Tag Archives: Windows

MS Windows

AutoHotKey script for they who, being Mac Users and also equipped with an Apple keyboard, yet still they work at a Windows desktop

Surprising how much time you can spend on these little niggles…

  • Irritated that Windows doesn’t have an ellipsis key?
  • Wondering how to do printscreen from your apple keyboard?
  • Really really fed up with swapping between Cut‘n’Paste is “⌘-C,⌘-V” and Cut‘n’Paste is “Ctrl-c-Ctrl-v”?

Help is at hand.


When I first came across I was a bit unsure about using AutoHotKey. But I have seen the light. It is the bee’s knees. It is open source, widely used for years, free, small footprint and is the ultimate customise-all-the-things tool for Windows. It is a combined scripting tool & Keyboard/Mouse hotkey manager.

My AutoHotKey for a Mac User with an Apple keyboard on Windows Script


There you are. It’s all you need. That, and a few hours to customise it yourself. Then a few more hours to… oh, never mind.


When I said that AHK is the bee’s knees, I didn’t say that the language isn’t arcane, unintuitive and bearing signs of organic growth over a decade or more…

Apple MacOS UK Keyboard Layout for Windows & the Command key for Control

If like me, you swap between Mac and PC you’ll have been irritated by everso slightly different keyboard layouts. So here’s my Apple Extended UK Keyboard Layout for Windows Installer.

When I wrote it I was using one of these:
Apple Pro Keyboard
But since the Apple full-size layout hasn’t actually changed since then, I still use it for my aluminium keyboard.

Swapping between Mac and Windows

In addition – even if using a PC keyboard – a Mac-PC swapper will undoubtedly suffer repeated Cmd and Ctrl shortcut confusion: You want to type Cmd-X for cut and suddenly the Win-X menu comes up instead.

My preferred solution for this is an AutoHotkey script, partly because after using Autohotkey for a few weeks I realised it was an utterly brilliant, all-singing, all-dancing customise-your-Windows-in-every-way tool, with an all-but-zero footprint.
My script is https://gist.github.com/chrisfcarroll/dddf32fea1f29e75f564, which also has shortcut keys for arranging windows on a big screen.

The other reason I use autohotkey is that it enables a cherry-picking approach to swapping or duplicating Cmd-key/Ctrl-key shortcuts, which I find works much much better than doing a straight Cmd<=>Ctrl key swap. I got this approach from the keyboard layout used by Parallels on the Mac, which simply duplicated common shortcuts such as Ctrl-X, Ctrl-V to the Cmd-key. If you swap regularly between Mac & PC, this approach works well.

Inverting Mouse Scroll Direction

Since about the time that iPhone launched, OS X scroll direction, both mouse and keyboard, has used the metaphor of “push the document up to move it up the window” rather than the previous “push the scroll bar up to move the document down the window.” Windows has stayed firmly on the scrollbar metaphor.
Oddly enough, Microsoft mice come with a Windows driver that let you reverse scroll direction via the UI. For other mice, you can FlipFlopScrollWheel. Oddly, this is not per-user but per mouse/usb port combination, which means if you plug the same mouse into a different port it’s scrolls in the opposite direction.

Back to the Keyboard

If you do want a more complete Cmd<=>Ctrl key swap, then you do it with Randy’s SharpKeys.

Warning! You can’t swap keys around with it so do just this: map Left-Windows key to Left-Control. The right windows key will then still open the Windows menu and do all the Windows-Key stuff that it should do, such as Windows-L for Lock screen/Switch User:

Sharp Keys: Map just the left Windows key to Control key

If you want other keyboards than Apple UK, download the Microsoft Keyboard Layout Creator to tweak your layout.

Visual Studio 2013 Command Prompt Here for Windows Explorer Context Menu

To get a Visual Studio 2013 Command Prompt Here as a Context Menu (i.e., Right Click Menu) item in Windows Explorer, save this snippet to a .reg file and double click to import it into your registry:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\Folder\shell\Command Line VS2013]
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\Folder\shell\Command Line VS2013\command]
@="cmd.exe /k echo on & pushd \"%1\" & \"C:\\Program Files (x86)\\Microsoft Visual Studio 12.0\\Common7\\Tools\\VsDevCmd.bat\"" 

If you prefer to manually create the key path in RegEdit and add the command as the default value, drop the outermost quotes and the backslash escaping:

cmd.exe /k echo on & pushd "%1" & "C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio 12.0\Common7\Tools\VsDevCmd.bat"

New Microsoft Remote Desktop client for Mac

Remote desktop for Mac is old, and can’t always connect. It can’t connect to Windows 8.1 for instance. I keep getting the “Remote desktop connection cannot verify the identity of the computer that you want to connect to”, even though I tell it to connect anyway.

If like me your first reaction to “it doesn’t work” was to try the “Check for Upgrades” menu item then you’ll want to know that _that_ doesn’t work either.

Instead, go straight to the App store and install it from there. The spiffy new version is a great new app and works just fine.

Use P4Merge as the Merge Tool for Mercurial Windows

Whenever I do a Mercurial merge on Windows I get a little Visual Studio Dialog popup saying File -nosplash not found. Which is annoying. Especially as I have Perforce’s excellent p4merge installed.

You can set the merge tool used by Mercurial like so:

Edit %userprofile%\Mercurial.ini

where Edit is your favourite text editor, and %userprofile% is usually C:\Users\username\.
Then add this section to your Mercurial.ini file:

p4.priority = 100 
p4.premerge = True
p4.executable = C:\Program Files\Perforce\p4merge.exe
p4.gui = True 
p4.args = $base $local $other $output

You can change “p4” to anything, so long as you change all occurrences of p4 left of the = signs.
If p4merge.exe is in your path and if you use p4merge as your identifier, then you don’t need the executable line:

p4merge.priority = 100 
p4merge.premerge = True
p4merge.gui = True 
p4merge.args = $base $local $other $output