PowerToys 0.53.1 adds web search and always-on-top tool

PowerToys 0.53.1 adds web search and always-on-top tool

Microsoft has released PowerToys version 0.53.1, bringing along a handful of new capabilities for power users. This time around, the company is adding the always-on-top features that was mentioned in the changelog for the previous release, as well as a new web search tool, among other things.

Starting with the new always-on-top tool, it does pretty much what you’d expect. Using a keyboard shortcut (Windows keyCtrlT), you can force the active window to always stay on top of everything else. You can press the keyboard shortcut again to undo it. You can also set a border around the pinned window so it’s easier to identify a window that’s set to always be on top.

Another big upgrade in this PowerToys 0.53.1 is for the PowerToys Run tool. This replacement for the Windows run dialog also now includes the ability to search the web. Entering a query starting with ?? will search the web for whatever you write after that command. You can also change the command to trigger a web search if that’s not convenient enough.

A big benefit of this feature is that it actually uses your default browser and search engine to open the search results. If you don’t like how Windows Search opens Edge and Bing automatically, this might be a welcome feature. We should note that using Vivaldi as the default browser, the search engine that was used was always Google regardless of the default setting. This may be a compatibility issue or a bug.

There’s still another notable addition, which is support for G-code files in the File Explorer add-ons. This allows you to preview a G-code file through its thumbnail, if the file includes one.

Aside from that, version 0.53.1 includes fixes, tweaks, and other improvements to a wide range of the included apps in PowerToys. You can see the full changelog below:

What's new in PowerToys 0.53.1

Always on Top

  • Welcome to the family! With a quick Win+Ctrl+T, the window in focus is toggled to be on top. Toggle again, and it reverts back to normal.

ColorPicker

  • HEX input improvements for adjust color menu including support for hex code without hashtag and short hex code like #CF0. Thanks @htcfreek!
  • Better bottom right screen detection for overlay

FancyZones

  • Increased negative space margin
  • Fix for not snapping child windows
  • Fix for clearing keyboard focus on editor launch
  • Fix to improve overlays to reduce brightness and hide numbers. Thanks @davidegiacometti

File Explorer

  • Added G-code support for thumbnails and preview pane. Thanks @pedrolamas

Image Resizer

PowerRename

  • Row highlighting + preview support now implemented. Thanks @niels9001
  • Fixed AltGR input issue
  • Improved folder renaming support
  • Opens on active monitor

PowerToys Run

  • Web searching has been added! ?? What is the answer to life will go to your favorite search engine via your browser. You can change the default action key too! Thanks @cyberrex5 for primary implementation and @franky920920 and @htcfreek for supporting
  • VS Code workspace improvements. Thanks @ricardosantos9521
  • Binary and Hex number support. Thanks @gsuberland
  • Ability to use factorials in calculations
  • PT Run will not show in Window Walker results anymore. Thanks @davidegiacometti
  • Fix log / ln calculations
  • Fix to make previous results clear
  • Fix to detect symlinks and prevent recursive loops
  • Fix for trackpad scrolling being too fast
  • Removed unneeded nuget package. Thanks @ChaseKnowlden
  • Better detection for if a packaged app can be elevated
  • Improve crash resiliency for Program plugin. Thanks @davidegiacometti
  • Improved Windows setting results. Thanks @htcfreek
  • Fixed a bug where some similar activation phrases aren’t working as expected. Thanks @htcfreek and @cyberrex5.

Video conference mute

  • Disabled by default as this requires elevation to register the virtual camera.
  • Changed (default) hotkey for mute camera & microphone from Win+N to Win+Shift+Q to not conflict with a Windows 11 keyboard shortcut

Settings

  • Multiple accessibility, layout, image, string and icons fixes. Thanks @niels9001

Runner

  • Improved mutex support to prevent multiple PT Run instances from running

Installer

  • NOTE: The new installer currently has a visual quirk when upgrade if you have a custom install path. It will show the default install path but it will actually overwrite the current location. We are investigating how to fix this.
  • Large progress toward user based installing vs machine wide. Upgrade scenario still needs additional work.
  • Removed custom bootstrapper and now are using a WiX bundle.
  • Removed unused image assets that were still being shipped. Thanks @niels9001

ARM64 support

  • Setting WinUI3 proof-of-concept and validate we do need at least one more feature, elevation support from WinUI 3 unpackaged applications.

Dev improvements

  • New YAML based pipeline for building our signed installer. This will allow us to consolidate our CI to use same file. This was critical for us to unblock ARM64 and .NET 6 migration.
  • Our submodules will no longer auto fetch to prevent locking issues. If you want a refresher on how to do this, head to our dev docs
  • Localization system shifted to Touchdown from CDPx. This should remove many of the loc issues.
  • Consolidated a lot of the naming of EXEs and DLLs along with projects
  • Update to spell checker. Thanks @jsoref
  • /dup response has been added
  • /reportbug /bugreport will ask for a “report bug” zip

If you haven’t yet, you can download the latest version of PowerToys from GitHub, or you can search for it on the Microsoft Store. If you already have PowerToys installed, you should be prompted to download version 0.53.1 automatically.

About author

João Carrasqueira
João Carrasqueira

Writer at XDA Computing. I've been covering the world of technology since 2018, but I've loved the field for a lot longer. And I have a weird affinity for Nintendo videogames, which I'm always happy to talk about.