Let’s see your personal computing workstations, here’s ours

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Every so often you come across a piece on the internet that is a call to action for fans of a particular operating system. Often it’s as simple as fans coming together to post home screen photos of their favorite OS that typically include shots of unique wallpapers and positioning of apps or programs and customized icons layouts (when available).

This is one of those calls to action.

However, here at OnMSFT, we’re not segregating operating systems but would rather see a homogeny of layouts and design and we want to see more than your ‘cool’ wallpaper. In the comments below show us how you set your PCs (Macs, Chromebooks, iPhones and Android devices are all personal computers to someone) for work and play.

Some writers and editors have included their own set ups to get the ball rolling.


Let's see your personal computing workstations, here's ours - OnMSFT.com - June 30, 2017

My work machine is a MacBook Pro as I really like how easy it is to switch between your main desktop and full screen apps on macOS. I usually have three full screen apps: Spotify for playing music, my default web browser Safari and Google Chrome, which I just use for Microsoft Planner, our task management app (please note that the screenshot below shows Mission Control, the macOS feature that lets you see all your desktop apps, full screen apps and additionnal desktops spaces at a glance).

On my desktop, I always keep my email client and RSS reader opened and visible. Then during work, I also keep OneNote and Microsoft Teams close to each other, so I’m able to write articles and follow team chats at the same time. Otherwise, I don’t use many apps as I do pretty much everything in my web browser. There are two other apps that I use from time to time, but not enough to pin them to my dock: PowerPoint for light image editing and Twitter when I want to get news in real time.


Let's see your personal computing workstations, here's ours - OnMSFT.com - June 30, 2017
Let's see your personal computing workstations, here's ours - OnMSFT.com - June 30, 2017

I like to keep open at least two desktops open that separate my work and personal life. I tend to use the first desktop with Edge for most of my online viewing, Twitter to keep up on news and Outlook Mail as my primary line of communication on the desktop.

On a second screen, I place all my writing tools such as another instance of Edge for Feedly (since the web experience is pretty top notch). I also have open Microsoft Teams to keep in communication with the writing and editing teams and lastly, I begrudgingly have a Chrome tab open for writing (due to the Grammarly plugin).

If and when I have a third desktop open it’s loaded up with myTube, Grover Pro (for podcasts) and Groove for entertainment as I like to take 10-minute breaks to refresh my mind while writing.


Let's see your personal computing workstations, here's ours - OnMSFT.com - June 30, 2017

I’m unlike most people in that I keep nothing pinned to my taskbar. Because of this, any apps I see in the taskbar are open and serve as a direct reflection of the scale of the project I am working on. I also might end up spewing items all over my desktop, using it as a quick access workspace.
Once I’m done, everything gets saved, closed, and filed into an appropriate location in a folder, restoring the clean slate I started with.


Let's see your personal computing workstations, here's ours - OnMSFT.com - June 30, 2017

I try to keep my Windows 10 desktop as clean as possible, with the icons and app shortcuts to a bare minimum. The icons I have on my desktop, though, are for some of apps that I use most often, including various internet browsers, and the Windows Store. I also prefer to show both the Computer and User Files icon on the desktop too, since this is an alternate to get into the file explorer and view the status of my drives at a quick glance. I  keep these desktop icons along the bottom, right above the taskbar so I can easily find them when I press the show desktop button or multitask and switch between open windows.  Lastly, I also keep the recycle bin pinned to the bottom right side of the screen, so I can easily find it when I need to drag and delete files that I don’t need.

Most of my work is done using the Start menu, and the apps which are pinned there (thanks to live tiles) give me a quick glance at the information I need most, such as my calendar, mail, the weather conditions Mets scores, and the day’s top news. I also eliminate the list of apps from my start menu, for a more clean and concise look, and a faster way to see my information at a quick glance. Lastly, the start menu is also the place where I keep my most used apps, such as OneNote, the Snipping Tool, and Instagram, Word 2016, Groove, Photos, and more

I personally find the Start menu a better place to organize and get things done in Windows. Thanks to the added benefits of live tiles, It’s much cleaner and concise than keeping applications on your desktop, and much faster and easier to find the things you need access to most.


Let's see your personal computing workstations, here's ours - OnMSFT.com - June 30, 2017

Why have I set it up this way?

The apps on the taskbar are the ones that are opened almost throughout the day… a reflection of my typical workday.

The apps on Start Menu are the ones I use… there are hardly any apps apart from the ones on Start Menu that I use. The others are just there for a rare use case or the ones I installed for reviews etc. And forgot about them.

To access most apps, I increasingly use Cortana. It’s convenient to hit the Start key and start typing the app name instead of using the trackpad or mouse to point to the app icon. I’m an old-school keyboard person.


Let's see your personal computing workstations, here's ours - OnMSFT.com - June 30, 2017Let's see your personal computing workstations, here's ours - OnMSFT.com - June 30, 2017

I’m running Windows 10 Creators Update on my desktop, using 3 monitors. On the left I have Tweetdeck for the web open in IE 11, set to 85% zoom to squeeze in a few more columns. In the center monitor, a smaller 21” screen, I run Edge with home page tabs set for MSN.com, OnMSFT.com (backend) and OnMSFT.com (site), Google Analytics, Feedly, and Bing.

On the right hand monitor, I split it 1/3 with our Microsoft Teams channel using the Windows 10 app, and 2/3 Planner web interface, again using Edge, and using Windows Snap.
I use different browsers for different logins, and have Google Chrome set for our OnMSFT/WinBeta Google account so I don’t have to log out of my main account and log in to Google, I just open another browser. Using IE for Tweetdeck allows me to leave the view set at 85%, and I do my main browsing in Edge.

I’m a big taskbar / systray guy, and generally use the Start Menu or desktop shortcuts as little as possible. I also am big on Favorites for Edge/IE, and use both Favorites and the Favorites Bar in Edge. I use one Folder in the Favorites Bar for News (WSJ, NY Times, Washington Post, the Hill, etc), and have been using Set Tabs Aside to clear away my home page tabs and open “the news” all at once. I generally then just discard open tab sets and start fresh with a new home page set and/or a new News Folder set. This works well for me.

I do have a few Start Menu tiles I use regularly (Word, Excel, Netflix mostly), but just as often I’ll open the Start Menu and start typing to get to apps I don’t have pinned to the taskbar.
I generally like a clean desktop, I use it only for temporary storage for quick access to files I’m working with, but most often I have the screens filled with browsers.

There you have it, a couple of use cases and setups to get us going. Let’s see your workstations.

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