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Using Shortcuts to Open Applications from RUN

written by: Robert Faustus•edited by: Lamar Stonecypher•updated: 1/11/2011

Opening applications from RUN is quick and easy. Instead of finding an application in Windows Start Menu or at other disk locations, open an application easily using shortcuts. Find out how to use shortcuts and create one if it doesn’t exist for your program.

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    There are times when you're in a rush and can't be bothered to used your mouse to search through your installed applications in your Start menu. During these times, it's actually much less time consuming to use the RUN command dialog. In order to use a particular application’s shortcut, simply type the shortcut’s name in the RUN window. The quickest and easiest method to open RUN is by pressing Windows key and R together. The RUN command dialog can also be found in the Start Menu, simply click the Start menu and the last option on the list will be 'Run...' right before Shut Down. (These shortcut names can also be entered directly into the Vista search entry field. In Vista, press the Windows key and start typing the command. When finished, press Enter.)

    This list contains the shortcuts for commonly used applications, which you surely will find helpful.

    • winword - Ms Word
    • excel - Ms Excel
    • powerpnt - Ms Powerpoint
    • frontpg - Frontpage
    • msaccess - Ms Access
    • calc - Windows calculator
    • write - Ms word pad
    • notepad - Notepad
    • acrord32 - Adobe acrobat reader
    • mspaint - Paint brush
    • conf - Netmeeting
    • iexplore - Internet Explorer
    • firefox - Mozilla Firefox
    • chrome - Google Chrome
    • freecell - Freecell game
    • mshearts - Hearts game
    • logoff - Logs you out of Windows
    • Wmplayer - Windows media player
    • msimn - Outlook express
    • osk - On screen keyboard
    • telnet - Telnet client
    • charmap - Character Map
    • gpupdate - updates any changes made in Group policy console
    • secpol.msc - Local security policy
    • compmgmt.msc - Computer Management
    • ncpa.cpl - Network connections
    • syskey - Windows System security tool
    • verifier - Driver verifier manager
    • mrt - Windows malicious software removal tool
    • cmd - Command prompt
    • dfrg.msc - Disk defragmenter
    • dxdiag - DirectX diagnostic tool
    • diskpart - Disk partition manager
    • shutdown -s - Shuts down the PC

    Control Panel shortcuts:

    • control – Opens Control Panel
    • control userpasswords2 - User Accounts
    • control main.cpl - Mouse properties
    • inetcpl.cpl - Internet properties
    • appwiz.cpl - Add/Remove programs
    • control printers - Printer and Faxes
    • sysdm.cpl - System properties
    • eventvwr.msc - Event viewer
    • services.msc - Windows services
    • control color - Display properties
    • firewall.cpl - Windows Firewall
    • perfmon - Performance monitor

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    Creating Your Own Shortcuts

    Some programs, games, etc. might not have an existing shortcut you can use to run them. Say, you downloaded a game off the Internet and wish you could run it with a shortcut, how would you do that? It is very easy to create a shortcut. You can even change the existing applications' shortcuts, but this involves editing the Windows Registry.

    Windows depends greatly on the Registry for its operation; therefore, it is important to back up the existing Registry before making changes. To create a backup, open Windows registry (type regedit in RUN, press Ok), go to File menu, select Export, select "All" under "Export range" (back up everything, in case you change different registry keys), give a name to the backup file and finally press the Save button. To restore the registry with the backup, choose Import from the File menu and select the backup file you created.

    Another method is to create a restore point. It can be useful to restore Windows to a previous, best working state. To create a restore point, go to Start menu → Programs menu → Accessories menu → System Tools menu, and select System Restore. Pick the "create a restore point" option, and press Next. Give your restore point a name, then press the Create button, and click the close button when done. To restore Windows, go back to the System Restore, choose "Restore my computer to an earlier time," press next, select the restore point you created, and continue by pressing the Next button.

    Now that you've safely backed up your Registry and/or created a restore point, to create a new shortcut for an application, follow these simple steps.

    1. Start the RUN command dialog, type in regedit, then press OK.
    2. Now, go to KEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\App PathsApp Paths 
    3. Right-click on “App Paths”, select New Key command
    4. As the new key appears, rename it with a shortcut name you like. For example “myfavgame.exe”Creating new key 
    5. You will see an empty String value “Default” in the key. Double-click it and you will see Edit String dialog box.
    6. Type in the full path to the application’s executable file in the Value Data text box, for example “C:\Games\NFS\myfavgame.exe” and press OK.Edit String Window 

    Now the registry is updated with new shortcuts and your new shortcut is ready to use. Simply load the RUN command dialog and try out your new shortcut.

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    Folder Shortcuts

    The same way applications are opened with shortcuts, folders, too can be opened from RUN with their names. However, the folder must be inside either the Windows, system, or system32 folder, in order to open it from RUN.

    All folders already inside the Windows folder can be opened from RUN. To open a folder at some other disk location, move or copy it inside the Windows, system or system32 folder so that it too can be opened with its name from RUN.