Windows 10 PowerToys 0.16 update introduces new tools

Microsoft revived the classic PowerToys application some time ago; it created a modern version of PowerToys, made it open source, and has released updates regularly since then.

PowerToys 0.16.0 is the latest version that just got released on GitHub. The new version introduces new utilities, improvements, and includes more than 100 fixes on top of that.

Just download the latest setup file from the project’s GitHub releases page and install it to get started. You can install it over an existing installation of PowerToys if the software is installed already on the device. PowerToys adds an icon to the System Tray area when you run it. First thing you may want to do is right-click on it and select Settings to configure the utilities and functionality.

Here is an overview of the new tools included in this release:

Image Resizer

image resizer

Similarly to the previously introduced PowerRenamer tool, Image Resizer is a shell extension to resize one or multiple images. Provided that the feature is enabled — which it is by default — all it takes is to select images in File Explorer and then the Resize Images context menu option to open the configuration screen.

Here you find presets to choose from — small, medium, large and phone — and a custom resize option as well. The four presets are all configured to fit the selected images within a specific pixel range, e.g. within 1266*768 pixels if you select medium.

Only the custom option provides additional options including switching from pixels to percent, centimeters or inches, and switching from fit to fill or stretch.

Three additional options are found below of which one — ignore the orientation of pictures — is checked by default. The other two, “make pictures smaller but not larger” and “Resize the original pictures (don’t create copies)” are not enabled by default.

All it takes to resize pictures is right-click, select the Resize Images option, make the selection on the configuration window that opens, and hit the resize button. Image Resizer creates copies by default and that is the recommended way as you don’t get any previews of the outcome.

Text-based Alt-Tab Alternative Window Walker

alt tab walker

Window Walker adds another option to find processes quickly on the system. It is a text-based Alt-Tab alternative that you activate with the shortcut Ctrl-Windows.

Window Walker opens a prompt similar to the Everything Search prompt that accepts user input. Just type characters to get real-time results based on the processes running on the system.

The tool focuses on processes only at the time and seems to use fuzzy logic to match processes; this means that you may get results that match the entered characters only partially.

SVG and Markdown Preview panes in File Explorer

markdown viewer

The new PowerToys release adds two new preview options to File Explorer. SVG Preview and Markdown Preview provide users with options to preview these file types in File Explorer’s preview pane.

Both new preview options are enabled by default.

Other changes

Microsoft improved the FanzyZone tool in the new release. FanzyZone adds layout options for windows to the Windows operating system. In this release, multi-monitor support was improved by adding support zone flipping switching on multi-monitor systems.

Closing Words

PowerToys tools add new utilities to Windows 10 that may improve productivity. Some of the included tools are basic, e.g. the renamer or image resizer, but they may be sufficient for basic tasks. Advanced users may prefer dedicated tools instead as these provide more functionality and customization options.

Now You: have you tried the new PowerToys yet?

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Latest Debotnet Windows 10 Tweaker gets debloating scripts

We have the Windows tweaker Debotnet several times before on Ghacks. It is a relatively new program that was released to the public in 2019 for the first time. Back then, it focused on providing administrators and users with options to improve privacy.

The developer has released numerous versions of the application since then and introduced new features, some of them not privacy related but still very useful.

Mirinsoft, the developer of the application, published a new version of Debotnet yesterday which raises the version of the application to 0.7.5.

Users may download the latest version of the application from the official GitHub website and run it after the downloaded package has been extracted. Some of the new features require administrative privileges;, right-click on the program executable and select “run as administrator” to run the program with elevated rights.

The main new feature of Debotnet 0.7.5 is support for the debloat scripts of W4Rh4WK. Mirinsoft added five scripts to the application which you find under Debloat Windows 10 in the sidebar.

debotnet windows 10

Here is what these scripts do:

  1. Block Tracking Domains — The script blocks Telemetry related domains via hosts files and Windows Firewall.
  2. Disable Services — Disables unneeded / unwanted Services on the Windows machine.
  3. Remove Default Apps — Removes unwanted / unneeded applications that come with Windows 10 from the system.
  4. Remove OneDrive — Removes OneDrive integration from the system.
  5. Restart Computer — Should be run after any of the scripts listed above have been run.

The developer recommends that users select “test script” to make a dry run before running any of the scripts in earnest; this downloads the latest version of the script from the project site and displays its content to the user.

Note: Debotnet comes without backup options at the time of writing. We recommend that you create a backup of the system before you run any scripts or make any changes using the program.

Debotnet 0.7.5 includes download optimizations and several minor tweaks next to that. PowerShell scripts can now be downloaded/opened in Test Mode only, third-party tool downloads have been optimized, and several themes the program uses have been tweaked.

You can check out the entire release notes here.

Now You: Do you run Windows privacy tools / scripts on your devices?

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Windows 10 has a new network connectivity issue

Windows users who run recent (and not so recent) versions of Windows 10  may have noticed network connectivity issues recently. Microsoft acknowledged a new issue for all supported versions of Windows 10 on March 26, 2020 that comes in two different severity levels.

The lighter issue changes the Internet connectivity icon of the operating system to one that indicates limited or no Internet connectivity even if that is not the case. Some users may also notice that some applications may not be able to connect to the Internet while the issue persists.

windows 10 connectivity issue

Microsoft notes that both issues may be experienced on devices that use a proxy connection or a virtual private network connection.

