One of the well known optimizations for speeding up windows is reducing the delay in opening the Start Menu. But the delay matters only if we use the Start Menu right? What if you could hit a key combo and type away the first few characters of the program name and then launch it ? There are many applications which do this (called app launchers ) but the most popular ones are launchy and Google Desktop. Now if you already run Google Desktop, you might have come across this feature. If not lifehacker has put together an excellent article detailing how to use Google Desktop more effectively, including using it as an app launcher. If you do not want the overhead of Google Desktop, launchy is the way to go.