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The best apps to get when switching from Mac to Windows

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These four utilities can help a Mac vet feel right at home on Microsoft's platform

Microsoft's latest version of Windows 10 is available now, and it's full of great improvements and refinements to the world's most popular desktop operating system. If you've been using a Mac, you might be intrigued by Windows 10, now that it's in a matured state.

While Windows and OS X (soon to be macOS) are similar in concept, in practice using them can be quite a different experience. Apple's platform is full of helpful user experience features that make it easier to navigate the operating system. Windows has some of its own, but if you want to ease the transition from Mac to PC, here are a few of our favorite tools to make you feel a little bit more at home.

Seer

Seer for Windows

Seer for Windows.

One of the best things about OS X is the ability to preview files quickly and easily with your spacebar in Finder. Fortunately, I found Seer, which does exactly that, but more. Not only will you be able to preview photos or videos with just a tap on your spacebar, but you'll also be able to dive into zip and rar files, as well as some of Adobe's project files from Photoshop or Illustrator.

Lightshot

LightShot for Windows

Lightshot for Windows.

Taking a screenshot on Windows 10 can be a hassle. You often have to fiddle around with a combination of keyboard shortcuts or copy and pasting it into Paint. However, there's an app I started using recently called Lightshot. Lightshot provides a very similar experience to the native screenshot tool built into OS X. After installing Lightshot, all you have to do to take a screenshot is press the "Prt Scrn" key (or you can set another key combination if your keyboard doesn't have a print screen button) on your keyboard and you'll be able to select what area on your screen you want to capture. From there, you can save it, copy to your clipboard, or share it to other apps. You can also annotate the screenshot afterwards if you want to highlight exactly what you want others to see in your screenshot.

Wox

Wox for Windows

Wox for Windows.

Apple's universal search tool, Spotlight is a core experience of OS X. Whether it was finding certain files or launching specific apps, I used it every single day. Windows 10 has Cortana, which can perform many of the same things, but its interface isn't quite the same. Wox is an open-source app on GitHub that is essentially a Spotlight or Alfred alternative for Windows. You'll be able to search for apps, files, search on the web, and you can even add plugins to make Wox even more powerful which is something you can't quite do with Spotlight out of the box.

WinXCorners

WinXCorners for Windows

WinXCorners for Windows.

Hot corners, which let you activate certain shortcuts by moving your mouse pointer to the corner of your screen, are a staple in OS X. They used to be in Windows 8, but were removed for Windows 10. WinXCorners is an app that restores basic hot corner functionality to Windows. It allows you to assign actions such as: task view, show desktop, start screensaver, or turn monitor off to the four corners of your desktop. Unfortunately, there aren't as many options or customization features as I’d like, but for basic hot corner needs, it gets the job done.


Windows 10 Anniversary Update