Microsoft Approves ChatGPT Plugin for Venerable PowerToys App

ChatGPT PowerToys
(Image credit: Microsoft)

A plan to integrate OpenAI’s ChatGPT into Microsoft PowerToys for Windows 10 and 11 has been given the green light. It is an interesting case of thoroughly modern tech being shoehorned into a revived 1990s-era Windows accessory program. Software engineer Simone Franco will be working on what is descriptively dubbed the 'ChatGPT plugin for Microsoft PowerToys Run'.

The 2020s reboot of Microsoft PowerToys continues to evolve and expand, with useful and modern features that couldn’t have been imagined the first time around. On the ChatGPT plugin for Microsoft PowerToys Run GitHub project page, Franco implies that a test version of the plugin, written in just two hours, was warmly received by Microsoft. After some discussion, Microsoft PowerToys PM Clint Rutkas asked Franco to refine the project and make it available as a Community Plugin. It is now a work in progress.

(Image credit: Microsoft)

If you aren’t familiar with PowerToys Run, it is primarily a keyboard-driven quick launcher with convenience and high performance at its heart. To summon it, PowerToys users simply hit Alt+Space and start typing to whittle down applications, folders, or files (or even processes). PowerToys Run can also execute system commands, do simple calculations, convert units, and much more.

Using PowerToys Run with ChatGPT via this plugin should be simple and intuitive. Windows users will invoke the PowerToys Run UI dialog box in the usual manner, then enter “??” (without quotes), enter a query terminated by a single question mark before finally hitting enter and waiting for a response. Franco intends to change the “??” plugin activation shortcut as it clashes with normal search. This is just one of several things that must be done to prepare the plugin for prime time.

(Image credit: Microsoft / SImone Franco)

Some other important things that the ChatGPT plugin for Microsoft PowerToys Run needs to get done before general release are; a way for users to store their OpenAI API key, improve the answer display UI (see above, it needs to expand), implement a copy answer click action, localization, and a few other things.

Microsoft already brought ChatGPT to Bing and Edge earlier this year. However, some will prefer this PowerToys Run plugin for what is intended to be a mix of immediacy and simplicity. Nineteen PowerToys, including PowerToys Run, were available at the start of April. More are on the way, and if you haven’t checked the range of PowerToys tools available for the last few months, the official Microsoft product page is definitely worth a browse.

Mark Tyson
Freelance News Writer

Mark Tyson is a Freelance News Writer at Tom's Hardware US. He enjoys covering the full breadth of PC tech; from business and semiconductor design to products approaching the edge of reason.