PowerToys update gives Windows 11 users new tools to play with

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Microsoft has released the latest version of PowerToys (opens in new tab) for Windows 11 (opens in new tab) and thanks to the open source (opens in new tab) community, power users now have a number of new features to test out.

Although version 0.53 of the software giant's set of utilities for power users was originally intended to be an incremental release, contributors to the project were able to add several features including G-code support in the file explorer preview pane and thumbnails, a web search plugin and a new Always on Top utility.

First introduced with Windows 95 and then brought back for Windows 10 (opens in new tab) three years ago, PowerToys are a set of tools that are designed to make it more convenient to use Microsoft's operating system to its full potential. However, these tools aren't intended for the average user but for those who already know their way around Windows and want to be able to access key features and settings even faster. 

PowerToys v0.53.1

The latest PowerToys release includes new features to help power users be even more productive when using Windows.

The first new feature is the Always on Top utility that allows users to toggle a window in focus to be on top with a quick press of Win + Ctrl + T. To revert the window back to normal though, you just need to input this keyboard shortcut a second time on your Windows PC (opens in new tab) or laptop (opens in new tab).

Opening up your favorite search engine (opens in new tab) and browser (opens in new tab) is now also easier as this can be done in PowerToys Run by entering “??” along with a question. For example, typing “?? What is the answer to life” will bring up Microsoft Edge and Bing or Google Chrome and Google Search along with search results answering your question.

Microsoft has also changed the hotkey to mute your webcam (opens in new tab) and microphone from Win + N to Win + Shift + Q to avoid conflict with an existing Windows 11 keyboard shortcut. Being able to mute your webcam and microphone with the press of a button can be particularly useful when using the company's video conferencing software (opens in new tab).

While these are just some of the highlights of the latest version of PowerToys , you can check out the full release notes (opens in new tab) on GitHub (opens in new tab) to see all of the changes and improvements.

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Anthony Spadafora

After working with the TechRadar Pro team for the last several years, Anthony is now the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. When not writing, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.