VSTO & .NET & Excel

October 11, 2013

Apps Launcher – Windows 8

Filed under: Tools, Xojo — Dennis M Wallentin @ 11:44 pm

I have been using Windows 8 for a while. As most of us know it’s primarily for touch screens which can create some issues on the desktop. Most softwares I use are usually placed on the Task bar. Up to Windows 7 it worked well out.

With Windows 8 I started to notice that I sometime cannot access the Task bar. In other words it’s not accessible. Perhaps I have not found out the right keys combination. Of course, an even better solution may be to skip the Task bar in the first place.

So I decided to create a small utility, App Launcher, where my favorite tools are available for me. The screen shot below shows the UI for App Launcher.


App Launcher is a test pilot. If things go well I will create a better tool that makes it possible to add/remove/replace tools. But at present I will test the App Launcher to find out if it suites me or not.

Is this kind of tool attractive for other users as well?

Edit: What I originally forgot to mention in this article is that with a (free) tool like App Launcher it will also be possible to start the tools with various start parameter(s).

Kind regards,

PS: App Launcher is created with Xojo.



  1. Curious if you considered other app launching programs like Launchy?

    I used to use launchy until vista/7 came out and I could simply hit the windows key and start typing the program I wanted to open. I haven’t switched to win8 yet, so don’t know if that feature is still around.

    Comment by guitarthrowerguitarthrower — October 12, 2013 @ 5:03 am

    • Thanks for mention the program Launchy which I was not aware of until now.

      Kind regards,

      Comment by Dennis M Wallentin — October 12, 2013 @ 7:13 pm

  2. As a concept, I like App Launcher. I achieve the functionality by creating a folder on my (Win7) desktop with shortcuts to all my favorite programs. Is this not possible with Win8?

    Comment by JimC — October 12, 2013 @ 2:41 pm

    • Jim,
      Yes, it’s possible to do so as You do in Windows 7. This is a test pilot to see if there exist an interest of using a tool like App Launcher where we can add/remove/update the tool.

      What I did not mention in the article is that with a tool like App Launcher we can add start parameter(s) allowing us to have various options for one tool.

      Kind regards,

      Comment by Dennis M Wallentin — October 12, 2013 @ 7:12 pm

  3. I have noticed at times that I can’t click on the task bar though I see the icons. Usually is it seems related to have a “Metro” app open at the same time. Note sure which apps. I haven’t spent much time on it yet.

    I use Start8 and ModernMix by StarDock (http://stardock.com/products/start8/). Basically, though I am running Win 8 Pro I work in the desktop environment 95+ percent of the time. Using Start8 I can add back the Start Menu and boot directly to the desktop. I personally don’t have too many issues with the Windows 8 Menu or Apps but since I use mostly Excel and the Office apps along with various Adobe desktop apps I just remain in the desktop mode.

    Comment by mebby — October 17, 2013 @ 1:25 am

    • Yes, I have the same experiences. However, for me it looks randomized. Start8 looks interesting. Despite the 8.1 the start button will not be the same functionality as in Windows 7. So we still may need some alternatives.

      Kind regards,

      Comment by Dennis M Wallentin — October 17, 2013 @ 1:36 pm

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