Frustrated at having to click x, y and z before you can launch a program? You can, of course, store shortcuts to your favourite programs on your desktop, dock or taskbar, but it can still be fiddly opening other files and documents, particularly in older versions of Windows.

Launchy is a cross-platform, open-source application that’s designed to simplify the process of accessing just about any file on your computer. It’s launched by a keyboard shortcut – [Alt] + [Space] if you’re a Windows or Mac user, for example – and then all you have to do is start typing the name of the program or file you’re looking for – after a short pause a suggested program will appear above the dialogue box, either hit [Enter], keep typing or wait a moment to see more suggestions appear as a dropdown menu below the list.

The program is designed by default to search for program shortcuts only, but you can customise it to include any file type within any drive or folder you like: click the settings button and switch to the Catalog tab. Check the index size – if it’s zero, click Rescan Catalog to update it with all your program shortcuts.

Launchy is also designed to be expandable through the help of third-party plugins, a number of which can be downloaded from the main Launchy website, but none of these do much to improve what is already an elegant tool for speeding up access to your programs and – if necessary – your files too.


Clever little program launcher that is perfect for older versions of Windows as well as Linux and Mac users.