Whilst i've been using Magento CE for a bit, i still don't feel that i have the correct development workflow set up.
At the moment, I have Magento 1.9 installed under XAMPP on a Dual boot Windows machine.
When i need to work on Magento sites, I boot up in my second Windows (XP Home) OS.
This helps with not having to turn certain Windows Services on and off all the time, but it's now perfect as I still need to work on some of my other 'Windows' based applications.
The other issue is even when I'm working on the correct Windows version locally, I still end up working on the LIVE sites.
I could use some help and advice on setting up a proper developemnt environment where I can work and deploy safely.
Thank you all in advance.
Windows 7 with VirtualBox. Run a native Linux VM with Apache, MySQL and the PHP DSO installation for Apache. Don't have to deal with all the bletcherous Windows weirdness and Dual Boot misery that way and it provides a development environment as close to your live server as you want to make it. (Match Linux distribution, Percona DB or alternative HTTP Server as needed).
You can also run your IDE of choice on Windows 7 at the same time you have the server up and functioning, test on all the browsers that will run on Windows 7 as well. You can even have older Windows browsers on Windows VMs to check for backwards IE compatibility, something that should be a thing of the past on Firefox and Chrome.