App Launcher

I want to say a few words about some useful software for finding and launching programs and files on your computer.

The old way to launch programs:

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  1. Click on the Start button.
  2. Move the mouse to Programs.
  3. If you’re using “Personalized Menus,” some of the Program folders may be hidden, so you have to click or hover on the two little arrows at the bottom of the list.
  4. Remember which of your many folders contains the program you’re looking for. You may have to browse multiple folders and subfolders to find it.
  5. Finally, once you find it, click on it to launch the program.

Alternatively, if it’s a frequently used program, you can put a shortcut on the desktop. This works fine if your desktop is showing, but if you already have one or more open windows, you first have to minimize those windows before you can click the icons on your desktop. You also have to decide in advance which icons to put on the desktop. Personally, I like to keep my desktop icons to a minimum.

Another alternative would be to create hotkey combinations (eg., Ctrl-Alt-M, Ctrl-Shift-W, etc.) for your frequently used programs. This allows you to launch selected programs without navigating through the Start menu or minimizing open windows to expose the desktop. However, in addition to deciding which programs are worthy of having hotkeys (usually only a small number of programs), you have to remember what all those hotkeys are.

I have come to prefer a specialized application launcher. My current favorite is Find And Run Robot (FARR). Another popular choice is Launchy.

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