Windows 11 is borrowing ideas from PowerToys
If you're a fan of utilities, you've very probably installed PowerToys for Windows 10. Long an essential software collection for older versions of the operating system, Microsoft gave the beloved tools a reboot for Windows 10 a couple of years ago, and it has gained an enthusiastic following.
And this is not surprising; the utility collection includes some incredible tools, and there's the promise of more great additions in the future. But it's not just us users who think PowerToys is great, the developers behind Windows 11 also appear to be fans. So much so that they decided to steal a few ideas from PowerToys and integrate them into Windows 11.
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It is, of course, far from uncommon for one operating system to be influenced by another, or for one team of software developers to be inspired by another. But with Windows 11, Microsoft's developers have simply transplanted at least two PowerToys directly into the operating system.
As Oscar Wilde said, "talent borrows, genius steals".
So what are we talking about here? Universal Mute and Snap Layouts.
Universal Mute is a PowerToy that has been talked about for ages. It was something that became of great interest during COVID times with so many people remote working, and Zooming and Skyping friends and family in lieu of meeting in person. And it's a feature that's right there in Windows 11. A single button makes it possible to mute your microphone from the taskbar, without the need to hunt through open windows to find your video conferencing app.
It's a nice idea, but PowerToys got there first.
The same it true of the (undeniably brilliant) Snap Layouts. This Windows 11 feature makes it easy to quickly organize open windows into various grid arrangement, avoiding the need to manually resize each one by one. If this sound familiar, it's because it's basically the same as FancyZones in PowerToys. There are a few tweaks and changes, but it's essential the PowerToys transplanted into Windows 11.
This makes us wonder about the future of PowerToys. Perhaps everything will simply be integrateds into Windows 11.
It's not clear yet whether there will be a new version of PowerToys specifically aimed at Windows 11, but if there is, one of the first utilities we'd like to see is one that makes it possible to move the taskbar.