With the launch of Windows 10, things changed dramatically over the course of the year, albeit for the good. It now comes with many new features over any of its previous versions. From managing the desktop to using multiple desktops, it has many unique features.
But with a lot of features, there are also a lot of icons that can get confusing on the desktop. So, if you're struggling to organize them, your best bet would be to get an app launcher. If you are wondering is this just a small addition, then you are wrong.
There are some major benefits to adding an app launcher to your desktop such as the ability to free up some desktop space, the option to keep your favorite programs front and center for quick access, find and quickly open files, search the web, and more.
Here is a list of the best Windows app launchers that can help you make your choice.
It is perhaps the most popular app launcher on the list. Rocket Dock has been around for a while, so chances are you've used it on Windows XP before. But the best part is that it is also compatible with Windows 10. This launcher sits at the top of the screen.
The launcher's design is inspired by the Mac OS X launch bar and its main purpose is to organize your favorite shortcuts all in one place, making it easy to access all the time. Upon installation, the launcher will offer some predefined shortcuts, however, which can be easily changed and even add any app or program you want. Most importantly, it saves a lot of desktop space and this is especially useful for those who have several icons on their desktop.
Launchy is a powerful app but at the same time the simplest launchers around. It makes life easy by requiring no configuration after installation. Simply launch the app by pressing the keyboard shortcut “Alt + Space”, type the name of the app you want to open and select the one you were looking for from the search results.
The app has the ability to launch multiple programs. It can be used to open files and folders, search the web, perform calculations, and even execute shell commands. Its skin can also be customized, while its functions can be expanded using different plugins.
Like the Find and Run robot, SlickRun focuses primarily on aliases, although this app is much more instinctive when it comes to setting up and using it. It is definitely one of the easiest apps to use albeit with some compromises in functionality. Overall, the app has a better balance in comparison.
Some of its biggest advantages are that it can handle multiple tasks with the desired configuration. What's more, it can also run many commands, automated tasks, and even run batches to perform multiple tasks. From running multiple magic words, apps, or opening folders or binding magic words to running Windows apps, to setting it to invisible, there are some unique features that set it apart from others.
If you are looking for a simple app launcher for Windows, then Executor is definitely one you can look for. It's in the taskbar, so all you have to do is click on it, type in the name of the app you want to launch and it will open. While installing this program, it starts indexing all apps and programs along with menu items, list of recently used items and so on.
At less than 1MB in size, this is a very small app and therefore won't require a lot of resources as it runs in the background. To avoid typing the full name, you can also set a certain keyword for a program. Furthermore, the app also works great with URLs which help you to quickly access a specific website.
ObjectDock is another popular Windows app launcher that has been around for some time. It gives you the ability to add your favorite apps and programs to the launcher for quick access to programs. It also allowed Windows 7 users previously to add gadgets, but as we all know the feature no longer exists.
The app features a simple design that gives us the impression of sitting on a table. The launcher is located at the top of the screen keeping any interruptions from the screen. It also allows you to add quick launch icons from the taskbar. This helps you with quick integration.
It's a versatile app that can do quite a bit. It may not differ much from the others in the category in terms of starting the application, but it does have some unique features, such as the ability to create sticky notes and perform an extremely simple text expansion, which, while not essential, is definitely an interesting feature.
Some of its advantages are that it has over 80 well-known apps and shortcuts that have been preconfigured after installing the app. This gave users an easy experience to get started right away.
Wox is a full-featured app launcher for Windows that also helps you access programs and web content as you type. Its main features include the quick launcher and searching for local files and applications without closing the keyboard. It also automatically sorts files based on usage.
It allows you to search the web by prefixing your search with keywords such as wiki, etc. You can also add your web searches in the app settings panel which helps meet your daily needs. Not only that, creating a plugin is very simple with Wox. It supports plugins written by Golang, CSharp and so on.
It also allows you to use a theme that matches your desktop. You can even create your own themes by choosing colors, fonts, sizes, etc. Favorites.
