Looking for a program launcher to replace my Start Menu

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computerfreaker
Posts: 83
Joined: Sat Feb 13, 2010 9:46 pm

Looking for a program launcher to replace my Start Menu

#1 Post by computerfreaker » Wed May 15, 2013 7:32 pm

Hey guys, long time no see. Hope everyone's doing well.

I'm looking for a program launcher with some very specific capabilities. Nothing in the relevant category seems to quite match; hopefully one of you knows of a tool that can help me out.

* Overrides the Start menu key
* Has a search box
* Supports custom application adding instead of pulling everything from one folder

Or in case it helps, here's how my workflow looks right now; maybe this will ring a bell. I'm a heavy keyboard user (laptop) so mouse-based stuff is out of the question.

I generally hit the Start key, type the first few letters of the application name, and hit Enter. This works for my installed apps (Windows 7 has good searching, apparently), but I don't really want my portable apps in the Windows Start Menu. Simply indexing my portable apps folder isn't enough, since then search results return the non-portable base apps as well as the PortableApps wrappers. It's just a matter of time until this goes sour on me so I avoid it entirely. (This is also why I need the ability to add custom shortcuts instead of just everything in a folder.)

Thanks!

~cf

freakazoid
Posts: 1020
Joined: Wed Jul 18, 2007 5:45 pm

Re: Looking for a program launcher to replace my Start Menu

#2 Post by freakazoid » Wed May 15, 2013 8:48 pm

I'm a big proponent of Executor.

You'd have to use the Windows key plus another key of your choosing (I use ALT + Space myself), but if fulfills everything else.
is it stealth? ;)

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Midas
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Location: Sol3

Re: Looking for a program launcher to replace my Start Menu

#3 Post by Midas » Thu May 16, 2013 5:35 am

Some free leads (mostly non-portable) aimed at Windows 7, just to keep you busy: :mrgreen:
The DIY way (aimed at 8, will probably work on 7):
http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/window ... ows-8/5945

computerfreaker
Posts: 83
Joined: Sat Feb 13, 2010 9:46 pm

Re: Looking for a program launcher to replace my Start Menu

#4 Post by computerfreaker » Fri May 17, 2013 8:37 pm

freakazoid wrote:I'm a big proponent of Executor.

You'd have to use the Windows key plus another key of your choosing (I use ALT + Space myself), but if fulfills everything else.
I took a quick glance, took a longer glance, downloaded, and fell in love. This is exactly what I was looking for, aside from having the pure Windows key as the window hotkey, but that's not a huge deal. (I just set it to Win+Q and kept my workflow almost entirely intact.)

Mem usage isn't bad, it's quick and responsive, I can still do my "type two letters and slap Enter and get the right program without missing a beat" routine, and I overall get the same feel as I did when I first set up Expresso - a little bit of setup time but a lot of time saved and convenience provided in the long run. And I've not had it that long but I've already got it set up to cover nearly everything I use on a regular basis.

Thanks!

Midas wrote:Some free leads (mostly non-portable) aimed at Windows 7, just to keep you busy: :mrgreen:
The DIY way (aimed at 8, will probably work on 7):
http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/window ... ows-8/5945
Quick feedback on each of these, going solely based on their websites, in case someone else happens to stumble across this thread:

Classic Windows Start Menu - looks so close, but no search box. Dealbreaker for me. (Also its homepage appears to be down, I had to use the freewarefiles link)

Taskbar Classic Start Menu - not bad but looks like it favors the tray more than a full replacement of the Start Menu. Too much mouse interaction for me. Far too much mouse interaction.

Power 8 - all in all looks cool. But Alt-Z hotkey, .NET requirement and possible syncing with the actual Start Menu... minor flaws here and there and overall Executor has it beat.

Start Menu X - looks like the closest match so far. This really looks cool, actually. And it appears to have a search box. But with some features squirreled away in a pro version (maybe just tabs?) and no mention of a hotkey, I'm staying with Executor. I am fascinated by this though, might need to take a second look eventually.

Vista Start Menu - ooh. Now this looks wicked cool, and there is explicit reference to using the Windows key to open the menu. Very tempted to get it. But on a point-by-point comparison with Executor, I'm trading the Windows key for roughly 3-4 MB and a true installation. Eh, might be worth the trade. (EDIT: probably is worth trying. The more I look into this the more I like it. And 64-bit support too, so no bonus points for Executor on that... I'll give this a shot too. I'll drop another post here in a day or two with my results.)

Start Menu XP - looks more or less the same as Start Menu X. Close but not close enough.

Pokki - looks more like a phone-on-a-computer than a simple Start Menu replacement. >_>

SMOz - abandonware. Last release was in 2011 from what I can tell. And no search box... (the search box is an instant dealbreaker for me, the abandonware part is just the insurance it stays that way)

TechRepublic guide - interesting. Very interesting, actually. Especially since I could probably use a custom folder for the toolbar instead of tying it to the Windows Start Menu folder. But with no hotkey, I'll have to pass.

tl;dr: Vista Start Menu is giving Executor a run for its money. Almost everything else needs mouse interaction.

Thanks for taking the time to find all this for me!

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