Rig Windows 10 to make work easier

There are some quick and easy things you can do to make Windows 10 easier to use.

X Window System display server

Download and install the free and open-source vcsxrv package from SourceForge. Then, configure your ssh to forward X11 packets. Then, when you ssh to a Linux or FreeBSD box, you’ll be able to run X programs. They’ll show up on your Windows desktop.

Power Toys

Get Power Toys. These are Microsoft-furnished addons to Windows.

 Sysinternals

Mark Russinovich’s Sysinternals suite has been around for a long time. Some of the programs in the suite are, well, questionable. Who wants to fake an old-timey Windows Blue Screen of Death display?

But some are very useful. Process Monitor is fantastic for finding out what’s going on in your system. TCP View is an interactive version of netstat, great for figuring out what program is using what port. Here’s a complete listing.

Path Copy Copy

You know this: when you hold the shift key and right-click on a file or directory in Explorer, you get a Copy As Path choice. Well, Charles Lechasseur’s Path Copy Copy package does that kind of thing very well.  You can copy paths in all sorts of formats, including the format needed for the Github (MSYS) shell. And, you can put some of the choices on the main menu. No more remembering to hold the shift key.

Command Prompt Here

It used to be possible to right click a directory in the Explorer and choose “Command Prompt Here.”  Then Microsoft decided to hide that stuff.  You can easily add something to the Windows Registry to let you do that.  Be careful when messing with the Registry. It might make sense to create a restore point first.

Here’s how to do it.

Save this text into a file called CommandPromptHere.reg.

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<pre> Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
 [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Directory\shell\Command Prompt Here]
 [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Directory\shell\Command Prompt Here\command]
 @="cmd.exe /s /k pushd \"%V\""

Double click the file, and let it install your new shell command in the registry.

What does this do?

  • Opens up the HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Directory\shell entry in the registry.
  • Adds a registry key called Command Prompt Here  .. the name of the item that will appear on the right-click menu.
  • Under that key, adds a key called Command.
  • Sets the default value of that key to cmd.exe /s /k pushd "%V"

You might need to restart Explorer (the file Explorer, not the old Redmond Middle School science project they called Internet Explorer) to see your new menu item.  Bounce your machine, or log off and log back on again.

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