Microsoft releases PowerToys v0.53.1 and adds the new Always On Top utility


Microsoft PowerToys

The first PowerToys release of 2022 is here and it’s a strong start to the year. With the release of PowerToys v0.53.1, Microsoft not only added a new utility in the form of Always On Top, but also made many corrections, changes, additions and improvements to the suite’s existing tools.

Other notable additions to this version include new support options in the File Explorer preview window and the introduction of PowerToys Run’s web search. Microsoft says that “the v0.53 release cycle was designed for a maintenance sprint, but with amazing community support, it’s full of greatness” – and there is sure to be plenty great to discover.

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The Always On Top tool does a great deal of what you’d expect, and allows one app or window to appear on top of others. The function can be switched on and off with the key victory + Ctrl + T Shortcut. The addition of web search to PowerToys Run will be a lot of people looking forward to seeing it as it gives you the ability to do searches online by using ?? followed by your search term.

There are a large number of fixes in this release and this is reflected in the extensive changelog.

It is worth pointing out known issues with this latest version of PowerToys. There is nothing to worry about, but Microsoft warns:

The new installer currently has a visual quirk when upgrading if you have a custom install path. It shows the default installation path but actually overwrites the current location. We’re exploring how to fix this.

The full changelog looks like this:

Always on top

  • Welcome to the family! With a quick Win + Ctrl + T, the window in focus is toggled so that it is on top. Switch again and it will go back to normal.

Color picker

  • HEX input improvements for the color menu including support for hex code without hashtag and short hex code like # CF0. thank you @htcfreek!
  • Better screen recognition at the bottom right for overlay


  • Increased negative white space margin
  • Fix for non-snapping child windows
  • Fix for deleting the keyboard focus when starting the editor
  • Fixed to improve overlays to reduce brightness and hide numbers. thank you @davidegiacometti

File manager

  • Added G-code support for thumbnails and preview windows. thank you @pedrolamas

Image adjustment


  • Line highlighting + preview support now implemented. thank you @ niels9001
  • Fixed AltGR input problem
  • Improved support for renaming folders
  • Opens on active monitor

PowerToys Run

  • Web search has been added! ?? What is the answer to life is sent to your favorite search engine through your browser. You can also change the default action button! thank you @ cyberrex5 for the primary implementation and @ franky920920 and @htcfreek to support
  • VS Code workspace improvements. thank you @ ricardosantos9521
  • Support for binary and hex numbers. thank you @gsuberland
  • Ability to use factorials in calculations
  • PT Run no longer appears in Window Walker results. thank you @davidegiacometti
  • Repair log / ln calculations
  • Fix to make earlier results clear
  • Fix to recognize symlinks and prevent recursive loops
  • Fix for trackpad scrolling too quickly
  • Removed unnecessary nuget package. thank you @ChaseKnowlden
  • Better detection of whether a packaged app can be incremented
  • Improve the reliability of the program plug-in. thank you @davidegiacometti
  • Improved Windows settings results. thank you @htcfreek
  • Fixed a bug where some similar activation phrases did not work as expected. thank you @htcfreek and @ cyberrex5.

Video conference mute

  • Disabled by default as this requires an altitude to register the virtual camera.
  • (Default) Changed the hotkey to mute the camera and microphone from Win + N to Win + Shift + Q so as not to conflict with a Windows 11 keyboard shortcut


  • Multiple fixes for accessibility, layout, images, strings, and symbols. thank you @ niels9001


  • Improved mutex support to prevent multiple PT Run instances from running


  • NOTICE: The new installer currently has a visual quirk when upgrading if you have a custom install path. It shows the default installation path but actually overwrites the current location. We’re exploring how to fix this.
  • Great strides in user-based installation versus machine-wide installation. The upgrade scenario still requires additional work.
  • The custom bootstrapper has been removed and is now using a WiX bundle.
  • Unused image assets that were still being sent have been removed. thank you @ niels9001

ARM64 support

  • In order to define and validate the WinUI3 proof of concept, we need at least one additional function, the elevation support of WinUI 3 unpackaged applications.

Developer improvements

  • New YAML based pipeline to build our signed installer. This way we can consolidate our CI to use the same file. This was critical for us to approve the ARM64 and .NET 6 migration.
  • Our submodules are no longer retrieved automatically to avoid locking problems. If you want a brush up on how to do this, go to our dev docs
  • Localization system changed from CDPx to touchdown. This should eliminate many of the locomotive problems.
  • Consolidated much of the naming of EXEs and DLLs along with projects
  • Update the spell checker. thank you @jsoref
  • / dup response was added
  • / reportbug / bugreport asks for an “error message” zip

You can download PowerToys v0.53.1 here, or you can update an existing version by checking for updates in the app.

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