Making Windows Act a Little More Like Mac OS X

After having some major problems with my Thinkpad last Thursday, I bit the bullet and did a complete format and restore of the hard drive to its factory condition. This not only fixed my issues, but also seemed to speed things up considerably. There’s really nothing quite like a fresh Windows install – at least when you’re working on a PC.

So, I took this opportunity to make my Windows laptop just a little more like a Mac. First, I installed the really nice X1 Search client, sort of like a Spotlight for Windows XP. It indexes all of my files and all of my work email, letting me find exactly what I’m looking for in 1/10th of the time it normally takes to browse through my documents and emails. It’s a great time saver, and it’s free.

I also installed a trial version of ActiveWords, a piece of software that does some of what Quicksilver does in Mac OS. You can watch some of the demos for a good overview, but it basically lets you type words into a little pop-up window to perform a task. For example, I can press the control key plus the spacebar to bring up the “Actionpad”, where I type the word “gmail”. This will launch an instance of Firefox and bring me to my Gmail inbox automatically. There’s even a complete scripting language to let you create automate more complex tasks. Pretty cool and also a big time saver, especially since I can take many of my common tasks down to a couple of keystrokes.

While I haven’t exactly done much here, it sure beats using the default Windows install. The main thing is that I’ll be able to get a little more work done…

3 replies on “Making Windows Act a Little More Like Mac OS X”

Hey…let me know when you want the guided tour of ActiveWords. You can type anywhere, you don’t need to use the Actionpad. Here is one simple tweak that will help a lot:

Right click on the ActiveWords monitor, go to options, go to confirmation options, and then enable the spacebar/spacebar box at the top 1/3 of screen.

This way you don’t have to reach for the F8 key, and can just use the space bar to trigger ActiveWords.


Also, you can type anywhere, you don’t have you use our ActionPad. I think we do more than QS, and frankly do it more intuitively once you realize that you can name stuff, and there is no limitation to the number of ways that you name the same thing, i.e. I use w,wd,word, and write to all launch word. Whatever comes first to my mind triggers the event. If you also want a lesson in scripting, just let me know. I collected a bunch of scripting stuff here,

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