Updates Microsoft releases first preview of PowerToys for Windows 10

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The first public release of PowerToys is now available for download featuring the two utilities FanzyZones and Shortcuts Guide. Microsoft revealed in May 2019 that it wanted to revive PowerToys and make it open source in the process.

Veteran Windows users may remember PowerToys from the Windows 95 and Windows XP days; these lightweight tools introduced new features and options to the Windows systems: from adding virtual desktops and viewing Cab files to an advanced graphical calculator, resolution changer, and clock on the desktop.

The initial preview release of PowerToys features the two utilities FancyZones and Windows key shortcut guide.

Installation is straightforward. Download the PowerToys installer from the official project page on GitHub and execute it after the download. You may want to disable the autostart of the PowerToys during logon unless you plan to use them extensively.

An icon is placed in the system tray area when you launch PowerToys after installation. A click on it opens the settings which you may use to enable or disable individual utilities. If you only want to use FanzyZones, you could disable Shortcut Guide.

 

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All Microsoft’s PowerToys for Windows 10, Explained:
Microsoft is hard at work on PowerToys for Windows 10. This open-source project adds many powerful features to Windows, from a bulk file renamer to an Alt+Tab alternative that lets you search for windows from your keyboard.

We originally published this article on April 1, 2020. We’ve updated it with information about the latest PowerToys: PowerToys Run and Keyboard Manager for launching applications and managing keyboard shortcuts. They’re part of PowerToys 0.18, which Microsoft released on April 19, 2020.
The PowerToys package is still in its early stages, with more tools planned before the 1.0 release. Microsoft expects to release the final version in September 2020.
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GitHub home page:
 

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Microsoft today released version 0.19 of PowerToys, its collection of utilities and tools for power users on Windows 10. Despite being a "major" release in the timeline, there are no new features in this version, and it focuses exclusively on adding bug fixes and quality improvements. This comes after last month's version 0.18, which added PowerToys Run and Keyboard Manager to the suite of tools, and that release already had two minor bug fix updates.

If you're interested in the full list of fixes, you can find it on GitHub, where you can also download the latest version of PowerToys.

 

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PowerToys version 0.27 out with a bunch of improvements and bug fixes:
After a hiatus of a little more than a month, Microsoft has released PowerToys version 0.27 with a bunch of new features and improvements to the suite of tools. The firm says it skipped version 0.26 for “higher priority work”. For those that were waiting for the Video Conference Mute utility, the wait will be slightly longer, as the team notes that it will be present in the upcoming experimental release and will make it to the general versions later.

As for the additions and improvements made in this release, there are changes to many of the tools, including a new interface for the Color Picker and the Image Resizer, multi-monitor editor improvements in FancyZones that was teased recently, and more. The firm also notes that it fixed many accessibility issues and improved localization – for which the firm is still gathering feedback. The installer has also received some improvements.
 

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PowerToys pre-release version 0.28 out with a minor addition to the Video Conference utility:
As promised earlier this week, Microsoft has released a new version of its PowerToys suite of tools to users running the experimental releases, bumping up the version to 0.28. The update contains all the additions and fixes that were introduced in version 0.27, along with the Video Conference Mute utility that helps users globally mute audio in video calls.

The company plans to integrate the tool into the regular release in the coming weeks and is currently fixing bugs and finalizing the offering. The company adds in today’s notes that it is currently “looking into changing the virtual webcam driver into a DirectShow filter” for ironing out issues and "quirks". The change, however, is not part of this release. The firm has also added an optional image overlay for video in the utility.

Additionally, the company notes that the release cannot be installed through WinGet and that the release will only be automatically offered to users running the experimental version. For those interested, the team is also maintaining an issue tracker for the Video Conference Mute utility here. There is no information on the possible timeframe for the launch of the tool.

You can check the release notes and download the update package from the GitHub page here.
 

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Microsoft releases PowerToys version 0.27.1 with bug fixes:
Last week, Microsoft released PowerToys version 0.27 that brought with it a bunch of improvements to the suite of tools, including a new interface for Color Picker and Image Resizer, a host of fixes for general reliability, and more. Today, the firm is releasing a minor update to fix a few issues in the tools, bumping up the version to 0.27.1.

The company says that the patch aims to fix five issues that it “deemed important for stability”, especially for FancyZones and Color Picker, which received enhancements in the previous major release. These issues include crashes and other performance hiccups that make the tools difficult to use.

The firm adds that the next major version of the suite of tools, version 0.29, is expected to be released by the end of this month – presumably before the holidays – which should also contain the Video Conference Mute utility that the firm added to the experimental version.

As usual, this release can be downloaded from the GitHub page here, or directly through the tool. It must be noted, however, that users running the experimental version will not receive this update. The next release for those users will contain all the fixes made to the tools in version 0.27.1.
 

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PowerToys pre-release version 0.36 out with a video conference mute tool:
Microsoft has released an experimental version of PowerToys that comes with support for the video conference mute tool. Microsoft notes that this is the first release with the webcam driver actually being a DirectShow filter which "solves a multitude of quirks".

The video conference mute tool first debuted with the version 0.22 update but was subsequently removed as the firm needed to do some additional work. In case you don't remember, the video conference mute tool gave users universal controls to mute video and audio while video conferencing.

Along with the video conferencing tool, Microsoft has added all the features that were released with the PowerToys version 0.35 update. These included general and feature specific fixes, new shortcuts to quickly swap between different layouts in FancyZones and more.

While Microsoft is confident that the conference mute tool is ready to be tested again, the team is maintaining a known issues tracker for the same. You can check out the list of known issues and limitations below:
  • with some webcams, there is an incompatibility with Teams and the overlay image is not rendered, instead a corrupted frame is shown. If your camera has this quirk, please let us know the model in the [main tracking issue - #6246]
  • the application preview (Teams, Meet, etc.) may show the overlay image flipped horizontally but that is expected, the image will show correctly to the other people on the call.
  • in order to enable/disable the VCM, PowerToys should run as administrator
  • changes to some of the VCM settings require the application to restart to pick up the new values such as a new overlay image.
  • in some cases, the overlay image can be shown flipped vertically (the workaround is to edit the image and flip it before selecting it).
  • (#6246)
  • if the PowerToys Video Conference Mute webcam doesn't show up in the video conference app, try restarting the app and if still doesn't show up try restarting Windows.
The new update pushes the PowerToys version to 0.36 and is available for download via GitHub. Microsoft is also expected to roll out version 0.37 soon which will be a stable release and will start requiring Windows 10 version 1903 or higher for PowerToys to work.
 
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