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Launch Applications in a Flash with Launchy

The more programs you install on your PC, the harder it becomes to find the one you want. Enter Launchy, which effortlessly solves the problem of icon-cluttered desktops and Start menus. It's a text-based launcher, meaning all you do is type the first few letters of the program you want. For example, to launch Google Picasa, you type "pic" and then press Enter.

Launchy also serves up Web favorites. To head straight to Business Hacks, for instance, I type "bus." It even indexes files, so you can load, say, Word documents or iTunes music with just a few keystrokes.

If this sounds familiar, it's because Microsoft added similar functionality to Windows Vista's Start menu. But I like Launchy better, mainly for aesthetic reasons: It pops up a slick, skinnable box, and it keeps my eyes on the center of the screen instead of dragging them down to the Start menu. The very idea of a text-based launcher may sound crazy at first, but trust me when I say you'll grow to love this thing.

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