Thursday app of the week: Launchy

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Name: Launchy

Platform(s): Windows, OSX, Linux

Price: Free (donations welcomed)

Mission: Save time by launching applications and other programs with quick keystrokes

When it’s midterm season, every second counts. There is no time to waste. People aren’t even sitting to eat in the dining commons, and everyone is noticing how the hygiene of certain portions of the Cal population is suffering. Stress is flowing from every student, and even whispering a single word in Main Stacks will cause five people to turn around and “shhhhh” you. Everyone is on edge, and time is precious.

The last thing you can afford to do is waste time trying to sort through your cluttered desktop. What you really need is a quick way to launch your apps and get to work — an app launcher, to be specific.

As far as app launchers go, we at the Clog really like Launchy. Launchy is simple yet highly customizable and extremely powerful. After you install Launchy, you’ll notice it’s just a simple search bar (you can change the skin in the settings or download new ones from the Launchy site). Pressing Alt + Spacebar will bring Launchy to the front of your screen if it’s buried under other windows. Launchy will remind a lot of  CS kids of the command line, and it works like a simplified version of it. By default, Launchy will just open programs in your Start menu. All you have to do is start searching the name of the program and then hit enter as soon as you see the right program pop up. This alone is quite powerful and time-efficient but might not do everything you want it to.

Launchy can become extremely powerful if you’re willing to put in a little time to set up some plugins. There are some awesome ones listed on the official site. The plugin “Killy” will let you kill currently running tasks without having to bring up the task manager. Another plugin named “Math Resurrected” lets you perform advanced math functions right in Launchy and replaces “Calcy,” the built in basic calculator. A useful one named “Taskey” allows you to switch between open windows to make jumping between tasks easy. There are also some great plugins not listed on the Launchy website.

Two of our favorites that aren’t listed are “System Power” and “Weby.” “System Power” allows you to shut down, log off and sleep through Launchy. “Weby” (which is now built into Launchy) allows you to open websites and even search through Launchy; all you have to do is type in the name of the site you want (ie. and then hit enter, and you’re in. You can also search sites like Google simply by typing in “google,” then hitting Tab and typing the term you wish to search followed by the Enter key. This will bring up your search in your Web browser. Pretty awesome, if you ask us.

Launchy can be a big time-saver, plus it makes you look like a whiz kid. And while people are pulling there hair out around you in Doe or Moffitt, you’ll just be relishing in the extra seconds you’re saving by using an app launcher.

Image source: Daniel Radding, The Daily Californian