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If you really need to use Windows

I’m doing a masters in Germany but I don’t have a portable laptop. It is falling to pieces, so basically my laptop is used as a desktop. so weit, so gut… I am a Linux user, my keyboard layout is programmer Dvorak and a use vim a lot as well. However, sometimes I need to use Windows laptops or desktops to get my uni related things done when I am at the University.

During the last month I have been struggling and cursing the university for using windows. For gods sake, we are studying computer science and embedded systems!… Anyway, I was thinking in buying some low-end laptop just to use Linux and get my job done, but in my bottom of my heart I knew that it weren’t the best solution.

Main problems with windows machines in my university

  • They use windows
  • Cannot use terminal, I will need Cygwin to do so (it will take some time to install)
  • I don’t have Administrative rights
  • In Windows it is not available the Programmers Dvorak layout
  • Development environments are highly mouse depended, and slow in terms of workflow

After digging in the web for 3 hours I found a solution that:

  • Is portable
  • Is fast to set up, one minute max
  • Is cheap, almost 0 euros
  • Do no required Administrative rights

The solution includes:

  • Portable keyboard layout - PKL (link): I couldn’t’ stand using just Dvorak layout to do my coding, I really needed the programmer Dvorak layout. A common solutions requires the use of Microsoft keyboard layout creator, and I think it wouldn’t be an efficient solution. However, I found this pkl that it is basically plug and play.
  • gVim (link): I chose not to use any kind of terminal, because the tasks in the university are not that difficult so I can stand clicking in time to time in order to compile my job, but at least my I can type as fast as I do in Linux. And also it allows me to use my .vimrc setup.
  • USB-stick: to use these programs from there


I ended up minimizing my anger and discomfort of using Windows to do my coding at the University with a highly effective solution. I hope this post will others that hate using Windows for coding.

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