Scott has a great post about replacing “start/run” to launch applications quickly – I’ve used a number of the tools he lists in the past to find optimal ways of launching applications.  One of the options he does miss however is the new start menu in Vista, which now contains a field for entering search or command line requests.

This new field (at the bottom left of the menu) gives me a few interesting ways of getting stuff done quickly:

·         As with the previous MSN Desktop search, I can search for things on my desktop or on the web by just typing in the box and launch applications on the path by just typing their name (e.g. notepad).

·         I can find and launch applications on my start menu by typing in a portion of the name.  For example, instead of going Start -> Programs -> Microsoft Office -> Microsoft Word, I can type in “word” [enter].  I use “studio” for VS.NET etc.

·         This also works for favorites – for example, I have a favorite saved as “owa” (for Outlook Web Access).  I type owa [enter] and the URL is launched.  I use foldershare to synchronize my favorites folder between machines, which works really well. 

·         I can shutdown/hibernate/standby the machine by [Windows Key] [right arrow x 3 times] and selecting the appropriate option (e.g. H to hibernate).

I’m still looking for a good way to do macros with this approach (for example, [amaz lord of the rings] or [quote MSFT]), but so far I’m finding this a very useful feature.