Microsoft releases new PowerToys build complete with Video Conference Mute tool

Microsoft PowerToys

We've just written about Microsoft giving its PowerToys utilities a Windows 11 makeover. While a new coat of paint is all well and good, what people really want is new tools to play with -- and with the newly released PowerToys Experimental v0.46.0, this is precisely what Microsoft has delivered.

This latest release sees the addition of the much-touted Video Conference Mute tool which provides global audio and video controls for video calling apps that make use of cameras and microphones. The release also fixes a variety of issues with the collection of utilities.

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Video Conference Mute has already made an appearance in previous builds of PowerToys, but it then disappeared while further work was carried out on it. While something that probably would have been of interest at any time, it's a tool that gained particular attention with so many people working remotely during COVID lockdowns and using video calls to keep in touch with friends, family and colleagues.

This build of PowerToys is also about fixing issues that have been found, and the full list of update includes in this latest build looks like this:

  • 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 un-muting when changing Video Conference Mute toolbar position.
  • Added Video Conference Mute to the "Welcome to PowerToys" window.

As this is an experimental build of PowerToys, it should come as little surprise that there are some problems, particularly with the Video Conference Mute utility. The development team is tracking the known issues with the new tool here, but also shares the following list of issues that have been found in the suite has a whole

  • With some webcams, there is an incompatibility with Teams and the overlay image is not rendered, instead a corrupted frame is shown. If your camera has this quirk, please let us know the model in the [main tracking issue - #6246]
  • The application preview (Teams, Meet, etc.) may show the overlay image flipped horizontally but that is expected, the image will show correctly to the other people on the call.
  • In order to enable/disable the VCM, PowerToys should run as administrator
  • Changes to some of the VCM settings require the application to restart to pick up the new values such as a new overlay image.
  • In some cases, the overlay image can be shown flipped vertically (the workaround is to edit the image and flip it before selecting it).
  • If the PowerToys Video Conference Mute webcam doesn't show up in the video conference app, try restarting the app and if still doesn't show up try restarting Windows.

If you're already running an experimental build of PowerToys, you can use the built-in updater to grab the latest version. Otherwise, you can download PowerToys Experimental v0.46.0 here.

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