Tip o’ the Week 357 – Launching Windows Apps

clip_image002How do you like to start your applications?

In Windows 3.x days, you double-clicked on an icon in Program Manager (or PROGMAN aka Program Mangler) and you got to manage groups of icons to help you organise your applications. There was an accompanying File Mangler too, that might still be usable on modern OSes if you fancy it, and you’ve decided that you have too much time on your hands.

clip_image004Most normal people these days will start applications from the Start menu, or the programs list that shows up when you press the Windows Key or click the Windows logo on the task bar. The app list has evolved somewhat, so now shows most-used apps near the top, and if you start typing a name (like outl) then you’ll be shown the relevant shortcut for that particular app.

If you know an exact app command that you want to execute (eg outlook /safe to launch it with no addins), you can run it by pressing WindowsKey+R and entering the clip_image006command, but you get little in the way of help in finding the right thing to type. Simply pressing the WindowsKey and starting to type will show you a load of options for a simple app launch that you might be looking for.

clip_image008Another option could be to follow a process familiar to Windows Phone users, though with a slightly different mode – if you click on one of the letters or symbols that show up at the top of each group of applications, you’ll get a grid of letters just like on the phone – tap or click on one of those to jump quickly to the right group of apps within.

The same approach shows up in some other Windows apps too – like in Groove, where you can select the list of artists or albums etc, based on the letter, rather than scrolling up & down.

This is redolent of the much-vaunted Semantic Zoom feature in Windows 8, which seemed like – and was – a truly great idea at the time, but was fairly poorly implemented by mainstream app publishers who just wanted to port mass-grid iOS and hamburgerised Android apps to Windows. Oh well, back to the day job.

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