September 27, 2020

PowerToys v0.21.1 releases: Windows system utilities to maximize productivity

2 min read

PowerToys is a set of utilities for power users to tune and streamline their Windows experience for greater productivity. Inspired by the Windows 95 era PowerToys project, this reboot provides power users with ways to squeeze more efficiency out of the Windows 10 shell and customize it for individual workflows.

PowerToy Utilities


FancyZones – FancyZones is a window manager that makes it easy to create complex window layouts and quickly position windows into those layouts. The FancyZones backlog can be found here


Windows key shortcut guide – The shortcut guide appears when a user holds the Windows key down for more than one second and shows the available shortcuts for the current state of the desktop. The shortcut guide backlog can be found here


PowerRename – PowerRename is a Windows Shell Extension for advanced bulk renaming using search and replaces or regular expressions. PowerRename allows simple search and replaces or more advanced regular expression matching. While you type in the search and replace input fields, the preview area will show what the items will be renamed to. PowerRename then calls into the Windows Explorer file operations engine to perform the rename. This has the benefit of allowing the rename operation to be undone after PowerRename exits.

Chris Davis contributed his SmartRename tool into PowerToys!


Additional utilities in the pipeline are

  • Maximize to new desktop widget – The MTND widget shows a pop-up button when a user hovers over the maximize/restore button on any window. Clicking it creates a new desktop, sends the app to that desktop and maximizes the app on the new desktop.
  • Process terminate tool
  • Animated gif screen recorder


The full backlog of utilities can be found here.

Changelog v0.21.1

PT Run:

  • Removed need for space in action keywords. This means you now can type >ipconfig
  • Icon caches fixed and now has colored icons
  • Improved font rendering via ClearType (Shout out to @AnuthaDev doing the heavy lifting here)
  • Result speed improvements
  • URLs are supported
  • Fixed bugs including calculating bugs


  • Win+Arrow key is directional based on zone rect
  • Fixed bugs


  • Fixed toast notifications running elevated from non-admin account

Shortcut Guide:

  • Improved vkey catching which will fix some use cases of it not showing up

SVG in File Explorer:

  • Embedded image tags will now render in Explorer

Color Picker:

  • Fixed bug where it would launch via false positive keystrokes


  • Settings, PT Run and KBM undergoing improvements


  • Pipeline is now setup and will be doing a full E2E pass on all utilities shortly.

Dev quality of life improvements:

  • Continued warning count reduction. This release ~80 removed
  • StyleCop enabled E2E
  • FxCop starting to be added in E2E