Overall, the start menu suits me well, but I’m always curious about tools that claim to make my Windows experience a little faster or, a little easier. So, when I came across a small free application from Microsoft Office Labs – Speed Launch, I took it for a spin.
Speed Launch, at its core, is an application launcher with a bit of a twist – it’s easy for an average, or less experienced user, to get their head around. The drag and drop interface is uncomplicated, and easy to grasp.
Or, as Microsoft puts it –
“Using the application is definitely no rocket science, since it can actually be managed quite easily. The basic principle relies on dragging and dropping the shortcut into the bull’s eye, and typing in the name for the newly created shortcut. Absolutely any file stored on your hard disk will be appended to Speed Launch’s shortcut list.”
Shortcuts can include an application, a Web site or a document, triggered by a word, or a phrase of your choice. Once you have set up Speed Launch with your shortcuts, accessing the launcher is east – just hit Windows (key), plus C (key).
Following installation, you’ll notice you now have a small bull’s eye on screen. I attempted to capture this bull’s eye in the following screen shot, but on a 24 inch screen it’s very small. The bull’s eye is in the center of the screen in this case, but it is movable, or it can be hidden.
The right click context menu allows full control over the application, as the following screen capture indicates.
Here’s an example in which I set up CDBurnerXP to run from the launcher.
The following example shows the effect of using the application’s Megasearch function which will open the pages of the three search engines in separate tabs in your default web browser, based on your query.
The result is illustrated in this very small screen capture. Sorry about the size, but I think it helps to get the idea across. I really liked this feature.
Watch the slide show for the step by step process by which Speed Launch allows you to identify and quickly retrieve what you use most.
This video shows you how to create functions. Watch it and learn to create your own.
System requirements: Windows 7, Vista or Windows XP SP2 with .Net Framework 3.0.
Download at: Microsoft (Go to “Try It”, on the right hand side of the page).
Note: Microsoft has a number of Lab sites all of which offer a range of free tools.
This is a rather cool little application, well worth a look.
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