Going back to Windows is really tough

In the brief time that’s passed since I completely switched to Mac from Windows I have barely powered up my primary Windows machine. My Mac Pro gets the majority of my attention and since I’m doing my development work in Ruby on Rails now I haven’t even had to fire up Windows in a VM very often. The MacBook fills in the rest of my time—usually travel or meetings—with the Ubuntu machine performing some server related tasks (Subversion server and MySQL mostly).

Rather than have an extremely expensive piece of hardware sitting around and depreciating every day I decided to sell it while it still has some value. A buddy of mine on one of the gaming networks I belong to offered to buy it and yesterday I went about the process of cleaning out the machine. Since you can’t really sanitize an existing Windows install the best thing to do is just reinstall/reformat Windows XP.
I spent 17 years on Windows so I know my way around, especially when dealing with arcane driver and registry issues and the inevitable errors. Why was it then that I felt like a stranger in a strange land on the machine? I was only a month and a half removed from daily Windows use. My precious Mac keyboard shortcuts didn’t work and the navigation controls I struggled with initially on Mac were now ingrained into my muscle memory.
More than once in prepping the machine and ensuring that everything of value was moved off I would just jab at Command-Space (Alt-Space on the Windows keyboard), expecting QuickSilver to launch so that I could get to a program quickly. Nothing happened of course and I would sigh, my shoulders would sag and I would reluctantly grab the mouse. I tried to do simple things like copying text to the clipboard and fail (Command-C on Mac, Control-C on Windows).
I had to open a CMD window and execute several instructions to manually register some DLLs; I reluctantly remembered that I had to go through the little CMD menu in order to paste items. On my Mac when I need to paste a string into the terminal I use the standard Command-V; Windows can’t use their default Control-V command in a CMD window because the Control modified keys have significance to command line applications. It’s just a mess.
All of these little things were just a frustration to me. When I was going through the transition from Windows to Mac it was easier because I had a feeling that the Mac was something I wanted to spend time on. From the minute I fired up the MacBook I was excited about using the machine; it had me at hello. On the other hand with Windows I know that I’m not going to be using it any time soon so I’m far less tolerant of things not working the way I except them to. It is a mindset thing to be sure.
I am very fortunate; as an entrepreneur and business owner I have the luxury of choosing which technologies I want to use. Since my move to Mac happened to coincide with the creation of my next venture I was able to make a clean start and not be concerned with legacy issues, especially since I opted to go with platform independent development tools. Outside of their homes few people have that choice.
I am going to box up the Windows machine in preparation for shipping. I rotated machines pretty regularly so I don’t hold a particular affection for the physical machine I’m about to send off. I do however feel like I’m sealing a big part of my Windows experience into the box and shipping that off too though.
Who knows, maybe I’ll rediscover Windows in 17 years or so.