Microsoft PowerToys 0.55.0 introduces three new utilities for File Explorer and Mouse

powertoys

Microsoft released PowerToys 0.55.0 today, marking already the third release of the year. In the release notes the firm added that the v0.55 release cycle is a continuation toward getting PowerToys ARM64 ready, fix some top issues and introduce new utilities.

Work from last month helped enable the team to upgrade the code base to .NET 5 and next month onward to .NET 6 which should bring stability and speed improvements. In the vein of introducing new utilities, Microsoft announced three new Toys, which are described below.

  • File Explorer add-on: Developer files for preview pane. This should add about 150 file extensions total. We are using the Monaco Editor to power this experience. Thanks @aaron-junker!
  • File Explorer add-on: STL file format thumbnail and preview pane generation! Since STL is a common 3D file format, this allows a quick visual check. Thanks @pedrolamas!
  • Mouse Utility: Crosshair over pointer via Ctrl+Alt+P. This feature was co-developed with the accessibility team at Microsoft. When the team told us about the idea and described trying to find your cursor by looking through a straw, we knew we could leverage code from the other mouse utilities to quickly enable this feature. Below is a quote from one of the testers with a rough validation build:

"This will change my life and allow me to use any PC without constantly losing the pointer. This is huge! I will be able to work at my normal speed again. It is a total game changer for people with visual field impairments!" – Joanna A.

With that being said, here is the full changelog:

General

  • .NET runtime is now on 5, our next release will be upgraded to .NET 6. Moving to .NET 5 and then 6 helped reduce our moving parts in a single release so we went this route. Why this is important is this is one of the major work items needed for ARM64 support. In addition, this should help provide a speed boosts once we are on .NET 6.
  • @jsoref's spelling plugin help

Always on Top

  • Fixed one of two borders showing incorrectly bugs.
  • Border defaults to OS accent color now. Thanks @davidegiacometti
  • Reduced CPU / GPU activity. Not done improving, we know we can do better.

FancyZones

  • Bug fixed to not lose zones after update
  • Fixed editor margin issue for Chinese language. Thanks @niels9001

File explorer add-ons

  • GCode thumbnails now have transparency. Thanks @pedrolamas
  • New Utility - Developer files for File Explorer preview pane. This should add about 150 file extensions total. We are using the Monaco Editor to power this experience. Thanks @aaron-junker!
  • New Utility - STL thumbnail and preview panes added! Thanks @pedrolamas!

Image Resizer

Mouse utilities

  • New Utility - Crosshair over pointer via Ctrl+Alt+P. This feature was co-developed with the accessibility team at Microsoft. Thanks @niels9001 for helping with the icon!

PowerRename

  • Files are sorted now how File Explorer sorts.

PowerToys Run

  • Improved speed and fixed bugs with Window walker plugin. Thanks @htcfreek
  • Window Walker will now show path of elevated apps. Thanks @davidegiacometti
  • Added UEFI command to system commands. Thanks @htcfreek
  • Fixed crashing bug in EnvironmentHelper class. Thanks @htcfreek
  • Fix URI plugin bug with ^:. Thanks @franky920920
  • VS Code plugin not showing workspaces with latest Code version was corrected. Thanks @ricardosantos9521
  • Fixed bug that caused plugins to not load. Thanks @davidegiacometti
  • Fixed crash in Uri plugin and Web search plugin. Thanks @cyberrex5!

Settings

  • Fixed a regression with settings being reset when moving from admin to non-admin

Video Conference Mute

  • Fixed crashing bug with Zoom and other clients. We found someone we could remotely debug with and identify the actual crashing part.
  • Change of behavior: When leaving a meeting, VCM will now leave your microphone in the state it was. This mimics behavior of applications if VCM was not present.
  • Change of behavior: When you exit PowerToys, your current microphone state will remain.
powertoys screenshot

PowerToys is Microsoft's open-source project that offers a collection of nifty tools that people can use to customize the Windows 10 or 11 UI and experience to their liking. As we know, depending upon feedback and general stability, some of the utilities also make their way to the OS eventually. A prominent example of this is Snap Layouts and Span Groups in Windows 11 which borrow heavily from the FanzyZones tool in PowerToys.

If you are using PowerToys in Windows 11, you can grab it in the Microsoft Store. For others in Windows 10, you can open the app and click on "Check for updates" under the updates section on the General tab. Those who would like to try PowerToys for the first time can grab the version 0.55.0 installer from the app's GitHub page.

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