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HOWTO: Quickly launch apps from the Run box

This entry will show you how to satisfy either of the following:

  • Save time from navigating the Start menu by using the Run box
  • Act like a geek by running apps from the Run box, almost as if you were running them from a terminal

So say you use a few programs very often. Let’s say… Photoshop, Dreamweaver, FileZilla, and PuTTY. Instead of launching the programs from the Start menu, or using Desktop icons (those are so 90’s), you can set up shortcuts that will launch them from the Run box.

Make simple shortcuts
First, make a bunch of shortcuts on your Desktop to all the programs you want to run via the Run box. Next, rename the programs to short, memorable names to enter in the Run box. For example, here are some names I use and their respective programs:

adaware       Ad-Aware
cleanup       CleanUp!
cygwin        Cygwin console
dc            DC++ (DirectConnect client)
dw            Dreamweaver
excel         Microsoft Excel
fz            FileZilla (FTP client)
hjt           HijackThis (malware removal)
im            Trillian
mp3tag        Mp3Tag
mytunes       myTunes redux
pe            Process Explorer
ps            Adobe Photoshop
putty         PuTTY (SSH client)
si            StickIt (desktop notes)
spybot        Spybot - Search & Destroy
ssh           SSH client
torrent       BitComet (torrent client)
wa            Winamp
wireless      Dell's wireless utility
word          Microsoft Word

Move all of these shortcuts into C:\WINDOWS\. This will allow them to be called from the Run box.

shortcuts.jpg (click image to enlarge)
Nextel. Done.

Now you can run these apps from the Run box. Just hit Windows Key + R, then enter, say… fz to launch your FTP program. Now you can delete your Desktop shortcuts and be way cool.

Published in time savers windows


  1. I do this on my windows machines, except I don’t populate C:\WINDOWS with shortcuts. I usually have something called C:\bin\ that contains the shortcuts.

    You can modify the system PATH:

    Right click on my computer -> properties -> advanced -> environment variables. Under ‘system variables’ select ‘Path’ and click ‘edit’. Paths are semicolon delimited.

  2. Mark Mark


    That’s actually another method I was considering about adding to my post. I used to have a Shortcuts folder in C:\ and I’d add that to the System PATH field via the directions you gave. Thanks. I’ll add it in later.

  3. andrew andrew

    Microsoft Word = winword
    Microsoft Excel = excel

    most dont need shortcuts

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