How many of us have shown up on site only to find out that we aren't allowed to use our own laptops on the customers network? "Welcome to Company X, where everything is locked down Windows and productivity doesn't matter." Working on a system that is completely locked down can really hold you back, and while I'm not advocating circumventing the security mechanisms that are in place, here are some "hacks" to get a productive working environment.
Get Elevated Privileges
This should be the first thing you ask for. If you aren't able to get elevated privileges on the system then you are going to have to suffer with Putty and Word.If you can't get elevated access then make friends with the tech support staff pronto and have them figure out how you are going to run all this cool software so you can do your job.
After you get that settled take a look at these:
Virtualization and Orchestration
First ensure that Intel vt-x/d is enabled in the BIOS/UEFI. On my laptop it was in the the security section of the BIOS. Get the tech guys to help you if it's password restricted. This will allow vmWare/VBox to work. Now check out the following:
Vagrant > Vagrant provides easy to configure, reproducible, and portable work environments built on top of industry-standard technology and controlled by a single consistent workflow. IE you never have to actually configure your hypervisor again. Download machines at will from Atlas.
Virtualbox > Vbox is free and also enjoys the most support from Vagrant. You will want to Download 4.3.12 as any version newer than that has issues with hardened windows systems like the one you are probably on.
ChefDK > The Chef Development Kit (ChefDK) brings the best-of-breed development tools built by the awesome Chef community to your workstation with just a few clicks. Access the chef toolset and manage your local machine with chef instead of manually doing things
Chocolatey > Like apt-get for windows, also the basis for the new windows package manager.
Cmder > a shell replacement that comes with msysgit. Comes with all the bash like aliases you love like; ls, more, less, rm, mkdir, etc. Unzip this into your user's directory. Something you will want to do is configure aliases so that you can do things like set the proxy from the command line. I like to set Aliases proxyon/off. You can set this in C:/Users//cmder/config/aliases.
proxyon=set http_proxy=http://<proxy_server>:<port> && set https_proxy=http://<proxy_server>:<port>
proxyoff=set http_proxy= && set https_proxy=
Additionally you will want to set the default shell to be cmd instead of powershell. Unless you are in to that sort of thing.
2015 C++ Redis > This has a couple of .dll's that cmder needs to work.
SharpKeys > Take control of your keyboard. SharpKeys allows you to remap keys without having to go into the registry...cause it does that for you. Use this to remap CapsLock to Ctrl so that your hand can stop hurting.
VirtuaWin > This tool gives you multiple desktops w/ hotkeys to switch between them. You can actually use applications in full screen because you can dedicate real estate to them. Great when you only have one monitor. Remember to disable the Intel screen flipping hotkeys because ctrl + alt + right just feels right.
Revo Uninstaller > This is great for removing any of these tools that you don't want.
Vim > Because a: who doesn't want vim and b: it makes you cmder environment feel really Linuxy.
Xming > Local xserver so you can export *ix displays back to your local machine.
VScode > A powerful, cross platform code editor from Microsoft. Used to be part of visual studio and is now it's own thing.
Chrome > Now go get these three extensions:
Markdown Here > Allows you to write in Markdown and toggle it to html. Works in any window that is rich text...Like this one.
Vimium > The hackers browser; Gives you vim like control of your web browser
LastPass > Safely store all your passwords. Because I have to many to remember.
After you have downloaded and installed the above you need to make a few windows tweaks to clean up your desktop and ensure that a couple of programs start on boot.
Modify your startup menu by clicking on Start > All Programs and navigate to Startup. Right-click and select explore. Add shortcuts for the programs you want to start on boot. I like to add Chrome, xming, and Cmder.
Now get rid of those unwanted icons that are cluttering your desktop. I'm a big fan of clean and I hate having a bunch of crap on my desktop. If you are the same way then launch an elevated cmder session and
# cd C:/Users/Public/Desktop
# rm *.lnk
# cd C:/Users/<username>/Desktop
# rm *.lnk
Cmder gives you a couple of nice things besides the linux like commands. It comes w/ msysgit which will allow you to clone and commit to a git repo. It also has a built in ssh client. So you can say goodbye to putty.