Setting up Windows
(A continuation of Opening Windows.)
First things I do:
- Install Dropbox.
- Set up Outlook (which I’m actually excited about, as it’s my preferred iPhone email app since Mailbox shut down).
- Download and install Creative Cloud.
At this point, I contemplate how much of a Windows experience I want or can deal with. I’m sure I could just try to replicate my Mac setup which would make me comfortable. I could install a bunch of plugins to do things like remap the Ctrl key to to the Alt key to work more like the Command key on a Mac or make Windows Explorer more like Finder. But that’s not exactly in line with the experiment I’m doing. If I want a Mac, I have one (or three). This is really to see if Windows proper — not Windows as a Mac imposter — can work for me.
Next, I want my notes app, partly so I can document what’s going through my head. This is a case where I really don’t want to try something new; I’ve been using nvAlt synced to all my devices through Simplenote for years, and I’m not willing to start from scratch. After a false start trying to get the Windows version of Simplenote, I find and install Notation. It feels clumsy comparatively, but it’ll do for now.
This whole time, I’ve been doing some heavy Googling, just trying to get my bearings. Where do applications install to? How do I get this icon off my desktop without erasing this app? In my “gung ho Windows purist” mode, I’ve been using Edge and resisting the urge to download Chrome.
I’d really like to give Edge a shot as my primary browser, but after a few hours of use, there’s some basic functionality that I use a lot in Chrome that just doesn’t exist in Edge, or at least isn’t as easy as I’d like it to be:
- Every morning when I start my computer, I open all the bookmarks in my “Starter Set” folder. That functionality doesn’t exist in Edge.
- To change the location of the “Downloads” folder, YOU HAVE TO EDIT THE REGISTRY FILE!
- This isn’t Edge’s fault, but lots of stuff doesn’t support Edge yet. Case in point: I use Boomerang in Gmail for scheduling email, but it’s not supported in Edge.
Already frustrated, I break my rule and download Chrome. So much for Windows as-is. After sleeping on it for a few days, I decide that’s OK. Whenever I get a new Mac, the first thing I do is configure it. I download all my apps, I tweak the interface to how I like to work. If I don’t use a Mac the way it comes out of the box, what makes me think I’d use a Windows machine that way?
This realization gives me permission to put in the effort to shape it to how I can easily get stuff done, not change how I work to fit the machine. The real test will be to see if my final configuration simply resembles a Mac; if it does, I might as well stay with my current setup. If it does end up that way, the tough part will be discerning whether or not that setup is the best setup for me or if it’s just what I’m used to.
Coming up next: starting to design and code on a Windows machine.
(Note: this post was written on my Mac because I have yet to dive into code editors, command line tools, and the like.)
Originally published at http://danielmall.com/articles/setting-up-windows/.