Microsoft is all set to add a launcher to its PowerToys for Windows 10 this year. It will allow users to search for files and apps along with supporting plugins like search engines and calculator. The new launcher will replace the prevailing Win + R shortcut, which allow users to run apps.
The company has been working on the project since January. An internal version of the tool makes it easier to search for queries. Microsoft is currently working with the open-source community to design this launcher and a public beta is planned to roll out next month, according to The Verge.
PowerToys originally launched with Windows 95. They were updated for Windows XP and even worked with Windows 7. The tool was recently relaunched to add useful features to Windows 10. In spite of the fact that PowerToys is a separate app and does not ship with Windows 10, it feels native when one uses it. For now, the concept looks and works a lot like macOS Spotlight search menu, which also lets users search files, the web and perform quick calculations and conversions.
Microsoft’s Clint Rutkas shared a poll earlier this week asking people to help name the new launcher.
Help us name our Win+R project (we call launcher internally) for Power Toys. It can do more than just launch apps so trying to be sure we have a great, straight forward name that works for everyone
— Clint Rutkas (@ClintRutkas) April 15, 2020
With Win + R being an old relic of Windows, PowerToys represents the best of the new Microsoft that builds upon Windows foundation and lets users quickly create prototypes, customize Windows and create a customized experience unique to each power user. With the new PowerToys launcher, users will have a utility that goes beyond the standard Windows Start menu, which pushes users into Bing and the Edge browser, and instead, users will be able to customize searches, search files, and launch CMD prompts, Regedit, PowerShell instances and more.
According to Tom Warren, the new launcher will handle basic searches through the start menu’s search bar. However, Microsoft plans to add more features to it over time, making it similar to Alfred from macOS. UX designer Niels Laute shared a concept of a redesigned launcher earlier this year. Warren states that Microsoft is adopting some of Laute’s code give the launcher a modern design.