What You Said: How You Organize Your Apps

By Jason Fitzpatrick on March 23rd, 2012


Earlier this week we asked you to share your tips and tricks for keeping your apps organized and accessible; now we’re back to showcase some great reader tips to help you manage your mountain of apps.

One of the trends was striving for consistency across environments. Henrique highlights how this plays out on a dual OS setup:

On my windows desktop I use the taskbar and to keep my day to day applications (basically firefox, itunes, office, adobe, evernote and wunderkit), and whenever I need something else, I use windows built in search, which is quite fast, despite needing a few more clicks than spotlight would.

On my macbook the dock is basically mirrors my taskbar, and I use spotlight for other applications, but launchpad is wining my heart a bit more every day. It’s faster then than accessing the applications folder and the windows start menu, and possibly even than spotlight, at least for apps

Daniel uses SlickRun—seen in the screenshot above—an all-in-one application launcher and command line tool that predates the built-in command box in the Windows start menu:

SlickRun + Windows Superbar.

If it tends to stay open constantly (File Explorer, Firefox, Outlook), it makes it to the superbar. Everything else that is every used gets a magicword in SlickRun. Slickrun is nice because how I think of a program can be used to create the magic word, rather than the way the program installs itself (for example, I use runas.exe alot for work to use alternate credentials, so I don’t remember runas, I remember the context that I was to run in). My magic word is cmdtest, it launches cmd.exe using runas to set my credential to the test environment. It’s a huge time saver!

Husie went the portable route to maintain organization across systems:

The most effective change I made was switching to a portable apps launcher – Liberkey, in my case.
I have a lot less apps in Windows Start Menu now.
The portable apps don’t need reinstalling during a system re-install and can be kept in sync (I use Live Mesh).
– Starts with Windows, icon in notification area
– can arrange apps in folders to suit
– can use “Key Files Association” feature to modify default apps
– can install portable apps (including PortableApps.com) that aren’t in their catalogue
– has search feature and portable documents option
– can be put on a thumb drive for portable troubleshooting

Windows Start Menu & Task Bar:
– I create folders in Start Menu (both locations) and keep apps sorted and manageable
– only 4 app icons in Windows Task Bar, for essential work apps
– several pinned Windows utilities in Start Menu (character map, command prompt, snipping tool, etc)
– also a couple of useful, non-work apps pinned to Start Menu
– Windows Search works well to launch apps, as many have stated

For more tips and tricks, check out the full comment thread here. Have an app organization technique to share? It’s not too late to sound off in the comments!

Jason Fitzpatrick is a warranty-voiding DIYer who spends his days cracking opening cases and wrestling with code so you don't have to. If it can be modded, optimized, repurposed, or torn apart for fun he's interested (and probably already at the workbench taking it apart). You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 03/23/12
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