As I have used the Windows OS more, there are a few bits of information and small tips I have socked away. I’ve been most of this data over and over again as I have gotten to know the Windows OS as a development platform. A few of these things I feel like I have found better solutions to, but will continue to leave here for now. I will try to come back and update this list as I continue to learn Windows. It’s worth noting for now this list is based on my use of a Surface Pro 3 running Windows 10.

The Great List of Windows Things

  • If you download a program that simply comes as a executable, to get it to show up in with Windows search as a program you have to add a shortcut to the C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs folder. The folder is hidden, it’s best to get to it from the command prompt and then open it.
  • You can open a folder in Windows Explorer (the main file system), by typing explorer \path\to\folder in a command prompt.
  • The Windows hosts file is located at C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc\hosts. To edit it, it’s best to first open a text editor as an administrator (right-click > Run as Administrator), then open the file from the File menu.
  • You can find your PATH and other environment variables by right clicking on the start menu, choosing System, clicking on Advanced system settings, and then clicking on the Environment Variables button.
  • It’s a good idea to add an environment variable called HOME and set it to your user profile (HOME = %USERPROFILE%). This makes SSH work in the standard command prompt.
  • Your user account folder is at C:\Users\ and this is where GitBash will set up your .ssh keys. This folder started feeling very unix-like with all the dot-folders.
  • Get quick access to an elevated command prompt by right clicking the start menu and choosing Command Prompt (Admin)
  • To get to a .local domain in Google Chrome for windows, add a trailing slash or it will search google instead (http://testsite.local/).
  • Increase the buffer (ability to scroll back) in the Command Prompt window by right clicking on the command prompt icon at the top right of a command prompt window, choosing Properties and setting a high buffer value (max 999). This is still not great, but it’s better.
  • Drag a window to the top of the screen to expand the window to fit the entire screen.
  • Drag a window left or right to expand the window to fit that half of the screen.
  • Drag a window to a screen corner to expand it to fit that quarter of the screen.