Launch Any Application or Folder From the Run Dialog Box

As we all know, we can hit the Win + R key to bring up the run dialog, then type calc and press Enter to launch the calculator, type regedt32 or regedit to launch the registry editor, type gpedit.msc to launch the local group policy editor, type cmd to launch the command prompt, etc.

Actually, we can use the run dialog box to launch any program or directory with a little tweak! You do not need to install any third party software like AppPathZ, Launchy , AutoHotKey or edit specific registry keys( for example, HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\ SOFTWARE\ Microsoft\ Windows\ CurrentVersion\ App Paths ).

Suppose that you want to launch Google Chrome Browser from the run dialog box, you can simply copy the shortcut of Chrome on the desktop to this folder: C:\Windows( or other folder where Windows is installed in ), you can rename the file from “Google Chrome.lnk” to “gc.lnk”, then you can type gc to launch Chrome in the run dialog.

Launch Any Application or Folder From the Run Dialog Box

However, doing in this way has a significant drawback, because there are already many folders and files in the C:\Windows folder, it’s hard to find, edit and manage the files you added manually, and as you add more and more files to this folder, it soon becomes very messy.

Now I’ll show you how to move these shortcut files to an exclusive directory, for instance, D:\Shortcuts.

First, press the Win + Break key to open the “System Properties” dialog box, then navigate to the “Advanced” tab,

System Properties Dialog

hit the “Environment Variables” button to open the “Environment Variables” dialog,

Environment Variables Dialog

then in the “System variables” group find the variable named “Path”, highlight it and press “Edit”, in the “Edit System Variable” dialog, add a semicolon and a string named “D:\Shortcuts” at the end of the field of “Variable Value”, then hit “OK”, “OK”, “OK” to close all dialogs.

Edit System Variable Dialog

Now you can place all your favorite program shortcuts in this folder: D:\Shortcuts, you can rename them to a short word, for example, ps represents Photoshop, ff represents FireFox, op represents Opera, tc represents TrueCrypt, ue represents UltraEdit, vlc represents VLC media player, 3ds represents 3DS Max, vc represents Visual C++, mm represents Macromedia, d represents the d drive, etc.


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