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Power Toys: tools to tweak the behaviour of Windows
Part one of a five-part series of blogs

You can use these hidden gems to reassign or disable keys on your keyboard, detect pixel colours in a website, display a Windows short-cut key guide … and much more!

  1. Power Toys: tools to tweak the behaviour of Windows (this blog)
  2. Using the colour picker
  3. The keyboard manager
  4. Using the mouse utilties to find your mouse
  5. The Windows key shortcut guide

Posted by Andy Brown on 20 January 2022

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Power Toys: tools to tweak the behaviour of Windows

Power Toys is the collective name for a suite of software utilities which I would be wary of installing on any laptop, were it not for the fact that they're written and promoted by Microsoft!  How had we never heard of them until now?

Power Toys icon

You can install Power Toys from the website linked to above (the icon is a bit old-fashioned though).

 

Here's a list of the utilities included:

List of utilities

Out of these it's the Color Picker, Keyboard Manager, Mouse utilities and Shortcut Guide which seem most useful (these are the ones I've covered in the rest of this blog).

 

Here's what all the utilities do:

Utility What it does
Always On Top Allows you to designate for any window that it should always remain visible (preventing it from being hidden by any other).
Awake Lets you suspend any auto-sleep function on your computer while running a critical task.
Color Picker Lets you see the colour of any selected pixel.
FancyZones Creates rectangular areas of your screen into which you can dock windows (you'd have to have a very large screen surely to make this worthwhile?).
File Explorer add-ons Lets you preview PDF and certain images files in File Explorer.
Image Resizer Lets you change the size of selected images by right-clicking on them (you can create custom sizes to snap to - useful when you want to force a set of images to all be the same size).
Keyboard Manager Lets you reassign or cancel particular keys on your keyboard.
Mouse utilities Allows you to show a searchlight beam where you mouse is, with variable beam size and colour.
PowerRename Lets you rename multiple selected files simultaneously in File Explorer.
PowerToys Run Makes it easier to run applications by typing in their name at a prompt in the middle of your screen.
Shortcut Guide Shows what all the Windows short-cut keys do.
Video Conference Mute Lets you assign keys to turn on or off your camera and microphone during online meetings.
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