March 08, 2008

A command based program launcher

If you have a Start Menu that is full of programs, you're probably just as frustrated as I am when it comes to starting them. You have to click on the button, then scroll up and down trying to find the group folder you want.

This need to hunt programs down from weeds of stuff results in all kinds of program launchers being devised for quick starts. However, if you want to launch something which you use only occasionally and isn't in the launcher (because they are constrained by real-estate), then you are stuck with the old problem.

Recently I started using Enso Launcher from Humanized. This utility in essence indexes the program names in your Start folder and makes them available for recall via typing instead of clicking.

The way you use it is pretty simple: you keep the Caps Lock key pressed down and start typing the name of a program you want to launch. Say I want to launch Adobe Illustrator, I hold the Caps Lock key down and type in Adobe. At this point the Enso Launcher will start suggesting names based on keyword matches with the programs in your Start folder.

You can either type out the full name or type in enough characters to narrow down your choice to a few and then scroll and pick the right one. The only awkward thing about this is that you have to keep the Caps Lock key depressed all the time you are doing this. This can lead to some funny accidents. But the only other option would be to launch the Enso Launcher first (or give it focus - thus requiring it to run somewhere on the desktop).

With a key recall, it can run invisibly and pop up only when called on. The choice of the Caps Lock key is a good one once you get past the idea that you have to keep a key down during its operation. For those of us who know have learned to type via instruction - this works very well although I would think hunt and peckers might have a rougher time with it.

In any case, I'm glad I found the utility and I'm only too happy to use it.