Launch everything: Launchy

The most used part of my Windows XP is the Quick Launch area. I keep shortcuts to all my often used programs in there. Start->Programs menu becomes unusable if you have an addiction for trying new software all the time. I still continuously battle the ever growing list in my Quick Launch bar by weeding out the programs I haven’t used in a while.

I love increased productivity and I worship tools that help me with it. I have come across Launchy at Lifehacker a few dozen times but never tried it. Until today!


Launchy is a free open-source windows utility that helps you launch programs, documents, mp3s or anything you wish in a couple of key strokes. I believe Launchy was inspired by a popular app in the Mac world – QuickSilver. In their words,

Launchy is a free windows 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!

It is the proud winner of SourceForge Community Choice Awards 2007 and a well deserved winner at it.

Quick Facts

It’s time to forget about your Start Menu and experience a whole different way of interacting with Windows which is undoubtedly addictive. I just started using this utility so this is not a full blown review. More of a ‘Look what I just found.. may be you’ll like it too!’ kind of a post.

  • Runs in the background on Windows startup.
  • Hit Alt + Space to access Launchy – you can customize this to any keystroke you want. I use Alt-A because it is easier to key it with my left hand.
  • It indexes directories you specify and can index file extensions you specify. Limit to just .exe files or index your music and video files if you wish. Index can be rebuilt manually or automatically.
  • Supports command line options. You can launch Firefox profile manager by typing ‘firefox’ hit tab and enter ‘-profilemanager’.
  • My favorite feature: Plugins. I love Firefox and WordPress for these plugins that make the application so much more useful and customizable to our needs. There are a few built-in ones but I think there will be more to come as the app gets popular.
  • My second favorite feature: Portable. Just copy the Launchy directory to your USB stick and run Launchy. Right click on the interface and choose ‘Portable Mode’ from Advanced Options and Exit. I am still getting a hang of this to make it rescan everytime I use it in a different computer. More on this in the coming weeks.
  • With the official built-in Foxy plugin, it automatically indexes Firefox bookmarks and you can get to those right from within Launchy.

Lifehacker has a few neat tricks to use Launchy to update Google Calendar, send text messages through Twitter and most interestingly to add tasks to Remember the Milk (using Twitter integration with RTM).

Give it a whirl, if you fancy a Windows experience with no Windows Explorer or Total Commander or any file manager of your choice. If you use Launchy, why not share your tips and tricks here in the comments?

Download Launchy [SourceForge]

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5 Responses to “Launch everything: Launchy”

  1. Stephen Cronin August 20, 2007 at 9:00 am #

    Sounds promising. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to work on Windows 2000 (I get an error when I run it), which is what I have to use at work.

  2. K-IntheHouse August 21, 2007 at 2:12 am #

    That sucks it doesn’t work on 2000. You might be able to find a hack, Stephen.

  3. Quicksilver February 5, 2009 at 12:07 pm #

    What is Quicksilver? I’ve never heard of a Mac app with that name. I’ve heard of the book and the truck liners – but not an application.

  4. gab007 May 23, 2009 at 2:54 pm #

    cannot handle contacts…otherwise it’s not too bad for a windows app.


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