A Practical Review: Good bye Start Menu, Hello Launchy

For the average computer user who only uses 2-3 programs on a regular basis, having to use the Start Menu as a portal to all your programs isn’t much a of problem. But if you’re doing dev/design work, you’re probably used to constantly juggling a multitude of programs and windows, pallets, folders, websites, etc. and digging all that out of the start menu or cluttering up the desktop becomes more and more problematic.

Over the years, I’ve tried dozens of UI performance enhancers with consistently disappointing results. Most get trashed immediately, others manage to last a week or two and eventually get uninstalled, accompanied by a sense of failure and frustration.

But not you, Launchy . You’re here to stay.

Imagine a reality where:

  • You never have to click ‘Start’ and sift though ‘All Programs’ again.
  • You don’t have put all your favorite apps on the desktop or quick launch bar.
  • You can open any program with the keyboard in 2-4 keystrokes.
  • You can open any folder with the keyboard in 2-4 keystrokes.
  • You can open any website with the keyboard in 2-4 keystroke.
  • You can open any bookmarked with the keyboard in 2-4 keystroke.
  • You can perform a google search with the keyboard in 2-4 keystrokes.

Welcome to my world. Come on in, the water’s fine.

From the horse’s mouth:

  • “Launchy is a free windows and linux utility designed to help you forget about your start menu, the icons on your desktop, and even your file manager. Launchy indexes the programs in your start menu and can launch your documents, project files, folders, and bookmarks with just a few keystrokes!” – http://www.launchy.net/

Here’s the low down:

  • Its open-source and therefore free.
  • All you do is install the program, let it know which directories you want it to index, assign it your favorite keyboard shortcut combination, and BOOM.
  • Thereafter, just hit the key combo (I’m partial to ctrl-space) and this little box appears:
  • Just type what you’re looking for and it gives you live results as you type.
  • It also remembers what you’ve typed previously to launch each program. So to open Flash CS4, all I have to type in is ctrl-space, f, enter.
  • Now the 2 dozen apps I use on a regular basis are just a keystroke away, my desktop is clear, and I haven’t bothered with the Start Menu in months.

Life is all about the little things, and this little gem has left a big impact on how I use a computer.

Learn more here:

Download it here:

Written by Doogin

March 2nd, 2010 at 11:30 pm

Posted in Practical Reviews

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