If you have been spoiled by the developer heaven that is a well running Linux machine and you have to run windoze, this is what I’ve found that begins to almost make it bearable.
- You must first open file explorer (windows-e) and do Tools->Folder Options->View and then check, “Display the contents of system folders,” and uncheck, “Hide extensions for known file types.” Also, View->Details is recommended.
- Right-click on the question mark down near the bottom-right of your screen, left of the clock and all the icons (in the Taskbar), and chose “Hide the language bar” (or whatever the annoying thing is).
- Right-click on the Taskbar itself and check “Show Quick Launch” and uncheck “Hide inactive icons”
- On any command windows (cmd.exe, cygwin, etc.), fix the font. Click on the icon in the upper-left corner of the window and choose “Properties.” Click on the “Font” tab, and choose “Lucida Console.” You can make the window bigger with the “Layout” tab too, if you need.
- Get a nice desktop background image
- swap caps and ctrl. Scroll down a bit to find the registry script. And acutally, if you just make caps a ctrl, and leave ctrl as ctrl, other people that sit down at your machine won’t be so confused.
Now, install the following programs (and don’t allow any of them add an icon to your desktop, a Quick Launch icon is OK if you really use it a lot):
- txmouse.exe. Gives you X11-like copy-n-paste (even in cmd.exe windows) and focus-follows-mouse.
- emacs w32. I went with the patched version this time, but I’ve used unpatched in the past haven’t noticed a big difference.
- cygwin. Select lots of goodies like gcc and openssh and whatever else your fingers type without thinking when you are at a command-line.
- gnuwin32. Sometimes you end up at a command-line other than cygwin’s and your fingers still type things like ls, which, less, grep, and so forth. That’s what these are for.
- locate32—fast file finder.
- git for windows—if you need some solid open source revision control.
- Console2. This is much nicer than the basic cmd.exe. You can resize it! It does transparency! and tabs! The neat trick is that you can make different types of tabs that each run their own shell, such as c:\cygwin\Cygwin.bat, or the git-bash shell. After you have made your tabs, create multiple shortcuts to start console 2, each specifying a different tab to start with using the
-toption. You can give them the cygwin and git-bash icons to really polish things up.
And because I have Linux machines that my windoze machines must talk with:
- putty. Not just for ssh, but for telnet (handy for embedded development), and works as a serial terminal too.
For embedded software development: