How-To use App Search on Windows 8

A wee while back when I first started to use Windows 8. I felt a little bit empty with the start menu gone. Thus, I started using Launchy again and wrote the blog post – launchy and auto hotkey revisited for windows 8.

In this post I detailed the downfall of not being able to search via an applications internally known name. e.g. “mstsc” for “Remote Desktop“. I know there are various ways you can add this functionality to Launchy.

However, after a few days. I got a prompt from Windows 8 telling/informing me that the applications Launchy and Auto Hotkey had a “medium” impact on my startup speed. And this was very noticeable due to the delayed startup of Launchy and Auto Hotkey (when the applications are running, their respective icons show up in the system tray). The other impact was that I wasn’t able to instantly use Launchy/Auto Hotkey until they were running – pretty obvious right?

So I had a look around for ways to speed it up. I couldn’t find anything. It was an external application to Windows and by being an external program, it had to wait until Windows had loaded before it could be loaded.

Thus, I decided to have a dig around Windows 8 to see if there was such a functionality built right into Windows 8. I mean, Windows search has been around for a while and there was the search thingy that you could access in the charms bar (the menu that appears when you move your mouse to the right hand side of your screen).

And there is a way to access this search quickly. In fact virtually the same speed if not faster than using the Launchy/Auto Hotkey method.

You can access this built in Windows 8 search functionality by pressing the following key combinations:

CMD + Q | WIN + Q to search the apps list of applications.

CMD + W | WIN + W to search the settings list of applications.

Using this built in Windows search meant I could use it as soon as Windows had loaded, faster startup, save some hard drive space and more importantly the benefit of being able to search via the applications internal names too.

I now recommend you use this method over the Launchy and Auto Hotkey combo.

Figure 1. Close up of App Search panel.