Launch programs faster and easily, and clean up desktop

How-To

When we use the computer, it is common that desktop ends filled up with shortcut icons of those programs most used, so we can access to that programs easily. This way of organizing shortcuts can be used if we use a small number of softwares.

It is more likely that that desktop will be filled up with dozens of shortcuts, and we need to memorize the location of each program's shortcut to open it. This will slow down the process of launching programs.

In this tutorial we will see how we speed up the access to the software installed in the computer. This way the use of computers will be less frustrating and more comfortable.

Normally when we want to launch a program, we lookn in the desktop or in operating System Start menu (Windows, Mac or Linux). Depends on how frequently we use the program, it take more or less time in find the icon to open that program. We can say that this task can take us between 1 and 10 seconds. This is a long time for performing the simple task of launching a program.

With the software presented in this tutorial, we can reduce the time spent in opening an app by 1 a second or less. We'll acquire great agility when opening and launching applications.


Launchy is a program that by using a simple key combination (by default Alt+Spacebar), allows us to find any program installed on the PC and launch it instantly.
Imagine that you want to open Total Commander file manager. The process to open it is so simple as pressing Alt+spacebar, type “Total Commander” and press Enter.


In reality, it is not necessary to type the full program's name, Launchy will suggest us programs that match the text that we're typing.
For example, as we type the name of “Total Commander” different suggestions will be showed. When we type letter “T”, it will show all the programs starting with T, after that, when we type “To”, it will display all the softwares that begin with To, etc. In such a way, that we will be able to select the program “Total Commander” by typing only two letteres: “To”. So to open Total Commander we have performed the following steps:

  1. Press Alt+Space Bar

  2. Type To

  3. Choose “Total Commander” in the list and pressed Enter

It may seem that we are going to take more time doing these 3 steps that looking for the icon and double click on it. But pressing Alt+spacebar key combination becomes automatic, and typing the he first letters of software's name is something that requires no special skill.
In addition, Launchy will learn about our selections, in such a way that if every time we type “To”, we select “Total Commander”, there will be a moment that just typing “To”, “Total Commander” will be selected automatically, and the process will be even faster, since we only need to do:

  • Press Alt+Space Bar

  • Type To, and press Enter

In this way, we will have fast and easy access to all applications installed in our PC.


You can download Launchy from the following link: Download Launchy

The installation is very simple and does not install any kind of unwanted software or malware. In the installation we can choose the mode “Normal” or “Portable”. If we choose Normal, the program will be installed in the PC and may be used at any time. If we choose “Portable” mode, the program will not be installed on PC. “Portable” mode is perfect for those people who are engaged in repair computers, because it will allow them to access all the applications on client's PC, without installing the program.

When we start the program for the first time, it will scans the computer looking for programs that can be launched with Launchy.


By default, the program only allows you to launch the applications that are located in the operating systems Start Menu.
For example, we want to launch the program 7-zip, and we see that it's not possible to do so, because 7-zip is not in the list of applications that can be launched.


This can easily be changed, so we need only to press the gear icon in the upper right, and click on the tab “Catalogue”. Click on “+” button and select the directory we want to include, for example, “C:\Program Files”.



Now click on “Rebuild catalog”, and the program will add all the applications of that directory to the applications catalog.
As we see, when the catalog is updated, we can launch 7-zip using Launchy.



If for example we have a directory where we install all our games (C:\Games), we must add it to the applications catalog so we can launch the games using Launchy.

In addition to launching programs and applications, we can use Launchy to perform other tasks. Thanks to Plugins System, we can do things like:

  • Perform mathematical operations from the interface of the program, without the need to launch another calculator app.

  • Direct access to our favorite web pages. We can add web pages manually using the “WebyPlug-in, or we can also configure the plug-in so it can access to Firefox and Internet Explorer favorites.

  • Kill processes that are being executed in operating system.

Plugins only works on Windows, and new plug-ins can be downloaded from the web: http://www.launchy.net/plugins.php


The interface of the program is very simple and can be customize. There are Themes that allow us to change program's appearance. To change themes we need to press on the gear icon in the top right, or press the right mouse button and choose “Options”. Within the options menu, choose “Topics” tab.

As we can see, we can choose from several different themes. In this case we have chosen one Theme that seems like a Post-it. That gives a funny aspect to the program.


The software is available for Windows, Linux and Mac. Although some of the features are only present in Windows version. This is because this program originally was development for Microsoft's Operating System .

The program is free of charge for personal and professional use. If we like the program and want to thank the author, we can make a donation using Paypal or Bitcoins: http://www.launchy.net/donate.php

Sure that once you have installed the program and learn the basic usage, you will no longer use desktop icons shortcuts or Start Menu.

by Rubén Hernández

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