PowerToys 0.53.1 adds web search and always on top tool

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

Starting with the always-on-top new tool, it does pretty much what you’d expect. Using a keyboard shortcut (windows key + CTRL + J), you can force the active window to always stay on top of everything else. You can press the hotkey again to cancel it. You can also set a border around the pinned window to make it easier to identify a window set to always be on top.

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

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

There is yet another notable addition, which is support for G-code files in File Explorer add-ons. This allows you to preview a G-code file via its thumbnail, if the file contains one.

In addition to this, version 0.53.1 includes fixes, adjustments and other improvements for a wide range of applications included 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 To earn+CTRL+J, the focused window is toggled to be on top. Switch again and it goes back to normal.

color picker

  • Improvements to HEX input to 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 breaking child windows
  • Fix for clearing keyboard focus on editor launch
  • Fix to improve overlays to reduce brightness and hide numbers. Thank you @davidegiacometti

File Explorer

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

Image resizer

PowerRename

  • Line highlighting + preview support now implemented. Thank you @niels9001
  • Fixed AltGR input issue
  • Improved folder renaming support
  • Opens on the active monitor

PowerToys Race

  • Web search has been added! ?? What is the answer to life will go to your favorite search engine through your browser. You can also change the default action key! Thanks @cyberrex5 for the main implementation and @franky920920 and @htcfreek for their support
  • VS Code workspace improvements. Thank you @ricardosantos9521
  • Support for binary and hexadecimal numbers. Thank you @gsuberland
  • Ability to use factorials in calculations
  • PT Run will no longer show up in Window Walker results. Thank you @davidegiacometti
  • Fixed log/ln calculations
  • Correction to clarify previous results
  • Fix to detect symbolic links and prevent recursive loops
  • Fixed trackpad scrolling too fast
  • Removed unnecessary nuget package. Thanks @ChaseKnowlden
  • Better detection to know if a packaged application can be elevated
  • Improve crash resilience for program plugin. Thank you @davidegiacometti
  • Improved Windows Settings results. Thank you @htcfreek
  • Fixed a bug where some similar wake-up phrases were not working as intended. Thanks @htcfreek and @cyberrex5.

Mute videoconference

  • Disabled by default as it requires elevation to save the virtual camera.
  • Changed hotkey (default) to mute camera and microphone from To earn+NOT at To earn+Change+Q to not conflict with a Windows 11 keyboard shortcut

Settings

  • Several accessibility, layout, image, string and icon fixes. Thank you @niels9001

Runner

  • Improved mutex support to prevent running multiple PT Run instances

Fitter

  • REMARK: The new installer currently has a visual quirk when upgrading 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 resolve this issue.
  • Great progress towards user-based installation vs. whole machine. The upgrade scenario still requires further work.
  • Removed custom bootstrapper and now uses a WiX bundle.
  • Removed unused image assets that were still being shipped. Thank you @niels9001

ARM64 support

  • Defining the WinUI3 proof of concept and committing, we need at least one additional feature, elevation support from unpackaged WinUI 3 apps.

Developer improvements

  • New YAML-based pipeline for building our signed installer. This will allow us to consolidate our CI to use the same file. This was essential for us to unlock the ARM64 and .NET 6 migration.
  • Our submodules will no longer be fetched automatically to avoid locking issues. If you want a refresher on how to do this, head over to our development documentation
  • Location system changed from CDPx to Touchdown. This should remove many localization issues.
  • Consolidation of much of the naming of EXE and DLL files as well as projects
  • Spell checker update. Thank you @jsoref
  • /dup answer added
  • /reportbug /bugreport will request a “bug report” zip

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

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