For the last few years I’ve been using Launchy for rapid keyboard based application launching. It’s a distant, weaker cousin of QuickSilver on the Mac, with a tiny subset of its functionality, but still fantastic. Some people, when seeing Launchy in action comment that in Windows 7 this functionality is built in via the Start menu search box.
For example typing “vis 10” in Launchy will match “Visual Studio 2010”, however in the Windows Start search thingie, it will not. You would need “vis 2010”.
In the below screenshot, you can see that Launchy matched anything that has a “vis” followed by “08” anywhere in the application name.
In short, the Windows 7 search matches from the start of a word, whereas Launchy is happy for the match to be anywhere within the word. I think that’s a lot more useful, especially in situations where a program name is a concatenation of some words. E.g. I might have a bunch of XML related applications, all with “XML” somewhere in the name… is it “XMLSpy” or “SpyXML” ? The point is, I should be able to look for it by just typing “XML”.
Anyhow, even if you’re on Windows 7, get Launchy. Or if you’ve been spoiled on a Mac, get QuickSilver. You won’t regret it.