I’ve been using Launchy for a few months, and have fallen completely in love with it. I’ve completely abandoned my start and quick launch menu’s. On my work PC and my laptop it’s mapped to alt-spacebar, and when I’m on my fife’s computer I hit the combination *every single time* before I complain and find the program.

Launchy is a utility that lets you launch programs by typing in their name, or just a little bit of it. If I want to open query analyzer I hit alt-space, “que”, and enter. If it happened to be the tool that started with Q that I used the most, eventually I could just type “q” and have it launch.

Launchy recently went to a 1.0 release and introduced the one feature I had wished it had, and another one I didn’t even know I wanted and am in love with.

In addition to program launching it can now launch folders. So if I want to get to my temp directory, instead of finding an explorer window and navigating there I can type alt-enter, “c:” tab, “my” tab, enter, and I’m in “c:\mytemp”.

The other addition was to integrate web searches into the tool. So now to do a wikipedia search I hit alt-space, “wik” tab, “super bowl shuffle”, and I’m there (result). alt-space “imd” tab, “han solo” tab (result). alt-space “g” tab, “nutritional heuristics”. (result) Well you get the idea.

Sure, that’s all functionality I already have built into my firefox, but I prefer to stay on my keyboard as much as possible. And saving even a few keystrokes an operation can really add up over the course of a day.

So if you’re on windows, give it a shake. It’s swell.