Sunday, April 16, 2006

Windows Tip #0002

Here's something that I love doing on my machines that may be of use to people. I like to start programs from the Run dialog. I start Internet Explorer by pressing Win+R to open the Run dialog and then typing "iexplore" and pressing Enter. I open a lot of stuff from the Run dialog. But, by default, you can't open Winamp from the Run dialog, because it's buried in C:\Program Files, and Windows doesn't search your entire hard drive whenever you type something in there. So, here's what you do.

Open the Registry Editor. (If you don't know how to do that, you should probably stop now.)

Find the key HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\App Paths. Create a key under that with the name "winamp.exe" (or the name of any EXE you like). Go to the new key, and set the (Default) value to the full path to that program: "C:\Program Files\Winamp\Winamp.exe".

And that's it. Now you can start Winamp with Win+R, "winamp," Enter. Of course, I generally start Winamp now by pressing the "My Music" key on my wonderful keyboard, but sometimes I find myself using the Run dialog for old time's sake.


Anonymous said...

and a tip for the mac users out there. You can do the same sort of thing by hitting Command-Space to get the Spotlight dialog. Except there, you don't have to know the executable name, or even how to spell it right.

Isn't that sort of thing supposed to be coming in Vista?

Andy Rutledge said...

Another way to get the Winamp app "registered" is to add the Winamp directory to the PATH environment variable through the System control panel. That'll also do the trick.

Matthew Johnson said...

All good tips. I personally prefer making a "shortcuts" directory, and adding that to the path. Then whenever I install a new program I want to be able to run, I just create a shortcut to it in my shortcuts directory.

Travis said...

Vista's Start menu has instant search for your programs and documents.

I don't care too much about being able to search for things. I like the consistency and control I get from knowing where everything is. Maybe Vista will change my mind, but I don't know.