Microsoft launches a new useful tool for your online classes or meetings

Microsoft Teams for Windows

Microsoft has released a new beta update for its revamped
PowerToys utilities for Windows 10, containing a new useful
feature called “Video Conference Mute”.

PowerToys is Microsoft’s collection of extremely handy tools to
help users get more out of their Windows 10 computers.
PowerToys was originally introduced with Windows 95 and
Microsoft relaunched the same tool with a different set of
features specifically for Windows 10.

PowerToys for Windows 10 originally shipped with two features
called ShortcutGuide and Fancy Zones. The first feature allows
you to see a comprehensive list of available keyboard
shortcuts, while the second feature lets you create custom
window layouts for multi-tasking.

Earlier this year, PowerToys also picked up support for

macOS spotlight-like search bar for Windows 10 and
a new tool to resize your images.

The latest update, PowerToys v0.22.0 doesn’t add too many
new features, but it contains one interesting feature that will
make your life easier if you share your video or audio during
online meetings or classes.

This new utility will mute your audio and video with a single
keystroke when you’re in a video conference. Microsoft allows
you to manage the setting for audio and video separately, but
you can mute both if you want.

PowerToys video utility

PowerToys will use global microphone mute API in Windows and it
will also route the video through its own driver and back to
the meeting app, such as Microsoft Teams.

When the feature is enabled and your camera or microphone is in
use, you’ll see a dialog box on Windows 10 that will help you
know the current status.

Camera and mic dialog box

To use the feature, Microsoft says you need to try one of the
following keyboard shortcuts:

  • Win+N if you want to turn off/on both audio and video.
  • Win+Shift+O if you want to turn off/on your video.
  • Win+Shift+A if you want to turn off/on your microphone

For example, when you use the keyboard shortcut to invoke the
mute action for both audio and video, PowerToys will stop
broadcasting your video and audio. When you turn off the
feature using the same shortcut, the driver will stop injecting
black and you’ll be able to show your face again.

Microsoft says its team started working on this great solution
in summer and it’s finally ready for beta testing. Basically,
with the new utility, Microsoft says it will quickly allow you
to mute your microphone, camera, or both, with a keystroke.

You can try it yourself by downloading
the update from Github.

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