Making a Windows Dev Environment Feel Like a Mac

Feb 2022

I have spent my software development career within the Apple ecosystem. That recently changed and I’ve started learning the Microsoft stack starting with C#.

My first week I tried recreating a Mac like environment within Windows so I can feel productive. This helps by not having to relearn new keyboard shortcuts and muscle memory. I know Microsoft makes a lot of its tooling for Apple products but I decided to go all in.

A lot of the motivation behind this exercise is emotional. Being happy while writing code is a positive. Things that can be done to remove frustrations will lead to a more productive employee.

After some experimentation I’m close and this post will share details for others looking to do the same.

Hardware

Microsoft Designer Compact Keyboard

This is similiar to the Apple wireless TKL keyboard and I’ve felt at home with one of the most important tools for a developer.

Apple Wireless Trackpad

Once paired via Bluetooth it started working right out of the box.

Software

Microsoft PowerToys

This tool is the one that had the biggest impact. It allows remaping of keys, shortcuts and the ability to add a quick launcher. From the Microsoft site:

"Microsoft PowerToys is a set of utilities for power users to tune and streamline their Windows experience for greater productivity."

Keyboard Manager

Remapping these keys and shortcuts brings back most of Mac muscle memory.

Run As Administrator

When Windows asks for certain things to run as “Administrator” odd things would happen like losing any input from my keyboard. Allowing PowerToys to run as “Administrator” made this problem go away.

Quick Launcher

Reproduces the Mac “command+spacebar” to search for and launch applications.

Windows

Change Taskbar Location

I kept looking for the clock at the top right corner so moving the taskbar to the top fixed that.