Back to Win

Mikhail Agranovskiy
3 min readJan 7, 2018


Almost 3 years past since I moved to Ubuntu Linux. I’ve been developing there, I’ve been learning there, I’ve been taking rest there, I’ve been a geek there. Time has gone and now it’s time to switch back to Windows. Linux is great, but I’m a C#-on-Windows-Server developer now.

It’s a story about finding out good Windows alternatives for Linux software, I’ve being selecting by years. I also describe my virtual desktop based workflow and a way how I’ve restored it on Windows 10.

Part 1. Software

ConEmu + WSL + Xming Server

Run Linux shell and third-party soft natively. Terminal emulator + Ubuntu + X Server.
Alternative to: Tilix.

Here and after WSL stands for Windows Subsystem for Linux, a native way to run Ubuntu on Windows 10.


Clipboard manger. Remember what you’ve copied.
Alternative to: ClipIt.

Total Commander

Advanced file manager.
Alternative to: Nautilus.

Years past and Total Commander become a bit more natural for me. Killer features are tabs and 2 panels flavored with a new flat UI. But anyway, you’ll need to remap some shortcuts in settings.

Part 2. Workflow

Let’s discuss something less trivial then a need for a clipboard manager. Les’t talk about a way you can use it.

When you do smth a lot, you find a workflow to do these things faster and better. After you master this workflow, you start interpret a set of tasks as a one task, so you don’t lose focus on evaluating them. For software development it can be a git branching model you use, a way you debug or a way you modify your code (vim/IDE shortcuts). For OS use in general, my workflow consists of a few things:

  • Static allocation of virtual desktops and use them on purpose.
  • Shortcuts for any background tasks (window management, music control, making screenshots and so on).
  • Scripts for any usual tasks consist of more than two atomic tasks.

Virtual desktops itself safe you from a mess evoking by plenty of apps in one viewport (union of your monitors’ screens). Having a predefined allocation safe you from searching for an app you need over virtual desktops.

I use the following allocation for virtual desktops:

  • desktop1 — for current task (development, learning, e.g.). In the most cases these are IDE + Chrome + file manager + PDF viewer.
  • desktop2 — for auxiliary tasks (notes, tasking system like Trello, e.g.)
  • desktop3 — for communication (Telegram, Slack, e.g.)
  • desktop4 — for entertainments (music player, Spotify, e.g.)

To do so on Windows a few additional apps are needed.

Windows 10 Virtual Desktop Enhancer

Shortcuts for moving programs between virtual desktops and switching to a specific virtual desktop.


Launch a program on a specific virtual desktop.

Final words

Feel free to leave comments with your workflows and nontrivial soft you use.

I have an urge to write more articles about workflows and software collections. The next one will be about hidden Windows shortcuts, Windows scripting and Windows configuration hints.