Wintellect Blogs

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

14 Sep , 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.

  • Anonymous

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

  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous

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

  • jrobbins


    Thanks! I didn’t realize they were documented.


  • Anonymous

    Woah, that shortcut is pretty nifty. Thanks :)