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Ryan Jones
Ryan Jones

Windows 10: First Open Source PowerToys Released [REPACK]

FancyZones, one of the two newly released PowerToys, is a window manager that enables you to set up elaborate window layouts and easily move windows into those layouts, while also having the choice to restore the layout if any of the windows get moved around.

Windows 10: First Open Source PowerToys released

Originally released for Windows 95, the PowerToys collection added a range of functionality missing from the base operating system: The ability to open Cabinet-format archives as though there were simply folders, an AutoPlay system, a rapid display resolution switcher, mouse-focus, and the ability to open Windows Explorer or the Command Prompt by right-clicking on any location were among the original features added, alongside a configuration editor dubbed TweakUI. As time went on, many of the features from the PowerToys collection would be added to the base operating system; Windows XP would see the final PowerToys release, including a more powerful calculator, the ability to generate thumbnails for RAW-format images, a file synchronisation package dubbed SyncToy, a batch image resizer, and a tool for tuning the ClearType subpixel font interpolation engine for better-looking text.

PowerToys for Windows 10, however, isn't quite as feature-rich as its predecessors. This initial preview release comes with just two Toys: The Windows Key Shortcut Guide, an overlay which displays the keyboard shortcuts available in a given context; and FancyZones, a new window manager designed to make it easier to tile open windows via snapping and automatic resizing into a preconfigured layout.

Those interested in backing one or more of the above potential PowerToys should head on over to the GitHub repository and use issues and "+1"s as the desired means of feedback. Furthermore, this time round, the company will be open sourcing code for the first two utilities sometime in summer 2019 when the first previews are set to be released.

Microsoft revealed plans to revive PowerToys back in May, the classic power user utility of Windows 95 vintage, with a preview coming later in the summer months. Well, summer is almost over, and the Windows 10 PowerToys preview is here. As Microsoft has shifted to an open-source model, PowerToys and its accompanying source code is all available via GitHub. You can grab the installer here.

This first preview contains just two utilities: a Windows key shortcut guide and a window manager called FancyZones. The Windows key shortcut guide acts as a full screen overlay (as seen below), showing a menu of dynamic shortcuts and their respective actions germane to the current desktop and active windows.

FancyZones is designed to ease workflow by allowing users to drag and drop open windows or applications into predetermined zones on a desktop, resulting in the window being resized and positioned to fill up that zone. Users will also be able to create and edit layouts, with the ability to quickly restore these layouts.

The profound cultural shift towards open source did at Microsoft was the result of sustained efforts within the company by open source advocates. Microsoft's shift is a model for positively transforming organizations. It is also a testament to the power of collaboration in technology. After Build 2020 it is now clear Microsoft is a Linux and open source company.

This is a very brief timeline of Microsoft's evolution into an open source leader. It is an attempt to provide historical context of a two-decades-long process. An open source version of this post is maintained on GitHub.

Microsoft is all on the open source train right now, with most of the Build 2020 focusing on this theme. After releasing Windows Terminal 1.0, the company has now released a Spotlight-like launcher app for Windows 10 through its PowerToys. PowerToys v0.18 release brings PowerToys Run and a Keyboard Manager.

Microsoft reintroduced PowerToys last year, opening up the Windows 95 set of utilities to the open source community to build tools for power users. In the last year, we have seen several utilities being tested and released for Windows 10 users to play around with. These include a Windows key shortcut guide, a window manager called FancyZones, and PowerRename, a utility that makes it easy to batch rename a bunch of files. During its initial announcement of rebooting PowerToys, the company had listed Win + R replacement as one of the utilities it was considering to develop.

PowerToys for Windows 10 was first launched in 2019 and it is based on the same approach as Windows 95-era power-user tool. Towards the end of 2020, Microsoft updated the open-source tool with some new features and UI improvements designed specifically for Windows 10.

Microsoft has released Windows 10 PowerToys (or Microsoft PowerToys) that includes different utilities such as view the list of Windows 10 shortcuts, arrange windows column wise, row wise, in grid, keyboard shortcut manager, batch file renamer, battery tracker, open Command Prompt window here (in the current location), and more.

Microsoft PowerToys was first introduced in Windows 95 and it was not available for Windows 10 till now. But, those who want to use Microsoft PowerToys in Windows 10, this is a good news. It is open source also. Before you rush, do note that this is the preview release of Microsoft PowerToys for Windows 10. Currently, only two tools are available to use. These are:

Microsoft PowerToys is a set of freeware system utilities designed for power users developed by Microsoft for use on the Windows operating system. These programs add or change features to maximize productivity or add more customization. PowerToys are available for Windows 95, Windows XP, Windows 10 and Windows 11.[3] The PowerToys for Windows 10 and Windows 11 are free and open-source software licensed under the MIT License and hosted on GitHub.

Right now, there are only three PowerToys. However, the much older versions had over 20 tools. Plus, this is an open-source project, so expect to see more PowerToys added by Microsoft and by independent developers.

The release of Windows Terminal v1.0 was not entirely surprising. Announced at Build 2019 with a source package for the brave, the open source command line tool has come along nicely over the last year, adding some initially clunky support for tabs as well as a delightfully retro CRT screen effect.

Fortunately, distribution rights do not apply for internal use. With any edition of Chocolatey (including the free open source edition), you can host your own packages and cache or internalize existing community packages.


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