Microsoft has added a new crop and lock tool to its PowerToys utility suite. You can use it to create mini-windows with interactive and non-interactive content. This innovation can radically change the way users approach workspace organization, making it more flexible and functional.
PowerToys are not new to Microsoft’s arsenal. A set of utilities designed to extend the functionality of Windows first appeared in the days of Windows 95, and then in 2019 the company reimagined it for Windows 10, after which Microsoft decided to open it up by publishing it on GitHub.
The new tool, compatible with Windows 11 and Windows 10 v2004 (19041) and newer, offers two modes of operation. The first is the thumbnail, a non-interactive mini-window that displays the user-selected area in real-time without the ability to interact with its content.
The second mode, Reparent, unlike the first, allows not only observation, but also interaction with the content of the selected area, for example, scrolling the page inwards mini window. However, please note that this mode may not be compatible with some applications.
To enable the new feature, PowerToys provides the following keyboard shortcuts:
- Thumbnail mode: Windows + Ctrl + Shift + T;
- Reparent mode: Windows + Ctrl + Shift + R.
Note that the application window must be selected before activating the keyboard shortcut.
Microsoft also warns users of potential issues:
- Cropping maximized or full-screen windows in Reparent mode can be unstable. It is recommended to adjust the window size;
- Some UWP apps may not respond properly to clipping. For example Windows calculator;
- Applications with additional windows or tabs, such as Microsoft Notepad and Microsoft OneNote, can also have problems.
However, Crop and Lock is another step by Microsoft towards a more user-friendly and flexible user interface. Despite some limitations, the new tool opens up additional possibilities for users. The new version of PowerToys 0.73.0 already includes this tool, available for x64 and Arm64 architectures.