Lately, as I’ve bogged my computer down with with a bunch of new applications, I’ve gotten back into using a little Windows utility that I used to use all the time: Launchy. Launchy is a free, open source utility for launching applications or going to web pages on the fly, and you can download it here for either Linux or Windows.
Launchy has the slick look of many Mac applications, and you can pop it up on your desktop at any time by hitting Alt-Space. You can also customize its look with skins. There are many of these available for free in Launchy’s forum, with various types of themes.
While I try to stay on top of the mess, I occasionally have so many applications and documents right on my desktop that Launchy is just the fastest, most efficient way to go get what I want. It loads automatically up on startup, and the Alt key and Space key I use to bring it up and search are right next to each other on my keyboard.
Like browsers, Launchy is pretty good at guessing what you mean before you type a whole search string in. It also creates a drop-down list for terms you search for where it guesses at what you mean. For example, if I start typing “Google,” I’ll see Google.com, GoogleTalk and other options in my list.
How useful you’ll find Launchy depends on whether you use a whole lot of applications and how you organize them. It’s definitely worth a try, though. The footprint of the application is only a few megabytes, and the price is right.
Do you have any favorite utilities?