15 Best Free Application Launchers for Windows

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An app launcher is a software that makes it easy to quickly launch applications. Application launchers provide better functionality that standard Windows start menu. Some of the app launchers can open files and folders as well, and some can launch websites too.

Here are 15 of the best free application launchers that we have come across. All of these app launchers are completely free, and simple to use.

1) Launchy:

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Launchy is one of the most popular app launcher. In fact, I was introduced to the concept of app launchers by Launchy only. Launchy can be launched by customizable hotkey. To launch any application, just start typing few words of of name of application, and Launchy will immediately launch it. You can change skins of Launchy, and also launch files and folders with this.

2) Find and Run Robot

Find and Run Robot

FARR (Find and Run Robot) is another free app launcher that works a lot like Launchy. FARR provides some additional features by virtue of plugins. Like Launchy, FARR can also open all type of applications, as well as files and folders. It is fully skinnable.

3) Promptu Launcher

Promptu Launcher

Promptu Launcher is another free application laucher. This one also works a lot like Launchy, and provide similar features. Promptu Laucher lets you create custom commands easily. So, you can type your command, and Promptu Laucher will run the associated application. Promptu Laucher is under active development, and will soon launch API to support external plugins.

4) Mouse Extender

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Mouse Extender is another free application launcher. Unlike the app launchers that I have mentioned above, Mouse Extender does not needs any typing. You can just click on an application icon to launch that. Mouse Extender lets you create multiple tabs, to group similar applications or documents together. Watch the video above to see how easy it is to use Mouse Extender.

5) LaunchBar Commander

LaunchBar Commander is one of the most advanced application launchers that I have come across. You can create your own hierarchical menus, and create multiple docks. However, it might become a bit overwhelming for everyday user to customize this, but this will definitely be a treat for power users.

6) JetStart

JetStart Menu

JetStart is not just an application launcher. It is actually a replacement for Windows start menu. JetStart lets you create your own start menu with your own programs added to categories. Apart from that, you can launch programs by typing their names. And JetStart Toolbar lets you organize your shortcuts in form of tabs.

All the app launchers mentioned above provide good features, but lack eye candy. The app launchers below will cover that aspect too :)

7) ObjectDock

ObjectDock is a really nice looking app launcher. I prefer to call ObjectDock the Mac style toolbar for Windows. ObjectDock displays your currently running programs, lets you add shortcuts, and  you can add widgets like weather too.

8) RocketDock

RocketDock is another Mac style toolbar for Windows. It is a floating bar that lets you launch applications with just one click. You can change the skins of RocketDock, and enhance functionalities using Add ons.

9) SliderDock

SliderDock is a fully customizable app launcher. You can control the layout, icons, and the shortcuts that go into that. SliderDock looks really pretty on your desktop, and makes it extremely easy to launch applications.

10) CircleDock

CircleDock is another circular app launcher. CircleDock lets you organize your icons in form of concentric circles, and ellipses. You can have the circles look vertical, or horizontal (as the screenshot above). This gives you a really intuitive way to organize tons of icons in a very small space on desktop.

11) Radian

Radian is another circular app launcher like CircleDock. However, it gives one added advantage of using 4 different colors on 4 sections of Radian. This gives an easy way to organize similar applications together. To launch an application, just click on its corresponding icon on Radian.

12) Appetizer


Appetizer is another simple app launcher for Windows. I really like the simplicity of Appetizer. You just add icons to it, and click on any icon to open the corresponding application. You can add folders also to this. The icons can be of three sizes: Small, Large, Extra Large. You can also change skin of Appetizer, and enhance the functionality with plugins.

13) nDroid


nDroid is a very advance app launcher. It is a lot like Launchy, but has a lot more features. You can lauch application, folders, play songs, add songs to playlists, and even do Google searches; all by typing in just one box. You can even enter a mathematical expression, and nDroid will calculate it.

14) SpeedSearch


SpeedSearch is a free app launcher from Microsoft. It is a bit like Launchy, but it makes it extremely easy to add any application to the shortcut list. Just drag the icon, and throw it in the Bull’s eye on desktop. To launch an application, just type its name, or click on the icon to launch it.

15) Start++

Start++ is another replacement for standard Windows Start menu. It enhances the Windows Start menu, as well as the Run box. You can add widgets on the Start menu. It also enhances Run command bar so that you can perform web searches, as well as perform specific actions.

Know of any other good app launchers out there? Do mention in comments.

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  • http://the-couch-lounge.blogspot.com/ Aaron

    Interesting programs. have you personally used Jetstart or Start++ I currently use FARR and Rocketdock as my app launchers. How do these compare?

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/ilovefreesw ilovefreesw

      @Aaron: I use Launchy most of the time. Jetstart and Start++ are good for casual users, but I have so many programs installed on my system that I prefer to go with Launchy.

  • Siro

    If you like Launchy, there's a much better (IMO) launcher called executor: http://www.executor.dk/

    • Raman

      I agree. I was lauchy fan and then came across executor. it is must have application. lauchy used to much system resources as compared to executor

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001203033316 Piotr Laskowski

    In my opinion any launcher that involve mouse actions is far worse than type&run launcher. Taking one hand off the keyboard to press icons will always be much less efficient than hitting few keys.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/ilovefreesw ilovefreesw

      @Piotr: You have made a good point. However, that is a completely personal preference, and depends on how we use computer. Power users like us always have one (or both) hands on keyboard. However, I have seen many casual users who actually try to accomplish everything using mouse.

  • pvsurfer

    In that case, why not use DOS? ;)

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/ilovefreesw ilovefreesw

      @pvsurfer: well said :)

  • infini

    I cant believe you didnt post keybreeze. better than launchy…small, lightweight. tried launchy and it was too much.

    try keybreeze if you want even simpler yet as powerful (more even) as launchy

  • Dutchman

    What about EasyDesktop. It is a Windows menu program– alot like the old DOS menus. http://www.microseconds.com

  • Erik

    Radian isn’t freeware!

15 Best Free Application Launchers for Windows

by Ishan Bansal time to read: 4 min