capsule review

Winlaunch

At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder Winlaunch

It's relatively quick to set up a shortcut. For a program or document, browse to the relevant file on your hard drive, or drag and drop it from Explorer to create a shortcut. You can also create a key binding to send an e-mail or open a Web site, reboot your PC, execute Winlaunch commands or perform a range of other tasks. Choose a key or key combination (such as Ctrl+F4) for the shortcut, and you're done.

But you'll have to do a little work to get those shortcuts to interact smoothly with everything else that runs on your PC. Winlaunch doesn't check to see if anything (including itself) uses a particular key combination, so you can easily create accidental overlaps. For example, its default shortcut is F1, which Windows already uses to kick off Help. If you add one or more Winlaunch shortcuts that use the same key, everything will start at once.

While that overlap could allow for interesting multi-step shortcuts, you'll most likely want to add Exceptions to tell Winlaunch not to run shortcuts while you're using particular programs. The utility can learn about your installed programs as you run them if you click a 'Learn Exceptions' button, and you can then right-click a particular program in the View Exceptions list to tell Winlaunch not to use shortcuts while you're using that app.

On my test run with a few created shortcuts, Winlaunch used about 19MB of system memory.

If you're willing to invest a little time to customize the shortcuts and manage the exclusions, Winlaunch could make using your PC a fair bit faster. For another, potentially smoother approach to shortcuts, also see the Enso Launcher, which uses typed commands as shortcuts instead of key combinations.

--Erik Larkin

To comment on this article and other PCWorld content, visit our Facebook page or our Twitter feed.
At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder Winlaunch

Notice to our Readers
We're now using social media to take your comments and feedback. Learn more about this here.