Microsoft is rebooting and open sourcing PowerToys, the Windows 95 utilities that brought power users the popular Tweak UI, which allowed users to manipulate the Windows user interface, and over a dozen other tools.
Microsoft is planning to publish previews of PowerToys utilities via GitHub this summer, along with the source code under an MIT license, as it did with the recently open-sourced Windows Calculator app. Likewise, it is also encouraging any fans to give feedback about which features it should prioritize for PowerToys.
The effort will see PowerTools rebuilt for Windows 10, after the set of utilities was abandoned following the release of Windows XP.
The first of the two utilities Microsoft is working on is MTND or the "maximize to new desktop" widget. MTND shows a pop-up button when the user hovers over the maximize and restore button on a window.
"Clicking it creates a new desktop, sends the app to that desktop and maximizes the app on the new desktop," Microsoft notes.
The second feature scheduled is a Windows key shortcut guide, which appears when a user holds the Windows key down for more than one second. It shows shortcuts available for the current state of the desktop.
Other utilities Microsoft may release and wants user feedback about include:
- Full window manager, including specific layouts for docking and undocking laptops.
- Keyboard shortcut manager.
- Win+R replacement.
- Better Alt+Tab functionality, including browser tab integration and search for running apps.
- Battery tracker.
- Batch file re-namer.
- Quick resolution swaps in the taskbar.
- Mouse events without focus.
- Cmd (or PS or Bash) from here.
- Contents menu file browsing.
Microsoft took a similar approach with contributor suggestions when it open sourced the Windows Calculator app this March. The company recently opted to proceed with a graphing mode as the first of 30 proposed features for the app. It allows users to create graphs based on mathematical equations.