RK Launcher is free just like other Windows 10 app launchers. This app is used to save your favorite apps and programs. It allows you to add any app you can think of, along with files and folders. The app sits on the edge of the screen, but not necessarily on the top edge as this can be moved to any side of the screen you want.
The app features a clean and simple design that fits perfectly into your work environment. You can fully customize the look of the app by changing themes, adding custom icons and docklets.
Since the app can be placed on any side of the screen and supports different apps, file types and programs, it can be a great alternative to the taskbar. Despite the fact that RK Launcher has been around for some time now and was available for previous versions, it still works with Windows 10.
Find and Run Robot is one of the most dynamic apps in the category which includes several alias functions, plug-ins and settings. These features allow you to customize most of its operation. Considering it's very advanced, it's slightly more difficult to set up in comparison. However, it works great for those with specific requirements.
Its biggest drawback is that it doesn't index at all what can be useful for keeping resource usage low, but it makes searching for things a lot slower. However, on the brighter side, an adaptive search that tracks user searches makes it easier and faster to find an app that has been launched previously, the next time you want to search and use it. It's flexible, fast, leaves a small memory footprint, comes with many plugins, a time-tape calculator, and much more.
This free app launcher seeks inspiration from the Apple operating system, Mac OS X lion. It starts minimized in the background, just like the Circle Dock and all you have to do is enable it by pressing the “Shift + Tab” keyboard shortcuts.
Upon activation, the launch bar opens and displays a list of all apps and programs that have been blocked. By the time WinLaunch is displayed, the desktop icons are hidden and the background is blurry, giving it a nice look.
It allows you to group shortcuts into groups only when it's done in iOS. To create a group, simply drag one icon into the other. It allows you to create as many groups as you want and further customize, for example, by adding the group name.
What we like is its "Jiggle mode" which allows you to move icons from one group to another. If you want to add icons to the app, you need to click "F" on the keyboard. The launcher will then be reduced to a smaller window that can be moved around and into which icons can be added using the drag and drop option.
Enso does its job quite differently from other app launchers. Here, you have to hold down the Caps Lock key, instead of pressing a key combination. You must then type the command and release the CAPS LOCK to enable it. Alternatively, you can also enable it in a more conventional way and this is what really sets it apart from the others.
The best part is that you slowly get used to the way it works. It also allows you to add aliases that are called “favorites” here and to switch to any open program using the “go” command.
Keypiranha is a fast app launcher for Windows that quickly finds and launches a world of items like files, bookmarks, applications, registry keys, URLs, sessions, and more. In addition, it also performs actions such as searching for web queries and even evaluates mathematical expressions, using only the keyboard.
Among its other main features are starting a search on any configured website or online dictionary, translating languages on the go, converting base numbers, searching for environment variables, directly starting a copied URL, splitting of a URL and converting its arguments to Jason, change to a running application by name, hash of a string and much more.
XWindows Dock looks a lot like MacOS launch toolbars and provides options available in Apple's tool as well. The cool thing about this launcher is that it allows you to fully customize. You can customize and change its appearance by adding graphic effects in the form of transparency, shadow, reflections, blur, etc. But, in addition to its elegant appearance, it also offers some unique features.
It not only lets you add your favorite apps and programs, but some other Windows features as well. The plugin manager can also be used to add some custom plugins to the interface such as, a stack container equal to the Stacks Docklet that appears in the RocketDock.
Listary is another app launcher that does a lot more than launch an app or program. While it simplifies the whole process by helping you browse folders, search for the right file names, or look through limited Windows menus, it also applies smart search technology that allows you to keep working without having to go through the tedious native browsing hassles of Windows.
Featuring a lightweight interface that doesn't slow down your system or overload your system resources, Listary puts Windows Explorer on steroids. Also, for heavy users, the app integrates with your favorite tools like WinRAR, Total Commander, Xplorer2, Directory Opus, and others.
So, get your free app launcher for Windows now and maximize your desktop experience.