The "easy" way is to hit Shift + Enter.
Another way is to permanently do this for specific applications. In the case of Notepad:
- Right-click on the tile.
- Click open file location.
- Right-click on the shortcut.
Change the target to:
%windir%\system32\cmd.exe /c start %windir%\system32\notepad.exe
In general you could do this to any shortcut (including whatever one pops up when you type in the search box), and you do it by prepending
cmd.exe /c start to the usual target path.
For Windows 8 there is a registry tweak (source):
- Open the registry editor.
- Go to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\ImmersiveShell
- Right-click in right pane and create a new value named DesktopAppsAlwaysLaunchNewInstance with the type DWORD (skip this step if it already exists).
- Set its value to 1.
- Log off then log back on.
This tweak no longer works in 8.1. In 8.1 there is a crazy hack (source):
- Install Debugging tools for Windows (free download from MSDN)
- Create a directory on your computer to store symbols in ([author uses] c:\localsymbols)
Create a shortcut on your desktop to run this (replace the two paths to point wherever you need):
[path_to_debugging_tools]\ntsd.exe -pn explorer.exe -pv -y SRV*[path_to_local_symbols]*http://msdl.microsoft.com/download/symbols -c "eb Windows_UI_Search!SearchUI::Data::SwitchToApp b8 00 00 00 00 c3; q"
Double click the shortcut ... [ ... and it should be working now.]
Why Microsoft chose to do this when every other operating system in existence and past version of Windows does the opposite is a bit beyond me. At least they made shift + enter functional, but apparently they decided that the majority of users are incapable of keeping track of their open windows or using the task bar (and UI decisions like that in major OSes are precisely why a user would end up like that) and that "start notepad" doesn't mean start notepad. And thus, they continue to doom typing commands to the realm of the "advanced" user.