I am a Linux user and I have to use Windows for some reason

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I am a Linux user and I have to use Windows for some reason

Some tips to make your work easier. Believe me, Windows is not as alien thing as you want to beleive. Most of the work can be done form command line (as you usually would on Linux). Applies to regular Windows users as well.

This is essentially one of the four blog posts. Don't worry, you will find the other three as you read.

Do not let Windows Update get in your way

I have seen a lot of people complain Windows Update reboots in the middle of their work. Although the situation has improved quite a lot in recent days, still, you would want to avoid this possibility as much as possible.

Now to save myself some time, I will link my blog post where I cover how to "fix" automatic updates and install updates manually as per your convenience.

How to have Windows 10 NOT get in your way

Ofcourse, by following the steps the responsibility of managing the security of your computer falls entirely on you.

Install a package manager

Considering the target audience of this blog post, I think I do not need to emphasize on the importance of package managers and the convenience they provide.

In this section I will be covering scoop and chocolatey. Both package managers will cover most of your stuff you will usually need.

Scoop

Scoop is a package manager that installs packages without polluting your path. By default, it always fetches portable versions so you will rarely need admin privilege (UAC) to install a package and rest assured the installed packages will not mess with registry.

Before installing Scoop you must have PowerShell 5 (or later) and .NET Framework 4.5 (or later) installed. You can also read their documentation.

Installation

Follow the instructions here or head to their GitHub repo.

Open PowerShell by pressing Win+Q > powershell.

Change execution policy in order to run the installation script

Set-ExecutionPolicy RemoteSigned -scope CurrentUser

Screenshot of above command where it prompts the user to enter an option to change execution policy

Enter Y when prompted.

Paste the following line to download and rin unstallation script

Invoke-Expression (New-Object System.Net.WebClient).DownloadString('https://get.scoop.sh')

If everything works as expected then you will see the message Scoop was installed successfully! in your console.

By default, Scoop installs all your programs under ~/scoop. If you wish to install Scoop to a custom directory then set SCOOP environment variable to your preferred location and run the installer.

$env:SCOOP='D:\your\new\location\Scoop'
[Environment]::SetEnvironmentVariable('SCOOP', $env:SCOOP, 'User')

Packages are categorised into various buckts (main, extra, games, etc.) so you will need to add them as needs arise. A ;list if (and details about) buckets can be found in their GitHub repo linked above.

By default, the main bucket is used. To get more packages, you will need to add the extras bucket. To add, run

scoop install git 
scoop bucket add extras

Usage

Search for packages with

scoop search <pacage name>

Get package information with

scoop list

Get package information with

scoop info <package name>

See which packages can be updated with

scoop status

Update packages with

scoop update

Uninstall packages with

scoop uninstall <package name>

In case a package is not available on Scoop, you might want to check Chocolatey.

Chocolatey

Normally, Chocolatey installs packages in their preferred locations, requires admin privileges (which allows packages to clutter registry, run at startup and what not). I will cover both normal installation and non-admin install. Detailed instructions are available at Chocolatey docs.

Normal install

Run the following in elevated PowerShell

Set-ExecutionPolicy Bypass -Scope Process -Force; [System.Net.ServicePointManager]::SecurityProtocol = [System.Net.ServicePointManager]::SecurityProtocol -bor 3072; iex ((New-Object System.Net.WebClient).DownloadString('https://chocolatey.org/install.ps1'))

Screenshot of above command in execution

Being the careful person you are, always review any script you download before running it on your computer.

Installing to a custom location

Create a machine/user level environment variable named ChocolateyInstall, set it to your preferred location and make sure the environment varible is set globally and is visible to PowerShell. Install as normal.

Non-admin install

Copy ChocolateyInstallNonAdmin.ps1 form their website. Modify it to suit your needs and run

.\ChocolateyInstallNonAdmin.ps1

Screenshot of above command in execution

Usage

Search for packages with (alias for list)

choco search <package>

See package information with

choco info <package>

Install packages with

choco install <package>

Uninstall packages with

choco uninstall <package>

Update packages with

choco upgrade <package>

Update all packages with

choco upgrade *

And a lot more, see docs.

