Back to Windows

After almost exclusively using Linux as operating system for over 10 years I’ve gone back to Windows (8.1 specifically) for professional reasons.

Windows has been under a lot of fire recently for being too much of an OS for touchscreen devices. I quite like the concept. Also gotta love how neat the new task manager and the built-in performance measuring tools look. Anyway, this months link collection is all about the little tools that make my transition bearable.

  • Microsoft Keyboard Layout Creator I’ve made the switch to the Dvorak layout over 6 years ago. Linux always came with the layout preinstalled for quite a few years now. Under windows this is a totally different story: As Michael Kaplan puts it in his blog:
    It is highly unlikely that Microsoft would ever in a million years just go off and add software layouts that would go against what is on the hardware keys.

    Which is fine by me since Microsoft also provides a tool to help myself out — there’s even a ready made Dvorak layout with corrected VK_Key mappings so Ctrl combos are translated correctly. Thank you very much❣

  • AltDrag I often find myself disappointed that windows won’t move as “expected” on Mac or Windows. The ability to move any window (responding to input or not) by dragging while holding down the ALT key (in combination with the fluid animated window movement) has really trained my muscle memory over the years. Luckily this behavior can be installed after the fact.

  • From KatMouse’s site:

    The prime purpose of the KatMouse utility is to enhance the functionality of mice with a scroll wheel, offering "universal" scrolling: moving the mouse wheel will scroll the window directly beneath the mouse cursor (not the one with the keyboard focus, which is default on Windows).

    Amen. Especially with multiple screens where you have to click before scrolling works.

  • Greenshot I used to have Screenshots made, timestamped and saved as PNG under ~/Pictures with the press of the PRINT button. I can’t say I really miss this feature. But then again: using this is still way more comfortable than pasting the clipboard contents into mspaint.

Other than that I’m pretty much amazed that I still can navigate the environment pretty fast using shorthand keys which I learned on Windows 98!


  • AudioSwitch for when you don’t want to navigate some obscure Vendor-specific audio setup wizards or the Control Panel every time you want to switch between the headphones playing your music and the headset for online meetings.