How to get some Linux-feeling on your Windows machine [Update]

I am a passionate Linux user but unfortunately I can’t use it anywhere I like. Especially at work I have no choice and have to use Microsoft Windows. Everytime I used a Windows computer I missed some goodies from my Linux desktop, for example a multi-clipboard and to be able to scroll in windows, that currently don’t have the focus. But fortunately I found two good tools to get them on Windows.

AltDrag

AltDrag Logo

AltDrag Logo (Source: [1])

The first tool I would like to show you is AltDrag. The name tells its main purpose: It lets you drag around windows by pressing the ALT key and clicking into the window, anywhere you like. This is a feature, that nearly every Linux desktop offers and I always missed it on Windows machines to arrange my windows quickly. AltDrag also has some handy features to maximize windows when dragging them to the top of the screen or arranging them side by side by dragging windows to the side of the screen.

Besides this, AltDrag has an additional feature, that I missed even more than dragging around windows using ALT-click: You can scroll in windows without giving them the focus. Simply hover the window you want to scroll in with the mouse and start scrolling. This also works, if you have multiple scrollable areas in one window – the position of the mouse decides, which area will be scrolled. I know, most Windows users can’t understand why I miss such a feature, but believe me when I say, if you get used to it, you will love it.

Ditto

As already mentioned, I also wanted to have a multi-clipboard on Windows. There are a lot of programs giving you this feature and I chose Ditto to be the best one for me. It is open source and comes in with lots of features. Especially I like the shortcut, which displays the latest clipboard entries and lets you choose from them as the active clipboard entry.

Ditto

Ditto (Source: [2])

ConsoleZ

Not all but a lot of Linux users often use the console. It is simply easier and faster to enter some commands on the console than doing the same with mouse and keyboard on the GUI. Even for Windows, there are some reasons to use the console, at the latest when you develop software and for example want to start a build on the console.

All the more it is annoying if you have to use the the standard Windows console: Not only is it not possible to simply copy and paste text from and to this window, you can not even resize the window as you like. Honestly, Microsoft, I know this program is part of Windows since ’95 but is it surcharged to invest just a bit of time in this? Luckily there is ConsoleZ, an improved version of Console2: Beside such nice, little features like copy-paste of text and resizing the window, there are lots of other settings in ConsoleZ, starting at the look and feel and ending at the keyboard shortcuts. For everyone of you, who use Cygwin or MinGW: It is also possible to set the default shell with which ConsoleZ starts, so it no problem to start the console with bash instead of the Windows cmd.

VirtuaWin

A classic program that rebuild some Linux feature is probably VirtuaWin which gives you multiple desktops to arrange and sort your windows.

An extension to VirtuaWin I would like to recommend you is the KvasdoPager. This module integrates in VirtuaWin and the Windows bar and shows you your desktops and the Windows on them. Just like you know it from Linux and e.g. KDE. 🙂

Recap

All programs are portable so you don’t have to install them. This is especially important when you want to use them on a Windows computer on which you have no administrative rights on.

I also searched for a tool that will give you the linux feature to simply mark some text with the mouse and insert it with a mouse middle-click, but unfortunately couldn’t finde one that suites me. So if you know a tool that can do this without altering the main clipboard, let me know it.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.