Install the packages you are familiar with

scoop install wget curl nano vim less git bat

Ofcourse, this is just an example

Personally, I am not a fan of Adobe Reader. So I use Okular

scoop install okular

Get yourself a decent shell

There is not much option. We will be installing PowerShell Core. It is activel yupdated and does not have nasty alias.

scoop install pwsh

Time to install a decent terminal emulator

There are quite a few nice ones, namely cmder, ConEmu, and Windows Terminal. The three are highly customisable. There are also not so popular ones (hyper, terminus). Install Windows Terminal with

scoop install windows-terminal

You can split the terminal horizontally with Alt+Shift+- and vertically with Alt+Shift++

Screenshot of Windows Terminal with three split sessions, one on left and two on right

You might also want to make Windows Terminal beautiful and PowerShell fancier as you normally would with fish or zsh. I have covered it extensively in my other post.

Make PowerShell fancier with Windows Terminal

To change Windows Terminal settings, press Ctrl+, or open it directly with

vim "~/AppData/Local/Microsoft/Windows Terminal/settings.json"

Hit Tab, arrow keys and Enter while typing to help yourself

Screenshot of an incomplete command with autocomplete suggestions

You do not need Azure Cloud Shell so set hidden attribute to true.

Screenshot of the JSON snippet where hidden attribute sis set to true

End result:

Screenshot of command screenfetch

Set new defaults as you use Windows

Say you want to open a file and are prompted to choose an application to open a file and you do not find your preferred program.

Screenshot of a prompt listing various programs to open a C source file

Click on More apps. If you still do ont find it then clikc on Look for another app on this PC. Navigate to your installed application (which in my case id ~/scoop/apps/notepadplusplus/current/notepad++.exe), select your executable and click Open.

Screenshot of the final step to select a preferred application to open a file type

Note: When selecting an application under scoop, always select the one under current folder (you will see an arrow i its icon). It is a shorcut (symlink) to the latest version of the package. Scoop links current to the latest version so you do not have to worry about updating the defaults after every update.

Show file extensions in File Explorer

I don't know why it is disabled by default but it is definitely a good feature.

Click on View tab and check File name extensions box.

Screenshot of View tab where File name externsions box is checked

Connect to an FTP server using FIle Explorer

This works the same as Nautilus or Dolphin. Press Win+E > Ctrl+L. Now you will be presented to the address bar. Enter FTP address and continue as normal.

See all Start menu apps in FIle Explorer

Honestly, I haven't seen its use case except [one]({{< ref "/post/abort-a-shutdown-restart-and-start-working-.." >}}) but it is deifnitely neat. Press Win+E > Ctrl+L, type shell:AppsFolder and hit Enter.

List of installed apps in File Explorer

Copy the output of a file to a clipboard

Your normal output redirection you usually do in Linux works in PowerShell too. So instead of that I am just covering copying output to clipboard. Pipe the output to Set-Clipboard.

your-command | Set-Clipboard

Content of copyStr.c is output which is piped to Set-Clipboard

Use Tab completion frequently

Being a person with weak memory as I am, this is definitely one of those features which must be enabled. Helps a ton.

If you type an incomplete command and hit tab, it will list all its acceptable parameters. Hitting tab again or arrow keys will allow you to select a different command

SSH into a remote computer

Now you no longer need to use PuTTY to SSH into a remote computer. Enable SSH by pressing Win+I > Apps > Apps & Features > Optional Features > Add a Feature. Select OpenSSH Client* and *OpenSSH Server and click Install. (Reboot if prompted), open PowerShell Core and ssh as normal.

Screenshot of Settings page that lists optional features. The checkbox next to OpenSSH Server is selected

Despite all these, you have WSL2 too which I have covered in my other post.

Install and configure Arch Linux in WSL/WSL2 with GUI

Next step

Enjoy.

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