Windows 10

I moved from macOS to Windows 10 in July of 2019, after thirteen years of living in the macOS and iOS ecosystem.

It took about a year of poking and prodding but I'm starting to feel like I've got a lot of the functionality in place that I need to work the way I did on my Macbook Pro. Here's what I'm using, and when applicable, the Mac equivalent they replaced.

(I installed quite a few of these things via Ninite to avoid having to download and run lots of individual installers when I could avoid it. You can see which apps on this list can be installed with it in this screenshot.)

Start Bar

  • Terminus (command line, for managing remote server stuff)
  • VMWare Player (running an Ubuntu server VM locally)
  • Firefox (with Firefox Sync enabled for bookmarks)
  • Thunderbird (email, synced to my GMail accounts)
  • Google Voice (Electron-ified app)
  • Facebook Messenger
  • Discord (text channels & voice chats, lots of communities here)
  • Chatty (Twitch stream chat app)
  • Spotify
  • MusicBee (using only for Podcasts, with a lot of panels turned off)
  • Whatever To-do app I settle on (currently Microsoft but it's not great)
  • Typora (Markdown app with folder view & document outline, where I do a lot of drafting)
  • Freemind (Mind mapping tool)

Notification Area

  • EarTrumpet (audio control per app & device)
  • Wox (Alfred/Spotlight app launcher replacement, mapped to alt-space)
  • QOwnNotes (nvAlt quick temporary note window replacement, note search hotkey mapped to ctrl+space)
  • CopyQ (Clipboard copy/paste history, Jumpcut replacement)
  • AutoText (TextExpander replacement for repeatable text snippets)
  • AutoHotkey (Keyboard macro scripting tool)
  • ShareX (screenshots & image uploads to Dropbox)
  • Plex (home video streaming server)
  • Ubooquity (home comic/ebook server)
  • qBitTorrent & jDownloader (download management, esp. for archiving YouTube videos I want to keep around)
  • Keepalive (keeps external drives awake, esp. for quickly accessing videos and comics via Plex / comic reader apps)
  • XMouse (Mac-like natural scrolling on Windows)
  • Game library apps (Steam, Epic)
  • Dropbox (not using much anymore but still syncs notes to a few iPad apps)

Pinned to Start

I have the Start menu organized into four categories lined up in a row: Games, Media, Tools, and Creative. I actually launch most of this stuff via Wox (alt+space > type the first few letters > hit enter) but sometimes I can't remember what an app's name is so it's helpful to have them in the Start Menu too, since I'm not going to use that space for anything else.

  • Games column:
    • Emulators folder
      • Mesen (NES)
      • SNES-9X (SNES)
      • Project64 (N64)
      • mGBA (GB/GBC/GBA)
      • DeSmuME (NDS)
      • Lunar IPS (for patches/romhacks)
      • Folder link to game library
    • Launchers folder
      • Steam
      • Epic
      • GOG
      • Media:
    • Minecraft folder
      • Minecraft Launcher
      • AutoClicker (GitHub)
      • Amidst (seed preview tool)
      • NBTExplorer (world/player data editor)
  • Media column:
    • Plex (desktop app for the server)
    • CDisplayEX (comic reader)
    • Misc. media folders
  • Tools column:
    • A lot of stuff in Notification area is also pinned under Tools in case I need to relaunch them
    • SharpKeys (remapping keys, i.e. Caps Lock >> Ctrl)
    • Filezilla (FTP client)
    • Spybot & Malwarebytes (free versions installed from
    • HFSExplorer (Java app that can mount and read files on Mac-only HFS drives)
    • WinCDEmu (mount CD/DVD/disk image files)
  • Creative
    • Personal wiki link (also bookmarked in Firefox)
    • Writing folder
      • Notepad++ (mostly for minor code editing)
      • OpenOffice Writer (part of OpenOffice, which is fully installed)
      • Causality (Screenwriting / timeline app)
      • Trelby (Text only screenwriting app)
    • Design / Images folder
      • FontBase (free font manager with Google Font browser/installer)
      • Darktable (photo library management, LightRoom alternative)
      • Inkscape (vector art, alternative to )
      • Krita (raster/pixel art app)
    • Audio & Video folder
      • OBS Studio (video recording)
      • Audacity (basic audio editing)
      • Voice Recorder (built into Windows)

Other Bits & Pieces

  • DokuWiki (my personal wiki runs on it and holds lots of useful scraps; the content of this page originated there)
  • PeaZip (a much nicer 7zip/WinZip/WinRAR tool)
  • CutePDF ("print" documents to a PDF file you can save)
  • Foxit Reader (PDF Reader & basic editor, set to default for PDF files)
  • Zoom (used for work often, but increasingly avoiding due to privacy concerns
  • Slack (used for work rarely when working with a team that uses it)
  • Media Player Classic codec pack (Edit > Options > Formats to associate with video files)
  • ShellMenuView and ShellXView for cleaning up your context (right-click) menu in Windows 10 (see the HowToGeek guide here for a walkthrough)