If you tried Windows Vista, you'd probably know the Start Search box in the Start Menu. It shows all application names that contain the letters you entered in the search box. This is a very useful feature if you have many applications installed on your PC.

It helps you to start applications much faster. Launchy and Quickstart are two freeware tools offering more or less the same for Windows XP.

The advantage of both tools is that you can add other directories containing applications or files you want to access this way. Launchy has a nicer GUI, but Quickstart has more features.

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  1. Jim 16 years ago

    I’m anxious to see how well this feature works in Vista. Being a cross platform guy I’ve fallen head over heels for Quicksilver for Mac OS X .

    I’ve tried Launchy, Quickstart, along with a few others I don’t recall the names of in the last year on XP and have yet to find anything anywhere as functional and slick as Quicksilver. Since I doubt Quicksilver will be ported to Windows, I’m hoping that Vista does a decent job of implementing an app launch system like Quicksilver. The other features would be nice as well but good app launching would be a good start.

  2. Jim, I never tried Quicksliver, but I liked Start Search more than Launchy and Quickstart since it displays all matches. With Launchy and Quicksilver you have to scroll down to access the other matching apps.

  3. Jim 16 years ago

    Quicksilver, to my knowledge, won’t show the whole list but the nice thing that it does that Launchy and Quickstart don’t seem real good about is that it uses some sort of intelligence so it has a good idea of what software or items you want to select. It can learn what should be popping up first on the list as you type the name of the app. If Launchy actually has anything like that, it’s definitely not on the same level or simply doesn’t work.

    BTW, I have found a shareware app like these called AppRocket. I haven’t ran it through its paces yet.


  4. Mads 15 years ago

    Vista’s Start Search has a similar intelligence feature as QuickSilver. Though I think QuickSilver’s seem more intelligent 🙂

    I’ve used Launchy quite a bit back in the XP days, but since I installed Vista, I’ve forgotten all about Launchy ’cause Vista’s Start Search does it for me. It, of course, also searches other items than applications (documents, music …) since it is really just the Desktop Search + app loader.

  5. Mads, the biggest advantage of Start Search is that it is already installed. You can get most of Vista’s new user-interface-features also for XP, but it is often just too time consuming to install and configure them

  6. Mads 15 years ago

    Michael: I fully agree with you – a lot of the new features in Vista are stuff you could have “plug-in’ed” your way to, but it’s just become easier to work with a fresh Windows installation…

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