Do you still launch programs on Windows by hunting down a desktopshortcut and double-clicking it? There are better ways – Windows hasseveral built-in tricks for quickly launching applications.Even if you know all the built-in tricks, you may want to try outLaunch or another third-party launcher – some people swear bythem. They offer more features than the Start menu searchbuilt into Windows.
On Windows 7, you can press the Windows key along with a number toquickly launch the corresponding application on your taskbar.For example, WinKey+1 launches the first application pinned to yourtaskbar, while WinKey+2 launches the second one.If the program is already open, pressing this shortcut will switch to it.If the program has multiple windows open, pressing this shortcut willswitch between them – it behaves just like clicking the taskbar icon.
You can use the Start menu’s search feature to launch a program withjust a few key presses. First, press the Windows key on your keyboard.Next, start typing part of a program’s name – you can start typingimmediately after pressing the Windows key. Typing a program’s fullname, such as Mozilla Firefox will work, but you can also type part of aprogram’s name to launch it even faster.For example, you can press the Windows key, type fir, and press Enterto quickly launch Firefox. (This may not work if you have anotherapplication installed with fir in its name.) You can also use this trick to quickly open files on your computer – just type part of their name.
If you launch an application frequently, you can assign a customkeyboard shortcut to it.First, locate the application in your start menu or on yourdesktop, right-click its shortcut, and select Properties.
Click the Shortcut key box and type your desired keyboard shortcut.Press the keyboard shortcut you define here to launch the applicationfrom anywhere in Windows.
You can also use the Run dialog to quickly launch applications. Open itby pressing WinKey+R.In the Run dialog, type the name of a program’s .exe file and pressEnter to launch it. For example, type firefox and press Enter to launchFirefox or type chrome and press Enter to launch Chrome.
Launchy is one of the most popular launcher applications forWindows, and it’s free.After installing it, press Alt+Space anywhere in Windows and theLaunchy window will appear (you can change this shortcut in Launchy’spreferences, if you like.)Type a search and press Enter to launch an application, open a file, orvisit a website. It’s smarter than the Start menu in several ways – forexample, typing ffx into Launchy will match Firefox.It also includes other features, such as a quick calculator and plug-insfor searching your bookmarks.
Launchy also works on Windows XP, where it’s even more useful– it brings the quick application search feature found inWindows Vista and Windows 7’s Start menu to Windows XPusers.