Help! New job, Windows PC Laptop, What to do?

I need a way to deal with this somehow…
I need several workarounds to how I’m used to doing my work on MacOS and iOS because company IT policy only allows Windows laptops and I’ve been ordered one.

Off the top of my head my biggest crutches are:

  • LaunchBar or Spotlight or a launcher in general
  • a clipboard manager
  • custom keyboard shortcuts
  • a note app or text editor
  • window management
  • TextExpander

TextExpander is cross platform so I’m good there. 1Password as well.

Text editor - Typora, Sublime Text, VS Code, but how to quickly capture something a la Drafts or nvalt I really don’t know.

Please share any tips and advice you might come across.

I know there’ll be other stumbling blocks like how to replace Hazel, Keyboard Maestro, and more but the aforementioned are the topmost in my mind right now.

If only I’d find a way to convince the people that me working on a Mac as opposed to on a PC would be in everyone’s best interest :smiling_imp:

The only thing I can contribute is Notebooks is cross platform. But so is Onenote.

I guess one question would be how locked down is the PC going to be? Will they even allow loading software they don’t approve?

PowerToys Run isn’t elegant, but it should launch and find at least some of what you want.

AutoHotKey for automation.

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The Windows key works fine as a launcher. It’s not as powerful as Alfred/Lauchbar, but it works.

Also a plus, Windows 10 has a built in clipboard manager. Windows key-V brings up a selection window.

This one is easy. Quit and find a new job that doesn’t force you to use Windows. :slight_smile:


My work is Windows only as well, and lots of the built in tools are good enough for me.
As others have mentioned:

  • Built in search is pretty good: windows key and start typing or there is a search box on the taskbar
  • Autohotkey for custom keyboard shortcuts

For note app and text editor I use OneNote because much of my team uses OneNote. You can link between sheets, there’s a button to turn a note into an email (and an email into a note), you can export as word, pdf, and others. There’s a shortcut to start a quick note, and a separate category for quick notes before you sort them.

As for window management, There’s keyboards shortcuts for half tiling and quarter tiling, which is as much as I’ve ever needed.

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Before you put any of your personal data on the corporate computer, or even open your personal email account in a browser window there, be very certain about their privacy, infosec, and backup policies. It’s better to work side by side with the corporate computer on the left and your personal device on the right, and never break that barrier.


The only thing I missed from Windows is OneNote for note taking. Mac version is inferior.

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Notepad++ is a quite nice text editor.

1Password is different on Windows (or was the last time I used it) but is still very good.

Try getting along with the Windows launcher and clipboard manager before installing separate software for those use cases. Corporate IT will probably have Cortana completely disabled (for better or worse?)

Good luck. It won’t be THAT bad.

QOwnnotes for nValt style text entry.
File juggler to replace Hazel.
Launchy to replace Spotlight/Alfred. The PowerToys Run is also OK, but I found issues with the speed of it at times and it had basic math issues when using as a calculator.

Built in Windows window management isn’t bad. The PowerToys pack can help as well, as that’s got a windows managment app.

I know the feeling, as I’ve been happily using the Mac during the pandemic, but work have finally ordered me a Lenovo for work, so I should probably use it. Mind, how do they know what I’m using at home? After all, everythings in Teams and uses MS programs, so I’m pretty much there :shushing_face:

All my suggestions already have been mentioned in this topic, but still… :slight_smile:

I consider myself a switcher to the Mac although it has been quite a long time (15 years) when I jumped to the Mac. I still am a daily PC user at work.

  • LaunchBar/Spotlight - hit the Windows button and start typing. I am fine with that. It is no match for LaunchBar, but it works.

  • Clipboard Manager. I do not use Clipboard managers, but Windows 10 has one built-in: Win+V will activate it.

  • Custom Keyboard Shortcuts. I do not use custom ones, but there are very many shortcuts for almost any app, starting from Word, Excel to whatever else. AutoHotKey looks interesting, I never encountered that one before. :slight_smile:

  • Note app/text editor: Notepad++

  • Window Management. I do not use specific apps for that, but this is an area where Windows has a lot of stuff built-in for a long time:

  • TextExpander: It might be a surprise for many here, but I do NOT use TextExpander at work. I had login issues with RDP sessions to RDP servers, those issues were caused by TextExpander. And the TextExpander app felt… Well, you know those apps that started on Windows and have been brought to MacOS without really embracing the UI and feel of MacOS. The same was true for TextExpander under Windows when it launched. I bought Breevy at work. It once was TextExpander’s recommendation for expanding text under Windows. It was able to sync with TextExpander using Dropbox in the pre-subscription days. These days, Breevy seems a little dated, but it still works very fast and just fine. But if you already are a TextExpander customer, give it a go under Windows, it might have gotten better…

  • Drafts/nvAlt replacement. That is a tough one. I do not know of any apps that works like those apps on the Mac.

It can also be used to quickly search for things online using Bing.

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This is also a concern of mine. I haven’t had my intro meeting with IT yet so this remains to be seen. So far what I’ve picked up is that having installed Teams and Outlook on my ipad while waiting for my work laptop to be delivered is that I have to allow admins to manage my device. Cant log in to either without granting access, which I haven’t done yet so I’ve only used the web browser.

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Thanks I’ll check this out!

Sweet, that’s at least something!

This sounds promising, thanks

Thanks. I’m not very familiar with Cortana’s functionalities

Hah true indeed. I’ve been in a similar situation before, working with two laptops side by side. The context switching can sometimes be jarring.
I had a Lenovo from work a few years back as well - reminds me of one additional thing which is the MacBook screen vs other screens - I have bad eyes and staring at anything that is not Retina level pixel density and doesn’t get bright enough (gotta get them NITs!) wears my eyes down and I end up with a headache. This goes even for the last 27" ThunderBolt Display.

Thanks. Let’s see how this thing goes…

I also grew up with MS Dos and Windows and switched to Mac around 2008 or so.

Funny thing about Alfred/LaunchBar; I’ve been meaning to switch from LB to Alfred cause of some sluggishness and some inconsistencies but every time I tried I’ve given up after not knowing about an easy enough way to replicate the instant send function of LB with Alfred.