Microsoft PowerToys are one of the most interesting Microsoft OpenSource projects that we can find. These tools were released with Windows 95 to improve user productivity and facilitate certain administration tasks. For many years, these have been abandoned, being a forgotten project for the company. However, a little over a year ago, Microsoft decided to start from scratch with them and give them a second life to improve the way you work with Windows.
All PowerToys development is open, and is carried out through the GitHub platform. Every few weeks, the project managers usually release a new version. Some of the new versions only bring bug fixes, while others may bring some new features for the tools already included. Also, very occasionally, a version, like the new 0.41.2, releases a new tool to continue growing these PowerToys. This is Awake .
Awake: the new PowerToy
Awake is the new tool included in Microsoft PowerToys whose main purpose is to make our computer always active without having to be in front of it by moving the mouse or pressing a key every so often. This new Toy is responsible for generating events that simulate that we are sitting in front of the PC, preventing the screen from turning off automatically or the computer from going to sleep.
We can choose if we want the screen to always stay on or turn off despite having this tool activated. We can also activate Awake so that it is always activated, or so that it only works in a certain range of hours (for example, while we are working).
When installing this new version of the PT, Awake is activated by default. And we will see it with an icon, shaped like a blue coffee cup, that will appear in the system tray. Therefore, first of all, we must open the PowerToys configuration panel and deactivate it, in case we do not want to use it.
Other changes in Microsoft PowerToys 0.42.1
In addition to this new tool, this version has included a large number of internal changes , such as:
- The default shortcut to open the keyboard shortcut guide is now Windows +? instead of just Windows.
- The FancyZones magnetic setting has been disabled to make it work better with the keyboard.
- Updated the color picker experience.
- Removed residual MSIX code.
- Updated all projects to Modern WPF 0.94.
- Depreciated API to save settings.
- Removed the dependency on the Winstore.
- Improved automatic updates.
- Updated the bug reporting system to be more robust.
- Improved the configuration buttons layer.
- Translation update.
In addition, the main Toys have received internal corrections and improvements to improve their operation. Some of the more interesting bugs that have been fixed are:
- Color Picker: Avoid selecting duplicate colors.
- FancyZones: Improved many accessibility bugs.
- Browser Add-ons: Improved markdown and bug fixes in SVG preview.
- PowerRename: Fixed unexpected browser shutdown.
- Run: Multiple bugs fixed that caused it to shut down and crash.
Lastly, the installer has updated its .NET Core dependencies to version 3.1.15.
How to download and update
This new version is already available so that all users can update and we can start enjoying it as soon as possible. If we already have the PowerToys installed, we can see a notice of the new version and download and install the update from the program itself. On the other hand, if we prefer, we can download and install the new version by hand directly from the following link .
Unfortunately, while Awake is well received, if we were waiting for the Toy to turn the microphone and webcam on and off with one click, we will have to keep waiting. Microsoft still believes that it is not ready for its global arrival.