Totally Cool Vista Explorer Tricks – Start and Switch Programs Super Fast

6 Comments September 14, 2007

Are you like me and use your Quick Launch Toolbar constantly?

There is an undocumented trick where if you press the Windows Key and the number of the item in the Quick Launch bar, Explorer starts that program. For example, in the Quick Launch bar above, Internet Explorer is the third item from the left so pressing Windows Key+3 starts it right up! For getting to Outlook, press Windows Key+4.

Mix in Bao Nguyen's outstanding Switcher, mapping the Window Key+TAB to go to switcher instead of the mostly useless default flip, and you have a real view of all your running programs. With Switcher, you can select the application with the mouse or the number shown in the window. As you can see below, Switcher brings OS X's Exposé to Vista.

Between these two tricks, I've completely changed the way use Explorer.


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    LA.NET [EN] September 14, 2007 6:51 PM

    Besides writing really cool books and articles on debugging, John Robbins has also written a post on

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    Jason Haley September 15, 2007 11:47 AM

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    Jason Haley September 15, 2007 11:48 AM

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    vamana September 18, 2007 7:55 PM

    Quick launch shortcut is documented at, under Microsoft Keyboard shortcuts section

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    jrobbins September 20, 2007 2:13 AM


    Thanks! I didn't realize they were documented.


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    Leon Breedt October 2, 2007 4:40 AM

    Woah, that shortcut is pretty nifty. Thanks :)

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