Windows has several built-in tricks for quickly launching applications. Here are some ways to quickly launch programs on Windows 7:
Custom Shortcut Key
If you launch an application frequently, you can assign a custom keyboard shortcut to it.
First, locate the application in your start menu or on your desktop, right-click its shortcut, and select Properties.
Click the Shortcut key box and type your desired keyboard shortcut.
Press the keyboard shortcut you define here to launch the application from anywhere in Windows.
You can also use the Run dialog to quickly launch applications. Open it by pressing WinKey+R.
In the Run dialog, type the name of a program’s .exe file and press Enter to launch it. For example, type firefox and press Enter to launch Firefox or type chrome and press Enter to launch Chrome.
Taskbar Keyboard Shortcuts
On Windows 7, you can press the Windows key along with a number to quickly launch the corresponding application on your taskbar.
For example, WinKey+1 launches the first application pinned to your taskbar, while WinKey+2 launches the second one.
If the program is already open, pressing this shortcut will switch to it. If the program has multiple windows open, pressing this shortcut will switch between them; it behaves just like clicking the taskbar icon.
Launchy and Other Third-Party Launchers
Launchy is one of the most popular launcher applications for Windows, and it’s free.
After installing it, press Alt+Space anywhere in Windows and the Launchy window will appear
Type a search and press Enter to launch an application, open a file, or visit a website.
Launchy also works on Windows XP, where it brings the quick application search feature found in Windows Vista and Windows 7’s Start menu to Windows XP users.