How to Quickly Find an Application

If you have more than a few programs installed, your Start menu is probably so cluttered that you can’t find an app when you need it. This never got better with Windows XP, but with Windows Vista, you can find any program by clicking Start, typing a few letters from the name of the application, and then clicking the program’s icon when it appears.

If the program is at the top of the list, just press Enter to launch it. To launch it with elevated privileges, press Ctrl+Shift+Enter. Then, press Alt+C to confirm the UAC prompt.

You can use the same technique to find any file on your computer–just type a few letters from the file’s name or even the file’s contents. It’ll appear in the Start menu after a few seconds. To browse search results in a separate window, click See all results. To search the whole Internet, click Search the Internet.

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About Tony Northrup

Tony Northrup, MVP, MCITP, MCPD, MCSE, MCTS, and CISSP, is a Windows consultant and author living in Waterford, Connecticut, in the United States. Tony started programming before Windows 1.0 was released, but has focused on Windows administration and development for the last fifteen years. He has written more than two dozen books covering Windows development, networking, and security. Among other titles, Tony is coauthor of the Windows 7 Resource Kit, the Windows Vista Resource Kit, and Windows Server 2008 Networking and Network Access Protection (NAP). When he's not writing, Tony enjoys photography, travel, and being awesome. Tony lives with his girlfriend, Chelsea, her daughter, Madelyn, and three dogs. You can learn more about Tony by visiting his personal website at and his photography portfolio at