On my previous Windows XP laptop, I made extensive use of the "Windows Search Deskbar" and specifically the shortcuts you could define in an ini file. Essentially, you could associate a path/URL/search string etc with a keyword. You could then type the keyword into the Windows Search Deskbar and it would execute the associated command.

By way of example, here are a few example shortcuts from my ini file...

ping=cmd /k ping http://www.google.com
dict=chrome http://dictionary.cambridge.org/results.asp?searchword=$w&x=0&y=0
map=chrome http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=$w
wb=C:\Program Files\MySQL\MySQL Workbench 5.2 CE\MySQLWorkbench.exe

Example usage (i.e. by typing keyword in Windows Search Deskbar) and effect...

  • chrome superuser.com -> opened URL in Google Chrome

  • ping -> pinged the specified URL from the command-line

  • dict frustration -> launched dictionary site in Chrome showing definition of "frustration"

  • map SW1A 0AA -> launched Google Maps in Chrome showing location of UK postcode

  • wb -> launch MySQL Workbench application

These deskbar shortcuts I setup were a swift means of getting around my computer and launching websites efficiently. Is this facility available in Windows 7? If not, is there an equivalent (preferably without installing any third-party software)?

  • A lot of this works out of the box with the Windows (Start menu) search. May 7, 2014 at 16:56
  • That's true, but I'm particularly interested in creating shortcuts for commands so that those that take longer to type can be executed using the minimum number of key presses.
    – w5m
    May 7, 2014 at 19:37
  • I agree (and understand what you're looking for) and the search box isn't going to do that in the same way as the old Windows Search bar add-on. That's why I made it a comment and not an answer (and up-voted your question). :) May 7, 2014 at 19:42
  • Not sure if this will work, but you can create custom shortcuts and add them to the start menu.
    – user256743
    May 7, 2014 at 22:01

1 Answer 1


I believe AutoHotKey could solve this. You will want a keyboard shortcut to execute an InputBox and have a condition per shortcut you want. It's probably going to be as big of a pain in the butt to set up as simply going where you want each time, but that's your call to make.

  • Thanks for the suggestion. I'll give it a try when I get a chance.
    – w5m
    May 8, 2014 at 7:59

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