Microsoft released PowerToys 0.65.0 this week, but compared to the previous version, the new version does not offer new utilities. However, PowerToys 0.65 comes with some great new features, bug fixes and improvements. Microsoft highlighted three new features, including support for custom formats in Color Picker, and a new description of the selected character in Quick Accent. The company also points out that the code base in the latest version of PowerToys has been upgraded to work with .Net 7.
Microsoft PowerToys is a collection of free system tools for power users. PowerToys was first released on Windows 95 and included 15 tools for power users. Tweak UI, a system tool that made it possible to tweak Windows’ more obscure settings, is one such well-known tool. Tweak UI exposes settings that can only be accessed by directly editing the Windows registry. Capitalizing on this success, the Redmond company later launched another series of tools, about six in all, known as Windows 95 Kernel Toys.
The latter was always the place for experienced users of the operating system. Then there was the second version of the PowerToys tools, launched this time under Windows XP. This toolkit was a major change from the Windows 95 release. The tools in this package were available as separate downloads rather than in a single package. Among them, we could distinguish CD Slideshow Generator to generate a slide show of images burned on a CD, ClearType Tuner to adjust the ClearType parameters to facilitate the reading of the text on the screen and many others.
Afterwards, there were other kinds of utilities for other versions of Windows, and Microsoft also released Windows Mobile PowerToys for developers, Visual Studio, and Microsoft Office OneNote. Although popular among Windows users, PowerToys tools seemed to disappear with Windows XP, as they didn’t talk much in the company’s latest operating systems. But in May 2019, Microsoft announced their return as an open source project aimed at giving power users a way to get more out of the Windows 10 Shell.
About a month after PowerToys 0.64, Microsoft released PowerToys 0.65 this week. Although this update does not contain any new utilities, it is still an important update due to the number of changes and new features that have been added to individual modules. In addition, the entire codebase has been upgraded to work with .NET 7. Among the modules that have been updated are Color Picker, which gets a new option for creating color formats, and Quick Accent, which now displays character descriptions. Below are the highlights of PowerToys 0.65:
- updated ModernWPF 0.9.4 dependency to avoid issues with some virtualization technologies;
- updated and fixed code to work with .NET 7.
- added telemetry;
- Removed awake output from status bar icon on launch from launcher. Utilities launched from the launcher should be disabled in Settings to avoid inconsistencies.
- fix infinite loop due to UI refreshing loop;
- added functionality that allows users to create their own color formats.
- fixed an issue where disabling spaces between areas would not apply correctly;
- fixed a bug that caused FancyZones to try to resize hidden windows;
- fix focus layout preview being empty when first run in editor;
- fixed UI margin in “Create New Layout” dialog;
- fixed window positioning issues when switching between virtual desktops;
- Fixed hotkeys in single box layouts.
- added mappings for mu, omicron, upsilon and thorn characters;
- added option to exclude applications from Quick Accent activation;
- fixed an issue that caused the clicker to trigger when exiting the lock screen;
- added Croatian, Dutch, Swedish and Welsh character sets;
- added support for more Unicode characters;
- Shift + Space can now navigate back in the selector;
- added Catalan accent characters;
- added characters with Kurdish accent;
- added characters with Serbian accent;
- added characters with Irish and Scottish accents.
- Added description of the character currently selected in the selector;
- fixed a bug that caused an empty window to appear in the selector.
- fixed some bugs in GitHub issue templates;
- Windows implementation library update;
- added Hosts file editor for issue templates;
- enable C++ code analysis and incrementally correct warnings;
- cleanup of unused dependencies;
- fix build on latest version of MSVC;
- fix multiprocessor build on latest version of MSBuild;
- optimization of each PNG file with the zopfli algorithm;
- updated .vsconfig file for faster development configuration;
- fixing a language error in the code;
- fix wrong x86 target in solution file;
- added script to fail build when nuget packages are not consolidated;
- updated Vanara.Invoke dependencies;
- updating and returning the spell checker.
- fixed name of parameters in QuickAccent page;
- added no network available message when checking for updates;
- fixed a bug where the backup/restore function could not find the backup file;
- fixed localization of the “All apps” phrase on the keyboard manager page;
- UI redesign, cleanup and introduction of modern controls;
- the backup/restore feature also backs up FancyZone’s layouts.
In addition to these changes, this release also contains some known issues that you should be aware of. You may encounter problems with the Text Extractor tool, the Options window, PowerRename, and the Image Resize tool. The release notes identify the following issues:
- The Text Extractor tool does not recognize text in some cases on ARM64 devices running Windows 10;
- After installing PowerToys, the new Windows 11 context menu items for PowerRename and Image Resizer may not appear until a system reboot;
- there are reports of users not opening the Settings window. This is due to incompatibility with certain applications (RTSS RivaTuner Statistics Server is a known example). If you are affected by this issue, please see the linked issue to check if any of the solutions shown work for you.
Microsoft also announced the arrival of a quick launcher, which means that it will be possible to use an icon in the system tray to launch various tools. The drop-down menu is customizable, so if you don’t use any PowerToys, there’s no need to waste space with unnecessary shortcuts. Niels Laute from PowerToy’s development team shared an animation that gives a good idea of what the menu looks like.
Along with a list of jumps, the launcher will be used to highlight the availability of new updates, so you can be sure you always have the latest version of PowerToys installed. There’s no official word on when this new utility will launch, but you can follow the progress on PowerToys’ GitHub repo. According to the GitHub specs, here are the features of PowerToys Quick Launcher:
- layout showing activated modules that can be launched using the launcher;
- the tooltip for each module shows the activation shortcut;
- parameters and documentation can be opened;
- modules that are disabled will not be displayed;
- if an update is available, it will be displayed to alert you.
Source: PowerToys 0.65
What do you think of the changes in PowerToys 0.65?
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