There are some applications such as notepad and cmd which can be launched by typing their name in run dialogue box, can I just create entrys like that for all applications?

  • What version of Windows are you using?
    – rastaBob
    Jul 5, 2015 at 8:26
  • Windows 7 and vista on dualboot..
    – Soundarya
    Jul 5, 2015 at 8:28
  • What programs can't be run in particular? All I do on my Windows 7 & 8 machines is hit the Windows Key and start typing the name. Depending on how unique the programs name is you should be able to find it very quickly and hit enter to run it.
    – rastaBob
    Jul 5, 2015 at 8:35
  • You could also use a tool like Launchy, which is more easily configurable and even supports partial or misspelled program names.
    – Superbest
    Jul 6, 2015 at 0:51

4 Answers 4


Go to your application/program you want to create the command for. In this example I will use Outlook Express. Usually you can type "msimn" and your Outlook Express will open. To tag it as"OE" you need to follow these steps.

First, create a shortcut of the executable program in the same directory. Now, cut that shortcut that you created and paste it to your system folder WINDOWS. For Windows 98/ME, you should paste them in SYSTEM 32 folder. Rename them what ever ID you want. Here, as a example "OE". By typing OE in the run command, your Outlook express will launch as it normally does.

The benefit is, if you remember all commands you created, you don't need to click on menu or desktop icons to launch any programs.

  • 30
    I advise to NOT put anything into Windows folders. Better - create your own folder somewhere and add it to PATH environment variable.
    – turbanoff
    Jul 5, 2015 at 10:44
  • 1
    I agree with @turbanoff and he is absolutely right - files should NOT be copied into system 32 - it is VERY bad practice to randomly meddle with the OS. Ideally, create a location (for all one cares C:\bin, but it can be anywhere) and then add that directory to the user (!!) path, NOT the system path.
    – DetlevCM
    Jul 5, 2015 at 11:40
  • 1
    You can put it in C:\Users\<yourusername>\ folder if you're lazy to add an extra PATH environment variable. It already exists in the list of environment variables. Jul 5, 2015 at 13:46
  • 5
    "For Windows 98/ME" are you kidding?
    – Moab
    Jul 5, 2015 at 16:11

When you enter a name in the run dialogue box, Windows first looks at the PATH environment variables (there is a system one and per account one). Each of these contains a semicolon-separated list of directories to search through. Windows then searches through each of these folders in the list to find the application you want.

To create entries for all your applications, you should create a directory with shortcuts to your applications, then add the path to the directory to your PATH environment variable. This avoids affecting other users of the machine, and does not need admin rights.


You can also do this by creating keys in the registry, which will have effect for every user in the system, and you can re-create them on a new computer by double-clicking a single .reg file.

The paths are located here:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\App Paths

Let's say you want to type "e" to run Notepad (e for edit), or "e somefile.txt" to edit that file. To do this, create a new Key under the above path, named "e.exe". Then set the "(Default)" value to the path to your editor, e.g. C:\Program Files\Notepad2\notepad2.exe. That's it!

When exported, the complete .reg file looks like this:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\App Paths\e.exe]
@="C:\\Program Files\\Notepad2\\notepad2.exe"
  • 1
    You can also define user-specific app paths by using HKEY_CURRENT_USER instead.
    – Bob
    Jul 5, 2015 at 17:01

Not sure about other versions, but in Windows 7 you can simply create a shortcut in your user folder (for example, C:\Users\Admin) and name it whatever you want. You can then press Start with your mouse or hit Winkey and type its name to start the linked application quickly. You can add custom launch parameters in that link if you want. Also the link stays in your user folder and this means other users won't be bothered by its existence, in case they want different things to run after typing the same short name.

If for some reason the search function is disabled on your Windows and you don't have the search bar in Start menu (maybe because of some silly corporate policies) you can still launch that app but through the Run window, which is called by the key combo WinKey+R, type the name there and hit Enter. This is my preferred way because it doesn't take even that part-second to "find" the app link through the search bar.

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