Most folks who use macOS frequently don’t have to use Windows, and it can make shifting to the platform suddenly a jarring experience. If you need to shift from macOS to Windows, here are some apps you can install to recreate the Mac experience in Windows 10.
Spotlight is integral to the user expedience on the Mac: it can search files, launch applications and even fetch structured data. Wox is one of the many application launchers available for Windows 10, and it’s a great replacement for Spotlight. Bind it to “Alt + Space,” and you’ll even have the same keyboard shortcut! If you install Everything alongside Wox (which you should), you can even search files on your computer alongside the standard applications. If you don’t love Wox, there are a number of other application launchers you can install in its place.
Seer is an awesome replacement for macOS’ native Quick Look functionality. Quick Look allows you to quickly preview the contents of a file by selecting it in Finder and pressing the Space bar. Seer brings that same functionality to Windows 10. With the application installed, just select a file in Explorer and press the Space bar to get a quick preview. It even works better than Quick Look in some cases, with built-in compatibility for more files and support for newer formats like webm and gifv.
One of the hardest parts of shifting between macOS and Windows 10 for me is remembering all the keyboard hotkeys are different. I’m forever pressing “Alt + T” to open a new tab instead of “Control + T” since that’s what my muscle memory knows. We can use AutoHotkey, known as AHK by its fans, to swap around our modifier keys. This works great since many of the Windows keyboard commands that use Control are the same as the macOS commands that use Command. This means that many of your muscle-memorized keyboard commands will still work properly. You can even physically swap the key caps on a lot of keyboards if you want.
You can use the script below to swap the keys around. Just paste this into a text file, save it with the extension “.ahk” and set it to run on startup.
RCtrl::RAlt RAlt::RCtrl LCtrl::LAlt LAlt::LCtrl
The built-in screenshot tool on Windows 10, Snipping Tool, is just okay. Lightshot is a lightweight screenshot application that provides a transparent experience in the manner of macOS’s native screenshot system. It automatically binds to the “Print Screen” key. You can transfer that to “Control + Shift + 3 or 4” to replicate the macOS hotkey if you want. For something a little more powerful, PicPick is a more robust screenshot tool that replicates more features of macOS’ screenshot utility, like capturing application windows.
WinXCorners replicates macOS’s Hot Corners, allowing you to trigger actions by moving your mouse into the corner of the screen. You can use it to reveal the Desktop, show All Windows (kind of like Mission Control), start the screensaver or turn off the monitor. It only works with single monitor setups at the moment, but development is ongoing.
If you’re used to syncing your iPhone with your computer, you’ll need to download iTunes. It’s the primary software interface between iOS and Windows 10 and, as clunky as it is, an okay media player. You’ll use this to sync media to your phone and make local backups of your device to your computer’s hard drive.
Long-time users of the Mac might have a lot of files saved in iCloud. You can still access those files by installing iCloud for Windows. It mimics the functionality of an app like Dropbox, living in the Explorer sidebar. You can access your photos, videos and documents stored in iCloud. Of course, files made with Mac-only apps might not open, but it works for generic file types.
8. User Themes
Windows isn’t the most attractive operating system. It’s much better looking since the upgrade to Windows 10, but it’s not nearly as tightly groomed as macOS. Sure, this represents a difference in philosophy between the two companies, but if you’re turned off by Windows 10’s appearance, you can install custom user themes to change the look and feel of the operating system in a dramatic way. This change alone made my personal experience with Windows far more pleasant.
You won’t find a replacement for every Mac app you love, but you can probably replace a good chunk of them. If you are stumped on a particular program, check out alternativeto.net to find alternatives for that particular application.