Microsoft Virtual Build 2020 Developer Conference Brings New PowerToys And Windows Development Features

Microsoft’s largest annual developer conference has begun, and the company is conducting the entire event online. The Microsoft Virtual Build 2020 Developer Conference launched with the announcement of several new features and functionalities for Windows 10 Operating System and PowerToys.

Microsoft Windows 10 will soon have a new Spotlight-like launcher app. Designed to not just replace but also modernize the existing and commonly used but rather simple Win + R shortcut, the new PowerToys Run launcher includes a quick search for apps and files across Windows, plugins for simple apps like calculator, and the ability to find running processes.

Microsoft Kicks-Off Virtual Build 2020 Developer Conference With New Features PowerToys:

Microsoft’s PowerToys utility is at version 0.18 now. The company announced two key new features at the conference. The first one is the Keyboard Remapper. As the name indicates, the feature allows users to remap key to key and shortcut to shortcut. Essentially, the Keyboard Manager is a simple keyboard re-mapper that allows Windows 10 users to redefine keys on a keyboard. Needless to add, this is a software-based solution. It means keys will be remapped as long as the Keyboard Manager and PowerToys are running in the background. The feature, however, is quite powerful as users can swap individual keys and even Windows shortcuts.

The second feature included in PowerToys’ latest version is PowerToys Run. It is a versatile and powerful launcher for Windows 10. It was previously called Power Launcher, and it’s intended to significantly improve Win + R. It is an early version that will support basic search tasks that are typically handled by the built-in Windows Start Menu Search functionality. However, Microsoft has plans to make PowerToys Run a more powerful launcher. It is quite possible that Microsoft intends to model the feature based on Alfred on macOS and infuse more functionality than Apple’s Spotlight search.

The Win + R is rather basic. It is, however, frequently used by Windows power users to launch command prompts, Regedit, PowerShell instances, and even shortcuts to areas in Windows like the Control Panel. The new PowerToys Run launcher certainly supports all the commands. Moreover, Microsoft is reportedly collaborating with an active open-source community that’s contributing to making it far more powerful.

Additionally, the company has been working with Wox and WindowWalker to incorporate these new and experimental projects into PowerToys Run. Eventually, PowerToys Run launcher will get plugins or the ability to add custom web searches, snippets, and more.

Microsoft Announces New Features For Windows 10 OS App Creation:

In addition to the new features for PowerToys, Microsoft also announced new functionalities and process roadmap for Windows app creation. Microsoft’s Project Union is essentially the company’s plan to unify Win32 and UWP. This includes the preview for WinUI 3, which includes the support for UWP apps to desktop apps. There’s also a preview of a Windows SDK Build Tools NuGet package, which lets developers use MSIX with fewer dependencies.

Microsoft also announced a preview of a Windows SDK .NET package, which allows developers to call WinRT APIs from .NET apps. There’s also the announcement of C#/WinRT. The company also announced a preview of Microsoft Package Manager. It is a new open-source command-line interface that’s meant to allow Windows 10 users to quickly install tools. Linux users will notice that Microsoft is attempting to bring in features from the Linux Operating Systems into Windows 10 OS.


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Alap Naik Desai


A B.Tech Plastics (UDCT) and a Windows enthusiast. Optimizing the OS, exploring software, searching and deploying solutions to strange and weird issues is Alap's main interest.
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