If you've ever used Alfred on a Mac,then you know how convenient an application launcher can be..Just press two keys,type the file you want and Voila!!!Now,there is Cortana for Windows,but it gives only installed files,and not every folder in it's search result..While these launchers for PC will never match the versatility of Alfred,they come pretty damn close!
Now,I'm going to list some of the most useful launchers found for a PC..Some of them are listed as follow!
The granddaddy of all Windows launchers,Launchy was launched in 2010 and though there has been no active development ever since,(This is something you will find in common with most of the launchers here),it is still one of the best launchers to be used on a PC..
With Launchy,you can open any file,any folder,any website link..Anything!!Just press Alt+Space(or whatever hotkey you've assigned) and type the file you are looking for and Launchy will fetch it for you,easy as pie!!But of course,this involves having to enter the directories you would want to search within the software and the type of files that the software should fetch..
Besides these,it has changeable skins to change the look of the launcher..
While Launchy is probably very old,truth is,it get's the job done..and that's what counts!
Executor is another launcher that's kind of similar in execution to Launchy,but it has a few tricks up it's sleeve..Unlike good ol' Launchy,you can set keywords for different applications and you can type just these keywords to launch your desired application!
Also,it comes with other useful features such as setting alarms,stop-clocks and options to shutdown,restart or lock the computer and it also has an integrated calculator to get things done..Besides these,it also has the usual bells and whistles like changeable skins,hotkey placement etc.
Of course,just like Launchy,development on Executor has stopped as well..But it works well for the most part!!
FIND AND RUN ROBOT
If all you want is a no fuss,small and lightweight application launcher,then FARR is the software to be..
It's definitely not any good looking than the other launchers,and for the most part,it's slow compared to the other launchers.But compared to the other launchers,FARR is much more customisable.
For starters,you can customize what directory should be searched first for faster results,it has support for plugins such as a bookmark searcher,a calculator,plugins to uninstall programs..And it is,to my knowledge,the only launcher that can be run from a USB flash stick!!
Unlike the other two,development on FARR is ongoing with the latest update on March 2017..While the software is free,the website will ask for donations more aggresively than other sites..
Wox is probably the only launcher that comes close to Alfred in terms of look and execution...But Wox also happens to have a pretty wonky installation process than the others..
You see,the main software cannot index and search for files within directories like the other launchers here..This requires the service of a software called Everything that indexes every folder in your computer..This is provided as a service in your launcher,where it accesses the Everything software to provide results...
While that does sound like a lot of work,truth is,Wox would be the best launcher in terms of ease of use and versatility..Results come in a scorching pace,while you can also perform other options like lock,shutdown or restart the computer..Besides these,it has support for plugins like opening URLs from the launcher,performing a Google or DuckDuckGo search,a calculator,A Youtube search and so on..
Besides these,you have one of the most neat,minimalist looking launchers with interchangeable skins and font and all the other cosmetic bells and whistles..
Development on Wox has halted for the past year..But it very much works!
Hain is new here,compared to the other launchers.
It has a stark white look,and is expansive compared to the other launchers..
Now Hain is based on the Electron framework,so it will be a bit big in file size compared to the others..But the take away is that,it's portable and can be used in any computer,anywhere.
Hain works like Launchy,where in,you will have to provide directories for extensive file searches..Hain has options for recursive searching and non-recursive searching for some folders and directories.
While Hain has it's fair share of problems,this is the only launcher here that has an active development team,with the latest version being pushed out 15 days ago...And Hain is fairly powerful,on par with the other launchers.
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