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Microsoft PowerToys update delivers better window management

The open source tool also makes a key step in its journey to ARM support

Microsoft has updated its PowerToys tool with new features including enhanced windows management and accessibility. 

The open source project, which was a proprietary tool before Microsoft removed it from Windows, contains utilities and enhancements not included by default in the operating system. Version 0.56.1 includes enhancements to the FancyZones window manager, a time zone conversion plug-in, and shake-to-find functionality for the mouse cursor.

FancyZones is a window manager utility for arranging and snapping windows into different layouts. The feature allows users to define window locations for the desktop and then snaps them into that location when dragged into the zone in order to maximize the use of space on the Windows desktop.

The open source PowerToys development team increased the number of zones in the FancyZones utility from 40 to 128. This feature, which also now includes support for child and popup windows, will appeal to users with larger, higher resolution monitors. 

The team also added a time zone conversion utility to PowerToys Run, a quick launcher program, that will allow users to convert time zones directly within the launcher.

The accessibility enhancements center on the mouse cursor. PowerToys already offered a Find My Mouse feature that highlighted the mouse cursor by pressing the CTRL key twice. Most people waggle their cursor to make the cursor move when it goes missing, so the product now allows this action to highlight the cursor too. Users can activate this feature in the settings.

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Under the hood, Microsoft has now removed its last dependency on the .NET Framework, which is the class library used to create code. This leaves it using the .NET Runtime, which runs compiled .NET code. This is a key step in helping create ARM platform support for PowerToys. 

The open source team has been issuing updates for PowerToys at a fast cadence. It published the most recent version a month ago with support for .NET 5.

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