Microsoft has issued a small update to its PowerToys free suite of utilities, adding three new tools. Two more interesting ones appear to be on the PowerToys roadmap, including a GIF capture tool.
Though useful, the new tools aren’t very dramatic. The most significant addition is a new “crosshair” that can be centered over the mouse pointer, making it easier to find on a crowded screen. Microsoft also added two new File Explorer utilities, one adding support for 150 developer files to the preview pane. The second allows for STL files, a popular 3D file format, to create preview images when highlighted in File Explorer, too.
PowerToys provides a utility toolbox of sorts for Windows users, all maintained by Microsoft. The utilities work both for Windows 10 and Windows 11, and include everything from a keyboard manager to improved Windows Snap to image resizers. Here are seven ways PowerToys can improve your life.
Microsoft originally began the PowerToys project on GitHub, so the update can be directly downloaded from this GitHub link. The release notes are available, too, which describe additional bug fixes. If you prefer, PowerToys can also be downloaded from the Windows Store as well.
Microsoft developed the mouse crosshairs as a way to assist users with visual impairments that make it difficult to pick up the small mouse cursor. (PowerToys already includes a “spotlight” feature that visually zooms in on the cursor, too.) To enable the crosshairs with PowerToys running, users can type CTRL+Alt+P.
Microsoft also publishes a potential roadmap of possible future additions, including the preview-pane improvements. Microsoft appears to be working on two tools that should be of interest: a lightweight GIF capture tool for screen recording, and a quick shortcut to terminate a program that has crashed or has become unresponsive. Note that even though both utilities have yet to be integrated within PowerToys, you can check out the respective pages for the Video GIF capture page as well as the Terminate page. Neither offers a way to download each utility individually, however, as they’re apparently in the process of being integrated into PowerToys.
As PCWorld’s senior editor, Mark focuses on Microsoft news and chip technology, among other beats. He has formerly written for PCMag, BYTE, Slashdot, eWEEK, and ReadWrite.