Microsoft’s Latest Windows PowerToys Are Awesome

Microsoft’s Latest Windows PowerToys Are Awesome
Image: David Murphy

The ever-busy developers at Microsoft have been gradually releasing fun new utilities for Windows users to mess with. These PowerToys tend to add a bit of quirky-but-practical functionality to your operating system, and they’re completely free for you to try. We’ve covered some of their previous offerings, but here are some of the best yet.

Grab the latest PowerToys installer, and let’s get to know Image Resizer and Window Walker.

Image Resizer

By default, all of the various utilities in Microsoft’s PowerToys are enabled when you install the app; you can quickly adjust that in the app settings if there are some you don’t need or want. I just wanted to get that out of the way.

That does mean you can start using Image Resizer as soon as the PowerToys installation is complete. Simply pull up File Explorer, find an image (or images) you’d like to resize and right-click on it. You’ll be able to select a “Resize Pictures option.”

When you do, you’ll get this handy little pop-up:

Screenshot: David Murphy

The most interesting option is the “Custom” preset, which lets you opt to “fit,” “fill” or “stretch” an image to work within the pixel parameters you’ve set. I wouldn’t use “stretch” ever, but “fill” is useful if you need something automatically cropped and “fit,” if I’m correct, means that your resulting image will be resized so it at meets at least your lowest of the two values.

You can even allow Image Resizer to overwrite the original images—an option I wouldn’t advise clicking unless you’re sure of what you’re doing, obviously. You might also consider clicking on the “Settings” link in the lower-left corner, which lets you specify custom sizes, the preferred file type and quality settings for your encoded images and the filenames of your new images. Powerful stuff!

Screenshot: David Murphy

Window Walker

No, this isn’t a Legend of Zelda game. It’s a feature that allows you to search through all of your open applications instead of having to pore over the various windows via the conventional ALT+Tab display. Is it more useful than simply ALT+Tabbing through your windows? If you have two open windows, no. If you have twenty, yes. (You have twenty, don’t you?)

To pull up Window Walker, you’ll need to use a different keyboard shortcut: Windows Key + CTRL. Start typing the name of any open applications and you’ll be able to use your keyboard’s arrow keys to move up and down between potential candidates. Doing this will pull up a live look at each application you can hover through, making it easy to isolate the app you’re trying to find.

Screenshot: David Murphy

And that’s it! Eventually, this feature will be rolled into another “Launcher” project Microsoft is working on—one that will theoretically replace your standard Windows Key+R shortcut (which pulls up the little-used “Run” box).

This article has been updated since its original publication.

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