New PowerToys features may not be considered the most exciting upcoming addition to Windows 10, but many power users will be well aware of their value. 

Microsoft announced the return of PowerToys in 2019, as an enhanced set of tools aimed at maximising productivity and adding customisation to your experience.

What are PowerToys?

PowerToys are a series of subtle UI tweaks aimed at improving productivity and enhancing the user experience. They mainly consist of shortcuts and workaround, but also offer extensive scope for customisation. 

PowerToys were originally introduced back on Windows 95, before being dropped with the move to Windows 7 in 2009.

Almost a decade later, Microsoft announced that PowerToys would be returning. While earlier versions focused almost exclusively on power users, its reintroduction will cater more to mainstream needs. 

At Build 2020, Microsoft announced the arrival of a PowerToys Run launcher, which makes it easier to quickly access shortcuts and tools from a single search. This is also open source, allowing many developers to build functionality directly into search. 

Currently, PowerToys fall into the following categories:

  • General
  • FancyZones – Arrange and snap windows into a specific layout to support your workflow
  • File Explorer Preview
  • Image Resizer
  • Keyboard Manager – Remap the keyboard and add shortcuts to suit you
  • PowerRename – Quickly rename and group files
  • PowerToys Run

How to use PowerToys on Windows 10

More PowerToys features are set to officially arrive in the upcoming Windows 10 May 2020 update, so you can’t use all the tools just yet. 

However, downloading the above launcher will add additional functionality to the search function. Once downloaded, it will work in the same way as the Run command has on Windows, so just hit the Windows key + R to start using. 

The aforementioned Keyboard Manager is also available in the latest version of PowerToys. Alongside the other categories listed above, customisation options will be available via the settings menu. 

This app is also set to auto-update by default, so you’ll always have access to the latest version of PowerToys.