Tip For Starting Programs Faster In Windows

This is not some performance tweak if that’s what you’re looking for.
At least not CPU performance, but rather your own performance :)

  • Turn off the new and fancy (IMO useless) startmenu,
    go back to the simple classical one.

  • Add all programs you use the most to the top of the startmenu.
    Fastest done by simply dropping them on the “start” icon.

  • Step through each of the program shortcuts you’ve added and
    make sure the first letter of the shortcut name is a unique starting
    letter in the menu. For example I have Matlab there, so I named
    the Mozilla shortcut “o Mozilla”. Looks a bit strange, but in the end
    you’ll rarely even look at the menu.

  • Now you can start any of your most used programs with two keypresses!

I’ve had it this way for a long time, so I don’t even think when I want to
start a program. “Winkey O” and poof there’s mozilla, “Winkey F” and
a FTP client starts up. “Winkey R” and there’s Renoise.
The result: I rarely even look at the menu. You can’t possibly do it faster :)

or you can define a indiviual shortcut for every app … right-click on the app-icon > properties… and so on …

I already use all the tricks you mentioned, plus I’d add:

  • add even more programs and folders on the quickstart menu (the one on the right of the start button

  • create another quickstart menu with c:musicmodules contents :)

  • add Notepad to the “send to” menu: just copy a shortcut to notepad on
    C:Documents and SettingsyouruserSendTo menu

Yes, that’s nice too. I have a “docs” folder like that, where I put all kinds of
documentation files. Pdf books, useful html references, local bus times etc.

The backside of this is that it eats shortcut space that could be used by other programs.
And with my approach you don’t have to remember the shortcuts to do it fast,
and other users of the computer can benefit from it as well.

maybe i’m wrong but … all items in the quickstart menu will be loaded after booting and are still in memory … not so good for getting max performance and memory! … i’m using aquadock (YZ-clone) for quickstarting stuff …

Nah. Can’t be. One folder I have a menu for directly on the taskbar is more
than 500Mb. The filenames might be cached (doubt that as well, changes
since last time are reflected any time you open the menu), but that’s not
important, just a few bytes per menu item…

I’d rather believe that running an external program eats resources…
But tweaking the performance on such details is just plain rubbish anyway.

Nice tip Martin! I’ll do that when I get my new computer up n running again…

To continue on the subject… quick way to shut down windows: Winkey + up arrow + return. Will pop up the shut down menu. You can also do this with Alt+F4 when the desktop is active. The downside of this is (at least what I sometimes do) that a quick launch toolbar is active and then that is closed instead…

Most keyboards have special buttons for turning off the systems :D That’s the fast way :)

nice tips there martinal.

as for the fast shutdown i have a shortcut on my desktop with the following content:
%systemroot%System32Shutdown.exe -s -f -t 0
upon execution(doubleclick), the system will be shut down immediately.

similiar procedure goes for a restart:
%systemroot%System32Shutdown.exe -r -f -t 0

so with martinal’s tips and these shortcuts, everybody should be able to restart/shutdown just by hitting “winkey X” / “winkey Y”.

edit: for some reason this message board seems to avoid displaying backslashes, before and after each “System32” comes a “backslash”

No, they are not pre-loaded at all.
All they are is a bunch of shortcut icons in an Explorer folder.
(C:/Documents and Settings/Richard/Application Data/Microsoft/Internet Explorer/Quick Launch on my machine for example)

I store all my games and main apps in there and just use the little “>>” arrow when I want to run something.

If you’re using Win XP, here’s one that will increase your performance:

Open Control Panel, double-click on System (or press any Win key+Pause Break to go directly to System Properties), click Advanced tab. Here the Visual Effects tab is open by default. Choose ‘Adjust for best performance’. This will remove all the fancy XP visual fx that only hog system resources. I noticed a big difference.

A couple of those little things that has made my life easier:

Any Win key+D. In stead of closing/minimizing all windows with the mouse, this takes you directly to the desktop. Press the key combo again to go back to the prevoius state.

Any Win key+E opens an explorer window.

Does anyone know of a way to hide just the focused window with a shortcut?

I found a program that hid the current window and assigned a global hotkey to it, but it seemed like an awkward (and slow) solution… any better ideas?

That one is a bit tricky to find: Alt+Space + N, press Alt-Space toghether and then N (The last key may differ if you run another language than English, press Alt+Space and look wich letter that is underscored under the Minimize option) And the easiest way to maximize the latest minimized windows again is probably to press Alt-Shift - Tab (Press Alt-Shift toghether and then Tab while Alt-Shift still is pressed).

Here and here you will find more useable shortcuts…

Win-E is a very useful one for example :)

Yes, I knew about that one, but I don’t like it… It won’t work on all windows, Emacs for example. :)

you made my life easier :)

some notes about this shortcut, which I was searching since ages:

I’ve noticed that this works only when you have focus on desktop, and a quick way to do this is by using the “minimize all” shortcut: windows+M

Once done that, you just need CTRL+TAB to switch between Start, Quickstart and Tray, at least on this Windows 2000 Pro.

That is because Emacs caputure the Alt-key that invokes the menu in windows. You can turn this off in Emacs though by setting the variable w32-pass-alt-to-system to a non-nil value.

…which probably will screw up lots of my shortcuts in Emacs.

Hehe, yes probably :) But instead all windows shortcuts that make use of the Alt-key will start to work. Just a question of priorities :D