Microsoft PowerToys Adds Always-on-Top Window Functionality, Finally Offering A Native Solution For Pinning Windows

No more third-party reliance.

Microsoft’s PowerToys is getting better by the day. What started out as a niche collection of tools and utilities meant to assist power users is quickly turning into a Windows must-have. Thanks to winning features such as the Run launcher, Color Picker, and FancyZones, and its recent Microsoft Store availability, the app keeps growing in popularity and functionality with each update. And today is no different.


PowerToys version 0.53.1 brings along a new Always-on-Top feature for pinning windows permanently on top. This is something Windows users have asked for ages and while there are third-party apps such as OnTopper that allow you to do the same thing, there has never been a native option within Windows for such. That search finally ends with the latest PowerToys update.

Always-on-Top is activated with a keyboard shortcut that can be customized to your liking, by default it is Windows + Ctrl + E. Pressing the series of keys activates Always-on-Top pinning the active window in front of others. A blue outline surrounds the pinned window when the feature is on and pressing the same series of keys turns it off, removing the blue outline. The feature automatically doesn’t activate in Game Mode as many games run in full-screen but you can turn this off if you prefer.

A blue border surrounding the pinned window when Always-on-Top is active

I don’t need to tell you how useful this feature is as you’ve probably been in countless situations yourself where pinning a window would’ve come in real handy. Maybe you’re watching a YouTube video and don’t want it to go into the background or perhaps you’re trying to calculate something and want the Calculator to always stay on top. There are many scenarios where such a feature could help you save time and lend some extra convenience.

Adding on top of this are further customization options which include the ability to change the color and thickness of the border surrounding the pinned window, or the option to turn off the border entirely. You can also have it play a sound upon pinning a window. Moreover, there’s a special section for excluding apps from this feature so they never get pinned on top even if you try to. 

Always-on-Top settings in PowerToys

Other Changes

Apart from that, there are two new additions to PowerToys this update. Firstly, the PowerToys Run launcher, essentially Windows’ version of Spotlight on MacOS, is getting a web search option. With the new update, the Run launcher can now search the web using your default browser and default search engine if you put “??” before the search term. However, for this to work, Run shouldn’t find a relevant app or file to show above the web search option.

I’m afraid even your favorite browser can’t tell you that.

Secondly, in File Explorer you can now preview G-code (.gcode files) thanks to PowerToys, as now it will show thumbnails for those. There are a bunch of other improvements as well in the patch notes but they’re not worth glancing over. The real headliner here is definitely the Always-on-Top feature.

If you’re already a PowerToys user, you should be seeing the option to update within the app.  If not, you can download PowerToys from its GitHub page or through the Microsoft Store if you’re on Windows 11. Check out the full release notes for this version here. Be sure to submit feedback as your contributions helps make the experience better for everyone.


Huzaifa Haroon

Born and raised around computers, Huzaifa is an avid gamer and a keyboard enthusiast. When he's not solving the mysteries of technology, you can find him scrutinizing writers, striving to inform the curious.
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