Launch Applications without the Programs Menu in Windows XP

I found this article from Webby’s World » The ‘Quicker’ Run Cheat via Lifehacker. Using the Win+R function is quite handy and I use it, but not in the way described in the article. I type the full path of a few programs that I use regularly and access them using the history feature in the Run window. By using the up and down arrow keys, I can find the one I want quickly.

I had not thought of making application shortcuts and entering those in the Run window. It adds some flexibility, allowing you to launch more programs. Also, you can launch most files, documents and folders this way. Just make the shortcut go to the file that you want instead of the program.

If I was doing it for myself, though, I would do it a little differently. I would create a special directory, such as c:\shortcuts and add the special directory to the system path. The shortcuts don’t have to be in c:\windows, they just need to be in the system path. I dislike adding files in the Windows directory because there is usually tons of “garbage” there already. As long as you don’t have too many shortcuts, this method works well.

There are are many ways to accomplish the same thing. At work, I use Google Desktop to run programs and I enabled the Quick Launch bar so I can access it by pressing the control key twice. It works fairly well but this is not its primary task and it doesn’t always show what you want right away. For example, it can’t seem to find IrfanView unless I type i_view32. However, Google Desktop will show all your files as well and you don’t have to explicitly create shortcuts for them.

At home, I use a program called Launchy. It does not index all the files on your computer. Only the Start Menu is indexed by default but you can make Launchy index any directory that you want. I would suggest indexing Word and Excel files in the My Documents directory and you could open them just by typing the file name.

I have tried similar programs such as FindRun Robot but I don’t really need all the options they provide. I just want something simple to index the Start menu and the Desktop. It doesn’t hurt that Launchy looks nicer, too.

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One thought on “Launch Applications without the Programs Menu in Windows XP

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