I was just reading a post by Brandon Paddock regarding a new (free) tool called Start++ that he made for Windows Vista. He works on the search technology over at Microsoft, and sticking with his area of expertise he has gone and made an awesome application. It reminds me of the keyword search in Firefox and Opera where you can designate a single letter or phrase to performing a search. The example search pictured above would do a Google search for “CyberNet News” in my default browser.


The thing that I really like about Start++ is that you can assign both keyword searches that open in your default web browser, or you can have it open a program/file. The only catch is that right now there is no “Browse” command to browse for the program or file that you want to open. I also noticed that it doesn’t support spaces in the file path even if you put quotes around it, and looking through the comments I see that someone else was having a similar problem. Brandon said that he should be able to work on it this weekend so I’ll be anxiously awaiting a new version.

It is probably important for me to mention that this does not work with Vista’s “global search field” and only works with things entered in Vista’s Start Menu search box. Initially I was bummed about that, but I don’t think I would ever use it anywhere but the Start Menu.

While you’re waiting along with me for the new release you can still take advantage of performing a quick search for your favorite sites. I can’t wait for this to work with spaces in document names and applications because it will become really useful to me then. Thanks for a great tool Brandon!

Vista tip: If you didn’t notice, as soon as you click on the Start Orb the search box is focused. I didn’t realize that initially and found myself clicking in the search field before I started typing, when in reality all I had to do was click the Start Orb (or press the Windows Key) and start typing. Props to Microsoft for thinking about focusing on the search box!

Download Start++