windows - and this is just a part.

This Free Utility from Microsoft Speeds Your Work Times. Been Around Since Windows

Paste As Plain Text - text without formatting

You have to copy text in everyday life all the time - from text documents, PDF files, websites, instant messengers, code editors and more. Unfortunately, sometimes copied text has its own formatting that looks ugly when pasted into a document. You can, of course, permanently remove formatting through the browser address bar or use other life hacks, or simply connect the Paste As Plain Text utility and it will automatically remove text formatting when copying. True, it is recommended to remap the keyboard shortcut to activate the function by creating a shorter shortcut.

This Free Utility from Microsoft Speeds Your Work Times. Been Around Since Windows

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