I use a lot of software applications and without a program launcher, I feel really miserable. I don’t use desktop shortcuts or create program groups in Windows start menu. All I do is organize different applications according to groups and use a hotkey or unique key combination to launch a desired program.
There are tons of software available to launch programs in Windows. Some of the very famous are Launchy and RocketDock program launcher. But I don’t prefer using them now, because they hog down the system memory. Other ways to launch applications in Windows is to create groups in Windows right click context menu, using mouse gestures but the following trick is the most effective.
Use a Simple Batch File to Launch Multiple Programs in Windows
This trick will create a single desktop shortcut and double clicking the shortcut will launch several programs at once:
1. First, copy the installation path of the program you want to open. You can find the installation path of a program by right clicking the shortcut or the start menu entry, select “Properties” and look in the shortcut tab as shown below:
2. Now open notepad and paste the following:
Start “installation path of the program”
So if you want to launch Firefox you have to paste Start”C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\firefox.exe”
3. In the same way paste the installation paths of all the programs you want to start together.
4. Now save the file as shortcut.bat anywhere n your disk or desktop. Remember to choose the type as “All files” and not as a text document.
That’s it, now double clicking the shortcut will launch all the applications one by one that are listed in the batch file. This is a great way to open multiple programs with a single click, you don’t have to hunt for the program shortcut in start menu or desktop.
Example: I have three to four such Batch files saved in my computer’s hard drive. One of them is design.bat (the one shown in the screenshot above). Whenever, I am tweaking the site’s design I have to use an HTML editor, FileZilla, Firefox and Google Chrome. I use the batch file to open all these programs. Another Batch file is morning.bat, this one I use to open the browser, email client, IM’s and Tweetdeck in the morning. Quite handy!
Open Multiple Programs using AutoStarter
If you don’t want to manually create the Batch file, you can use a free utility called AutoStarter. Using AutoStarter, you can create lists and groups of programs which can then be opened using hotkeys.
The good thing about AutoStarter is that it’s portable and hence all the lists will continue to work if you format the computer and reinstall the same programs at the same location. The Software works in Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7.