PowerToys 0.45 brings new settings menu with Fluent Design and stability updates

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PowerToys is Microsoft's open source project that offers a collection of nifty tools that people can use to customize the Windows 10 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. A prominent example of this is Snap Layouts and Span Groups in Windows 11 which borrow heavily from the FanzyZones tool in PowerToys.

Last month, Microsoft released PowerToys version 0.43.0 with a ton of bug fixes, including one for Awake high CPU usage. Today, the company has rolled out version 0.45.0 which focuses on optimizing existing features, increasing stability, and making accessibility improvements. Additionally, it also contains installer updates and a new settings menu UI that offers a revamped experience through the utilization of new styling elements. The styling has been done via the Fluent UX, bringing it more in line with the UI of Windows 11.

The lengthy change log for PowerToys 0.45.0, along with all the credits to contributors, can be seen below:

Change log

  • Removed ModuleImageLink. Thanks @niels9001!
  • Replaced theme radiobuttons settings with combobox. Thanks @niels9001!
  • Consolidated to one testing framework for C# components of the project. Thanks @davidegiacometti!
  • StyleCop and warnings fix. Thanks @davidegiacometti!
  • Removed unused namespace alias. Thanks @jakeoeding!
  • Standardized .NET JSON on System.Text.Json. Thanks @royvou!
  • Fixed various .xaml broken links and icons. Thanks @Jay-o-Way!
  • Updated name property in "Edit layout" and "Create custom layout" controls to not include private Unicode characters. Thanks @niels9001!
  • Changed bitmask variable from size_t to uint64_t which will enable PowerToys to support more than 40 zones per layout.
  • Adjusted telemetry to better disambiguate when PowerToys Run launches at startup.
  • Plugins "Direct activation phrase" setting renamed to "Direct activation string". Thanks @niels9001!
  • Updated environment variables when changed. Thanks @dchristensen!

General

  • Settings and OOBE windows updated with Fluent UX! We hope you enjoy the new modern feel of the application menus as we align our product with upcoming Windows 11 interfaces. Special thanks to @niels9001 for driving the development of this UI, along with many thanks to the various community members who offered constant feedback and adjustments to make this a truly spectacular update!
  • Added button to settings which displays version history. Thanks @niels9001!
  • Signed PowerToysSetupCustomActions.dll.
  • Improved Update available & Update ready message severity visual. Thanks @niels9001!
  • Improved auto-update experience. Thanks @niels9001!
  • Aligned OOBE theme color with Settings theme color. Thanks @niels9001!
  • Adjusted labeling of "Restart as Administrator" button to "Restart PowerToys as Administrator" to avoid ambiguity in meaning. Thanks @niels9001!
  • Added colored icons to settings sidebar. Thanks @niels9001!
  • Fixed accessibility issue in OOBE where Microsoft Docs and PowerToys release notes links could not be navigated to via keyboard. Thanks @niels9001!
  • Fixed settings header alignment. Thanks @niels9001!
  • Fixed updates text next being visible when in light mode. Thanks @niels9001!
  • Updated "Learn More" text to be more descriptive. Thanks @niels9001!
  • Updated "Read more" text on updates to be more descriptive. Thanks @niels9001!
  • Added link to documentation in system tray. Thanks @BenConstable9!
  • Fixed error caused by file in use issues when installing PowerToys.
  • Fixed issue where opening settings from start menu didn't work when PowerToys was run as admin. Thanks @davidegiacometti!

Awake

  • Added Awake as option in translation bug template. Thanks @Aaron-Junker!
  • Adjusted description of inactive setting to improve distinguishing between the utility being disabled vs inactive. Thanks @niels9001!

Color Picker

  • Fixed bug where changing RGB values doesn't update color's HEX value. Thanks @martinchrzan!
  • Fixed accessibility issue with screen reader not announcing when "Copied to Clipboard" is activated.
  • Fixed accessibility issue where user could not hover the content of the info icon using a mouse. Thanks @niels9001!
  • Fixed color picker format order not being accessible via keyboard. Thanks @niels9001!
  • Fixed accessibility issue where screen reader announces incorrect name for "Editor color format" button and not announcing "Toggle switch" button at all. Thanks @niels9001!

FancyZones

  • Adjusted "Save and apply" editor button to adjust with text size for localizations. Thanks @niels9001!
  • Fixed "Create new layout" button visibility when in high contrast mode. Thanks @niels9001!
  • Fixed scaling quirks related to editor UI. Thanks @niels9001!
  • Fixed editor crashing when double clicking the "edit layout" button.
  • Fixed issue with editor crashing immediately after displaying zones.
  • Fixed bug when navigating editor options via keyboard where pressing enter on unselected Canvas option launches Grid editor instead.
  • Fixed issue where FancyZones would not restore Console Applications.
  • Fixed Canvas editor and Grid editor window heights. Thanks @niels9001!
  • Fixed crash due to KERNELBASE.dll.
  • Fixed FancyZone icons to be smoother at higher DPI settings. Thanks @niels9001!
  • Fixed crash when changing between zone layouts.
  • Fixed regression where FancyZones does not resize windows on layout change.
  • Adjusted layout settings to reset shortcut key after canceling changes on a particular layout.

File Explorer add-ons

  • Fixed issue where markdown files were still previewed even when "Enable Markdown" was unselected.

Image Resizer

  • Added warning that GIF files with animations may no correctly resize if the encoding used for the files is incompatible.

Keyboard Manager

  • Improved UI for KBM re-mappings list. Thanks @niels9001!

PowerRename

  • Expanding a plugin option in settings can now be toggled. Thanks @niels9001!
  • Fixed race condition causing PowerRename to crash File Explorer. Thanks @ianjoneill!

PowerToys Run

  • Fixed lag caused from PowerToys running in background and invoking Alt-Tab.
  • Resolved file not found exception when loading "System.Windows.Controls.Ribbon".
  • Fixed null reference exception crash.
  • Fixed registry plugin load crash.
  • Fixed unauthorized access exception crash when setting registry keys for the utility.
  • Improved visibility of warnings when plugin properties are collapsed. Thanks @niels9001!
  • Added search for Plugin Manager. Thanks @davidegiacometti!
  • Fixed VSCode workspace plugin not working. Thanks @BenConstable9!

Video Conference Mute

  • Fixed toolbar top right vertical offset to allow users to close other app windows.
  • Fixed compatibility issues for certain systems when compiling from source.
  • Fixed toolbox from persisting on screen.
  • Fixed microphone unmuting when changing Video Conference Mute toolbar position.
  • Added Video Conference Mute to OOBE.

Moving forward, an experimental version of PowerToys 0.46 will be released in the second week of this month, and will tow an updated Video Conference Mute utility.

A screenshot of the general settings in PowerToys

If you are using PowerToys, 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 0.45 installer from the app's GitHub page.

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