Microsoft worked hard to improve the user experience and build a positive ecosystem for developers. Furthermore, Microsoft has fully embraced open source in recent years. There are a lot of great open-source projects developed by Microsoft.

After eight years of daily work on a Mac, I recently switched to Windows 10. My previous impression was that Windows was less programmer-friendly and less efficient than a Mac. But I was really surprised to have some great experiences on Windows 10. Within two weeks of research, I found 5 tools that significantly improved my productivity.

1. PowerToy

PowerToy is a collection of useful utilities that help tailor and streamline the Windows experience for greater productivity. It’s open-source! There are a total of eight small utilities in PowerToy. Explore them for yourself! To improve productivity, I recommend these two utilities.

PowerToy trembled

PowerToy run is a tool similar to Alfred or Spotlight on Mac. With simple Alt + Space, it will help you find any app, process, file, URL. Anything you can imagine. It runs a simple calculation if you like:

Alt + Num (1, 2, 3, etc.) will zoom in or out of the active window according to the number entered.

If you just want to search for one file, choose Everything.

Keyboard Manager

The keyboard manager is a tool to remap keys. As an Emacs user, I need to swap out Caps Lock with Ctrl because Ctrl is used more often, and Caps Lock is in a more appropriate position on the keyboard.

You can also perform key remap in certain apps, but keep in mind that it will only accept process names – not application names. So for Microsoft Edge, that would be “msedge”, not Microsoft Edge. To get the process names, you can use the tasklist and Select-String list to match patterns in Powershell:

2. WSL2

As a programmer, we need to run some Linux shell commands. On the Mac, we have a Unix-like program that is sufficient for everyday use. On Windows, WSL is a game changer!

WSL stands for Windows Subsystem for Linux. WSL2 is the latest version and has better performance. You can even run Docker on it. If you want to run a Linux GUI application, configure it with X-Server and everything goes very smoothly. There are very detailed instructions on the official documentation page. Pre-compiled Linux distributions including Ubuntu, Debian and Kali.

Use the path \\ wsl $ \ Ubuntu to access files in Linux.

3. Windows Terminal

The new Windows Terminal is a great gift. It has delicious UI and great performance. We can use it to create PowerShell, Command Prompt and Linux in WSL!

Good performance comes from the GPU – accelerated text rendering engine. In my experience, the boot process is almost two times faster than the Iterm2 on a Mac. You can even display almost anything you want there, including icons or emojis.

4. Visual Studio Code with remote WSL

VS Code has a lot of great plug-ins. It can be configured into a powerful IDE for most programming languages. With the Remote-WSL plug-in, you can edit files in Linux to optimize Windows productivity while developing with Linux-based tools, runtime, and utilities.

Edit the source code in the editor window and run or compile it in the embedded Shell Terminal. User experience is almost like Emacs.

5. Zeal

When I started programming on Windows, I skipped Dash. Luckily, I found an alternative to Windows. Zeal is an offline documentation browser for software developers combined with more than 200 sets of documents. In fact, most of these resources come from Dash.

With these great tools, you will improve your productivity when working with Windows 10. If you don’t have to develop Mac / iOS apps, Windows 10 will be the right choice. I hope you enjoyed the article. Wish you happy coding on Windows!


Related posts: