We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
80,259 News Articles

Free Vista add-on speeds search

Microsoft engineer writes unofficial update

A Microsoft engineer has posted an unofficial add-on to Vista's desktop search that lets users set and use single-letter shortcuts to speed up web searches or even launch applications.

Brandon Paddock, a developer who works on search for the Windows team, created Start++ as a Vista counterpart to the Deskbar Shortcuts feature built into the Windows XP version of Windows Desktop Search.

In XP, Deskbar Shortcuts allowed users to go directly to a website; pull information from the site, such as a search results list; or quickly start a program or open a specific document by typing a keyword in the search box.

"Unfortunately, [Vista] lacks all of that fun shortcut functionality that the Deskbar had," Paddock said on his blog.

Start++, which can be customised by editing an XML file, launches a Google search for Courtney Love, for instance, using the string "g courtney love" in the Vista Start menu's search box.

The add-on is free, Paddock said, but he warned users that it is a work in progress. "This is kind of something I threw together, so it might still have some bugs," he said. "I'll probably add more to it when I get the time on weekends and such."

Start++ can be downloaded from Paddock's blog.


IDG UK Sites

Best camera phone of 2015: iPhone 6 Plus vs LG G4 vs Galaxy S6 vs One M9 vs Nexus 6

IDG UK Sites

In defence of BlackBerrys

IDG UK Sites

Why we should reserve judgement on Apple ditching Helvetica in OS X/iOS for the Apple Watch's San...

IDG UK Sites

Retina 3.3GHz iMac 27in preview: Apple cuts £400 of price of Retina iMac with new model