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You may not know this if you haven’t used Windows XP (or earlier) in a while, but all Windows versions have a killer feature that lets you launch applications quickly without having to install memory-eating launcher apps. Read on to see how you can start typing away in Microsoft Word faster than ever before, and more.

The principle
To launch applications quickly, we’re gonna use Windows’ Run feature. You can bring it up by pressing Windows key + R. Alternatively, you can hit the Start button and click Run (in Vista or Windows 7 you may need to enable this through the Start Menu properties) but I recommend using the hotkey to save time.

The commands
Here are a couple of frequently used commands to get to applications like Firefox, Paint, the Command Prompt and so on. It takes a while to learn these but believe me, it’s worth it.

CommandWhat it launches
Default Windows applications
sndvol32Volume Control
regeditRegistry Editor
iexploreInternet Explorer
wmplayerWindows Media Player
cmdCommand Prompt
msconfigThe startup program manager
moviemkWindows Movie Maker
snippingtoolSnipping Tool (works in Windows 7 only by default)
Microsoft Office
Control panel
appwiz.cplAdd or Remove Programs
Popular third-party apps
firefoxMozilla Firefox
mplayercMedia Player Classic (from the K-Lite Codec Pack bundle)

Most of the applications mentioned above take arguments so that you can pass along a file to open. This comes in very handy when I have a URL of a video I want to open in Media Player Classic. To do this, I can type mplayerc http://this/is/a/pasted/url to open the specified URL in my media player immediately.

Creating your own launchers
Of course, this list of commands is non-exhaustive. You can create as many launchers as you want for just about anything including files, folders and URLs. This can be done in two ways. The easiest way is to put shortcuts in C:\Windows\. Whatever the name of your shortcut is will be the command to launch it from the Run window. So if I create a shortcut named ‘prf’ in C:\Windows\ to the Program Files folder, typing the command ‘prf’ in the Run window will bring up that folder.

Now, I can imagine you not wanting to put truckloads of shortcuts in the Windows folder. There is an alternative method involving some Registry Editor witchcraft where you create new registry keys in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\App Paths, but doing that is a lot more complicated than creating plain old shortcuts.

There Are 7 Comments

  1. Put all shortcuts in a folder and add the folder to PATH environment variable. Modifying environment variable is very easy.
    An alternative is to use everything, I can easily launch programs and open folders.

  2. [] for the extra time winner :)

  3. I find it easier to just pin the programs I use most to the Start menu, Quick Launch bar and create shortcuts to Desktop. Also if you open the start menu, which takes less keys to open (Windows logo key) than run (Windows logo + R), you can type the program name in the search box right there. It is also very easy to make a shortcut to the Start menu programs folder, which adds to results in search box.

  4. article on your blog is very quality and useful for me.I’ll save you a link blog favorite pages and I will visiting here again..^_^

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