Devices using a proxy might show limited or no internet connection status

Devices using a manual or auto-configured proxy, especially with a virtual private network (VPN), might show limited or no internet connection status in the Network Connectivity Status Indicator (NCSI) in the notification area. This might happen when connected or disconnected to a VPN or after changing state between the two.

Devices with this issue, might also have issues reaching the internet using applications that use WinHTTP or WinInet. Examples of apps that might be affected on devices in this state are as follows but not limited to Microsoft Teams, Microsoft Office, Office365, Outlook, Internet Explorer 11, and some version of Microsoft Edge.

Microsoft lists Windows 10 version 1709 and higher on the client side as affected and Windows Server version 1709 and higher on the server side. Microsoft programs are especially affected by the issue according to the report as programs such as IE11, Microsoft Office, or Microsoft Teams may not be able to connect to the Internet.

The company is working on a resolution and plans to release an out-of-band patch in early April to resolve the issue.

Users may resolve the issue temporarily by restarting the device according to Microsoft.

Now You: Did you notice the issue on your devices?

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Latest Debotnet release introduces cool new features

Mirinsoft released a new version of the company’s Debotnet application to tweak Windows to the public yesterday.  We reviewed Debotnet in late 2019 when it was released initially and then again last month when version 0.5 introduced massive improvements to the application.

The application matured nicely and we added it to our list of privacy software programs for Windows 10 as a consequence.

Debotnet 0.7 is the latest version at the time of writing and it is considered a major release by the developer. The program can be downloaded from the project’s GitHub website and run right after it has been downloaded and extracted on the local system. An installation is not required but the program will run only on 32-bit or 64-bit versions of Windows 10.

Note that some antivirus programs may flag the executable as malicious or suspect; these are false positives.

First thing that veteran users of Debotnet will notice is that the new version comes with a new theme called Pegasos.

debotnet 0.7

The theme may not be to everyone’s liking but it is now possible to change the theme to one of the supported ten other themes the program ships with. Just select Menu (the three dots) > Settings > Change Theme to do so.

debotnet change theme

One of the new features of Debotnet 0.7 is the new “Pimp apps” category. You find an option to download Winapp2.ini, a file to extend CCleaner’s cleaning functionality, currently listed there. The developer has plans to extend the functionality in future releases.

Another useful feature added since our last review is the ability to create Windows 10 ISO images using Rufus or the Media Creation Tool.

The majority of changes went into the third-party and bloatware sections. The following options have been added to third-party:

  • Disable Dropbox Update service
  • Disable Google update service
  • Disable Microsoft Office telemetry
  • Disable Media Player telemetry
  • Disable Visual Studio telemetry
  • Disable Microsoft Windows Live ID service

The following are now available in bloatware:

  • Microsoft Advertising
  • Network Speed Test
  • Contact Support
  • Settings
  • Hello Setup UI
  • App Resolver UX
  • File Explorer
  • Shazam
  • Flipboard
  • Eclipse Manager
  • Code Writer
  • Store Purchase App
  • Zune

Other than that, you will also find an option to disable user data synchronization under Privacy, and options to disable the Razer Game Scanner and Logitech Gaming services.

Closing Words

Debotnet is getting better and better with every release. The one thing that it is really lacking currently is the ability to create backups before running operations. It is recommended that you back up manually before you use the program because of that.

Now You: Do you use privacy tools on your devices? (via Deskmodder)

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Microsoft extends Windows 10 version 1709 support because of Coronavirus

Microsoft announced yesterday that support for the company’s Windows 10 version 1709 operating system has been extended by six months so that it is supported until October 13, 2020.

Enterprise, Education and iOT Enterprise editions of Windows 10 version 1709 are still supported while Home editions, Pro and Home for instance, are not. Microsoft ended support for these editions on April 19, 2019 already.

Support for Enterprise and Education versions of Windows 10 version 1709 was scheduled to run out on April 14, 2020 initially (after the Patch Tuesday of April 2020).

windows-10-version 1709 support extended

Microsoft explains that the current Coronavirus situation in the world is putting a toll on everyone. Many system administrators and IT workers work remotely and to reduce the workload that these IT workers have, Microsoft decided to postpone the end of support by six month.

We have been evaluating the public health situation, and we understand the impact this is having on you, our valued customers. To ease one of the many burdens you are currently facing, and based on customer feedback, we have decided to delay the scheduled end of service date for the Enterprise, Education, and IoT Enterprise editions of Windows 10, version 1709. This means devices will receive monthly security updates only from May to October. The final security update for these editions of Windows 10, version 1709 will be released on October 13, 2020 instead of April 14, 2020.

Microsoft will continue to produce security updates for versions of Windows 10 version 1709 until October 2020. These updates will be made available on the usual channels including Windows Update, WSUS and the Microsoft Update Catalog.

The end of support schedule for other versions of Windows 10 remains the same.Windows 10 version 1803 is set to run out of support on November 10, 2020, just a month after Windows 10 version 1709 support ends.

It is therefore recommended to upgrade to Windows 10 version 1809 or newer. Microsoft announced some time ago that support for the second feature update release of the year is extended to 30 months while support for the first feature update of the year is 18 month for Enterprise and Education customers.

Now You: Do you run Windows 10? Which version and why?

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