Launchy: Never Use Your Start Menu Again

As your computer becomes loaded with software, your desktop may become cluttered with shortcuts and also difficult to navigate through the Start Menu.  Here is an example of what an out-of-control Start Menu may look like:

cluttered-startmenu

Launchy is an open source keystroke launcher for Windows and Linux that allows you to open documents, folders, bookmarks, installed software, and system utilities with a quick keyboard keystroke combination.

Once you have downloaded and installed Launchy, you can begin using it right away by hitting Alt+Space on your keyboard.  In the pop-up window, begin typing the name of the program you wish to launch.  Once Launchy has auto-completed the name, you can hit Enter and the selected program will start.

launchy-window

Launchy is very customizable, allowing the user to specify what items are indexed, what locations are indexed, how often they are indexed, along with different skin choices, plug-ins and many other settings.  To access the settings, bring Launchy forward with Alt+Space, right click the dialog and select Options.

Launchy also features a set of plug-ins that extend the features of the program.  A couple of my favorite Launchy commands are shown below.

Perform a Google search

A Google search is performed in the default web browser of the text entered after the Tab key is pressed, as shown below.

Google (tab) techerator

launchy-google

Open a URL

The URL entered after the tab is opened in the web browser specified, Firefox in this case.

firefox (tab) techerator.com

launchy-firefox

Display weather information

Local weather information will be displayed from Weather.com for the ZIP code entered.

weather (tab) 90210

launchy-weather

Run command line commands

instead of going to Start -> Run -> cmd, simply enter cmd (tab) and the command you wish to run.

cmd (tab) ipconfig

launchy-cmd

Another handy feature in Launchy is the auto-completion of commands.  For the examples shown above, instead of entering firefox into the Launchy window, I can simply enter fire(tab) and it will auto-complete as Mozilla Firefox.

A complete list of commands that work within the Launchy window is available here.

I have become very attached to Launchy’s functionality and often find myself habitually pressing Alt+Space on any computer I use, at times finding to my dismay that Launchy is not installed.  I highly recommend this program to everyone.


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10 responses to “Launchy: Never Use Your Start Menu Again”

  1. Jacob_K Avatar

    cool stuff, though my start menu isn't that out of control.

  2. Jacob_K Avatar

    cool stuff, though my start menu isn't that out of control.

  3. Evan Wondrasek Avatar

    Launchy is typically the first thing I install whenever I use a new computer, it is definitely one of my favorite applications. I recommend changing a few settings right away:

    Open Launchy with ALT Space, right click the window and select 'Options'. In the General tab, I typically enable 'Hide Launchy when it loses focus' and 'Always center Launchy'. I also reduce the 'Fade out time' to nearly zero.

    It's just my personal preference, but I like to use Launchy with CTRL Space instead of ALT Space, which can also be changed in the options.

  4. Evan Wondrasek Avatar

    Launchy is typically the first thing I install whenever I use a new computer, it is definitely one of my favorite applications. I recommend changing a few settings right away:

    Open Launchy with ALT Space, right click the window and select 'Options'. In the General tab, I typically enable 'Hide Launchy when it loses focus' and 'Always center Launchy'. I also reduce the 'Fade out time' to nearly zero.

    It's just my personal preference, but I like to use Launchy with CTRL Space instead of ALT Space, which can also be changed in the options.

  5. Jonathan_Paul Avatar

    Alright you have convinced me to give it a try again.

    jon

  6. Jonathan_Paul Avatar

    Alright you have convinced me to give it a try again.

    jon

  7. David Carman Avatar
    David Carman

    I just installed it and another cool thing I noticed is that with firefox's awesome address bar, if you type "firefox (tab) techerator" it will go to techerator.com or google if it can't figure out what you meant! More a feature of firefox I know but, cool that it works from launchy too.

  8. David Carman Avatar
    David Carman

    I just installed it and another cool thing I noticed is that with firefox's awesome address bar, if you type "firefox (tab) techerator" it will go to techerator.com or google if it can't figure out what you meant! More a feature of firefox I know but, cool that it works from launchy too.

  9. […] I’ve realized how little I like clicking on things.  When opening programs, I’d rather type a command with my keyboard than open my Start menu.  If I need to open a file in a folder, I type the first few letters of […]

  10. […] In the recently released DisplayFusion 3.3.1, Start buttons were added to secondary taskbars. While I’m sure this will be a useful feature for many people, I don’t even use my original Start button (thanks to Launchy). […]

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