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Launch Shortcuts Quickly With Microsoft Speed Launch

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If you are a fan of application launchers to quickly launch your favorite applications from the keyboard, you’ll probably want to take a look at a new one from Microsoft Office Labs called Speed Launch.

Rather than try and index everything on your computer like Launchy or the Vista Search box, this application lets you add exactly what you want in the list, and even lets you assign an item to launch multiple applications, documents or websites at once.

Using Speed Launch

After you install the application, you’ll notice a little bull’s-eye floating on your desktop that you can simply drag any shortcut or URL onto.


You’ll be prompted to give the shortcut a name…


Which you will use by using the Win + C shortcut key combination (or double-clicking on the bull’s-eye), and then type in the name of the shortcut. You’ll notice that your most frequently used items show up below the search box.


You can add/remove shortcuts from the list by clicking the arrow and choosing Manage Shortcuts from the menu.


Adding Google Search

The one really irritating thing that I found was that Google search isn’t included in the list by default, and adding it is a little wonky… just click on the Add button here:


And then in the Name box, use Google. with the period at the end, very important. Then add in the following as the target, making sure to click the Add button before clicking Create.


By adding the period at the end of the name, you’ll be prompted to “Create Function”, where you should enter “search term” into the first textbox, and then highlight “test” in the URL section, indicating that Speed Launch should replace test with your keyword.


Now when you choose Google from the search box or button on the launcher window, you’ll be prompted for a search term.


You can even create a shortcut that will launch multiple websites or applications at once, for instance I created an item called “Favorite Websites” that launches the websites I use most.


You can even hide the Desktop Bullseye by right-clicking on it and choosing “Hide Desktop Bullseye”, or you can just shrink it down really small if you want.


This is a rather cool little application, well worth a look. It runs on either XP or Vista, but note that it requires .NET Framework 3.0.

Speed Launch – Microsoft Office Labs

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 08/19/08

Comments (8)

  1. pipo

    cool app, I was sort of looking for something like this, because i keep forgetting to open things up (like outlook or my IMs) when I open my pc.

  2. Erik Olsen

    I guess I fail to see how Speed Launch shortcuts is any better than icons in the lower desktop toolbar. It seems to be just one more unnecessary invasion of our already cumbersome MS system.

  3. netbox

    This app will make your clicking shortcuts more than just 2 clicks :)

  4. fastbullet

    Anything M$ does that gives the user more control is a good thing, in my opinion, and I like this one.

    However, the one I’m really waiting for is the one that REMOVES all the accumulated crappola that invariably slows your machine down as time goes by.

  5. illwill

    i dont see any advantage of this over using the quicklaunch toolbar, it doesnt allow you to edit the executable’s icon. Also one would have to remove their tinfoil hat and agree to Microsoft Office Labs usage monitoring and auto updating in order to even install the program, (although using a tool like Universal Extractor from will allow you to extract the files from the installer without having to install the program.)

  6. bg1256

    Seems like a nice app; however, I use Stardock’s Objectdock already. I wonder if it is possible to drop the bullseye onto my dock? If anyone discovers how, I would appreciate to know as well.

  7. 0zSpitt

    i tried this and it was pretty good. i was hoping there would be a way to change the icon to something other than a bulls eye. out of all the lauchers i’ve tried i still find vista’s start menu to be my favorite. a couple of tweeks and every thing’s there

  8. Spacegold

    Looks like quicklaunch in disguise.

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