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26 November, 2006

Quick Launching programs

If it's mentioned in Lifehacker, perhaps it isn't quite so well-known as I'd thought, so....

Imagine you're working in Photoshop, and want to open Firefox *. You could minimise Photoshop and click on the 'Firefox' desktop icon, or you could click on 'Start' and navigate through 'Programs' and 'Mozilla' to that 'Firefox' icon.
Alternatively, you could just hit the 'Firefox' icon in your Quick Launch bar (itself in the Taskbar, normally at the bottom of the screen). One click.

The same applies to any package on your PC: add it to the Quick Launch bar and it's immediately available next time. There are three techniques, which really amount to the same one in three circumstances.

  • Hold 'Control', then click-and-drag a desktop icon to the Quick Launch bar. It'll make a copy there, leaving the original on the desktop.
  • Navigate to a program via the 'Start' menu, hold down 'Control', then click-and-drag the menu icon to the Quick Launch bar. Again, it'll make a copy there without affecting the original one.
  • Navigate to a program's .exe file via My Computer or Windows Explorer. As you'd expect: hold 'Control', drag to the Quick Launch bar.
This has allowed me to eliminate desktop icons altogether; I don't use wallpaper either, so if I don't have a program open, my screen is uniformly black. Instead, I have seven tiny icons in the Quick Launch bar (Show Desktop, HomeSite, Photoshop, Firefox, Outlook (at work)/Thunderbird (at home), WinAmp and Windows Explorer) for the regulars and the 'Start' menu for packages used less frequently.

*: Bad example. One can also launch Firefox directly from the header graphic of Photoshop's main toolbar.


I also use Quick Launch a lot, for the same reasons you describe. It's why I like the Dock on OS X - it's a kind-of taskbar and quick launch rolled into one.

Posted by Neil T. at November 27, 2006 11:46 AM
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