Non-Linux FOSS: Launchy!

With Unity's method for launching and finding programs and applications, and OS X's spotlight tool becoming the new way to launch programs, the entire way we think about launching programs is changing. Although I still like to have a few icon shortcuts on my task bar, many folks prefer a quick keystroke to bring up Gnome-Do, or Unity's launcher, or even OS X's spotlight. If you're one of those people, but can't seem to find a smooth way to accomplish your launching on Windows, check out Launchy.

Launchy is an open-source dæmon that runs on Windows, OS X or Linux. It listens for a predefined keystroke and then pops up a search window. You start typing the application, document or media file you want to start, and Launchy autocompletes based on its index of your system. The main advantage is the ability to launch a program without moving your fingers from the keyboard.

(Image from

Launchy is fast, accurate and doesn't steal lots of resources on your system. I can't find a way to make Windows behave this way on its own, so although Launchy is cross-platform, it probably will be the most useful for Windows users. You can download your copy today at


Shawn Powers is an Associate Editor for Linux Journal. You might find him chatting on the IRC channel, or Twitter


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sollen's picture

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cnbestmall's picture

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Ever heard of kde?

Anonymous's picture

Keyboard shortcuts are part of kde; have been for many years. Who the heck is still using windoze, and why?

While Launchy is a great

Dror Harari's picture

While Launchy is a great program I use every day, it is unfortunately an abandonware since 2010 (maybe because its author Josh Karlin joined Google). This shows in that the most recent version crashes every day or two (depending on the amount of use). Still, I found no better launcher for Windows...

lightweight? not hardly

Ronnie's picture

This thing sucks up about 40megs of ram to run, who's deciding what is lightweight? Good grief.

> With Unity's method for

Anonymous's picture

> With Unity's method for launching and finding programs and applications, and OS X's spotlight tool becoming the new way to launch programs, the entire way we think about launching programs is changing

What? Now Ubuntu has invented the launchers too? The application presented is more similar to KDE's Krunner (which does anyway much more things). I don't know when Krunner released first, but I do know that it was around in 2007. Maybe Krunner wasn't the first in the category either, but there are anyway tons of examples prior to Unity, even Windows 7's start menu was doing what this app does.

The Ubuntu mania is getting ridiculous, I'd expect a teenager in a forum not knowing better, but I didn't expect this from a veteran Linux publication.

The Ubuntu mania is getting

Anonymous's picture

The Ubuntu mania is getting ridiculous, I'd expect a teenager in a forum not knowing better, but I didn't expect this from a veteran Linux publication.

Completely agree, the shocking part was that it was written by shawn powers ! Ubuntu no longer as far as I know is used by geeks and is more or less an entry level distro where even people use unity because they had no choice !

why not synapse?? it is even

Anonymous's picture

why not synapse?? it is even better looking than that.

I use Launchy all the time on

Anonymous's picture

I use Launchy all the time on Windows. One of my immediate configuration changes is to use the "Black Glass" skin, and it looks pretty nice. There is also a PuTTY add-on you can find that allows you to launch PuTTY sessions direct from Launchy. Also, Launchy does quick math calculations, etc. On Windows, and yes there are many who use Windows still, I think Launchy is great. I have not used it on Windows 8/8.1, but assuming it works it would be a great addition given the changes to the start menu. Some of us either like Windows for out workflow, or have no choice given our work situation. When I use Windows, I like to "pimp it out" with great open-source (or close) utilities. On that note, check out VirtuaWin for virtual desktops (I use in a 3x3 grid, and there are nice icons sets out there) and allSnap to have windows edge snapping.

Definitely a must on Windows

Anonymous's picture

It is one of the first things I install on any Windows machine I use. It made the transition from XP a lot easier too.

I definitely recommend it.

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