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Is there a way to setup some key combination on Windows 7 to call a specific .exe file without installing any sort of third party application?

2 Answers 2

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All you have to do is create a shortcut to it (on the desktop, or in the Start menu*). Then right-click it, select Properties, click in the "Shortcut key" field under the Shortcut tab, and press your desired key combination. Click OK and then it should work.

*Note that this method only works if the shortcut is in certain places. See this KB article for more information.

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  • Try and keep your "global key shortcuts" on the desktop , or in the start menu itself. I think also desktop icons do not work if desktop icons are completly hidden. If you have problems with conficts while making them, re-boot.
    – Psycogeek
    Mar 24, 2012 at 1:33
  • In Windows, the shortcut key typically only works if the shortcut is on the Desktop or in the Start menu, see Shortcut key for shortcut does not work. That KB article doesn't mention Windows 7, but I don't know if it's left out on purpose or because the document is out of date.
    – Bavi_H
    Mar 24, 2012 at 1:33
  • It seems that, at least in Windows 7, this works only if you pin the shortcut to the Start Menu. If you place it on the Desktop, it doesn't work. May 3, 2012 at 15:25
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The easiest way is to pin the app and then using WinKey + to launch it - that is built in and does not require additional apps.

It does not use Ctrl shortcut however.

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