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As I've started to use different operating systems at home and at work, I've found a few things that help.

  • App Launching

    (Quicksilver and Launchy)

    Not having to mouse through folders or menus is nice, but having the same shortcut mapped (apple + space, alt + space) on both OS's is just great.


    OS X style doc on your pc.

  • Web Bookmarks


    I've installed the Delicious add-in on all my Firefox installs and added the tags to the the toolbar - so I can have tags 'tech', 'google', 'tech' at work and 'video','toread','etc' at home. Naturally, tagging an item makes it show up on all computers - nice!

  • Keyboard

    The keyboard problem seems most complicated. Copy/Paste uses control on Windows and apple key on Mac. The apple key is in the Alt key's spot on Windows keyboards. Could I remap alt to be ctrl on Windows? I'd probably need to buy a mac keyboard for my work computer to make my brain work on this one. It has adapted to switching when it feels the flat mac keyboard!

    (Witch) €9.95

    Witch lets you access all of your windows by pressing a shortcut and choosing from a clearly arranged list of window titles.

Does anyone else have any tips on making the daily switch easier?

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+1 for wiki checked from beginning – Troggy Aug 5 '09 at 21:58
duplicity -… – MicTech Aug 6 '09 at 6:42
@MicTeck: related yes, but no dupe. – fretje Aug 6 '09 at 7:31
Not related at all really. – Sam Aug 10 '09 at 20:53

I use a Macbook Pro for "work", and a Windows 7 laptop for "home". I also have an HTPC, but it's purely for Media Center and gaming, so I don't do "normal" desktop activities on it.

"Work" and "Home" in quotes because I work from home :-).

Here's the software I use between the two for each named task.


Firefox 3.5 on both. I don't store form or password data in my browser. Once I got my profile set up on one, I copied it to the other. I only use a few extensions, so this translated very well.

Email, Calendar, Contacts

Google Apps for my domain and for work. I use (for PGP/GPG) on OSX and the WebUI for home. I use the WebUI on both for Google Calendar. I sync contacts with Google Sync on my iPhone.

Development Tools

I'm a sysadmin/operations programmer, so I need development tools. The main difficulty in translation here is that Windows lacks a true equivalent to iTerm (I don't like So, while I use iTerm and regular shell tools on OS X, on Windows I use:

  • PowerShell (more command aliases, like ls)
  • Putty

I do quite a bit of "work" on my Windows laptop for home, because I have a number of servers/virtual machines that do my bidding.

I also use:

See my profile for what I'm doing with Ruby :-).

Instant Messaging

I use Pidgin on Windows and Adium on OS X. Adium uses libpurple.

Music Playback

This one is interesting. I listen to music shared from the HTPC in iTunes on my Macbook, and through Vista Media Center on the HTPC, so I don't actually play music directly on my Windows laptop. Since I have an iPhone that I sync with both systems, so I have iTunes on the Windows laptop.


Again with Google Koolaid; I use Picasa.

That's about it that I can think of. Feel free to edit this post to add links I forgot.

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Witch isn't free (unfortunately) but it can really make Windows users (in particular) feel more productive since you can tab through windows/documents, not just applications. It's worth checking out as a demo. You can also set the keyboard shortcut to match your workflow.

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Um... The question is about switching from a Mac to a PC. – Sasha Chedygov Aug 6 '09 at 5:42
Actually not, it's about switching between a Mac and PC every day, at home and work. You may notice that the asker links to Quicksilver, which is definitely a Mac app. Please read the question fully before downvoting. – Quinn Taylor Aug 6 '09 at 5:46
I use the free version and it works quite nicely for my needs. – RCIX Aug 7 '09 at 2:06

I use both Windows and OS X, and the command/windows/ctrl key is the one that always hammers me. What I do is to remap my keys in Windows to match my OS X setup, using Keytweak. This gets me close-to identical keyboard layouts (I also add some glyphs windows doesn't support by default too):

KeyTweak screenshot

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This looks very cool - gui is good! – Sam Sep 10 '09 at 19:38

Don't forget RocketDock. It'll give you the same application launcher interface you are used to, including little markers for running applications. It doesn't have the "bouncy" notification item, but it is still pretty cool.

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One small thing i find useful (since i use a Windows keyboard on my mac) is to remap the command key to the control key, the optino key to the alt key, and the thid one (control i think) to the windows key. Certain things are awkward (like using alt instead of control to move word by word through text im typing) but most things work as expected.

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