I just looked over my last few weeks of posts, and I can't believe I've forgotten to talk about Launchy!
I found Launchy courtesy of my constant perusal of Mac OSX sites that always hype Quicksilver (more detailed explanation here), a powerful keyboard based application launcher. So without having OSX to play with, I went looking for a suitable Windows alternative.
And so I found Launchy.
Launchy is great stuff -- hands down one of the most useful software tools I've installed this year. Just hit the "Alt" and "SpaceBar" together and this slick-looking bar pops up:
Not that much to look at, but if I start typing:
And if I keep typing, I get what I'm looking for:
(I could have also used the down arrow to pick the iTunes program out of the drop down box).
What Launchy does is index your Windows Start menu, programs directory and bookmarks and then helps you to find what your looking for, then launches the appropriate executable file to start the program or bookmark. I've pretty much stopped using my Start Menu, Quick Launch toolbar and desktop shortcuts since I put Launchy to work for me. And it learns too, putting the programs you use more often higher up in the returned results. You can of course, configure it to avoid certain directories or document types that should not be indexed.
Other cool features:
* Built in searches: just type "IMDB" or "Google" and hit the Tab button. You'll get a vertical bar "|", after which you can type your search term and it'll open your browser and retrieve your search results for that engine:
* Directory launching: Launchy also knows all about your "Documents and Settings folder", bringing you the ability to retrieve (and launch) documents from your "My Documents", "My Music", etc. folders:
Give Launchy a try -- you will be glad you did!