The under-appreciated Start → Run

This month's T-SQL Tuesday, hosted by Kenneth Fisher (b|t), asks for specifically non-SQL related tips and tricks. I found that much harder than any number of technical problems, which I guess is the point of T-SQL Tuesday – to get you thinking and writing about something you might not otherwise have considered.

Thanks Kenneth!

My tip/trick is a sort-of keyboard shortcut (or set of shortcuts) that I find myself using all the time. I love keyboard shortcuts because if I can take an action without taking my hands off the keyboard, it's invariably quicker than reaching for the mouse. Even with the mouse, if I don't have to hunt around for an app or show my desktop, I can launch apps much more quickly.

Over time I've found myself launching apps more and more using Start → Run and typing in the name of the executable. These are the apps that I launch the most this way:

  • cmd – command prompt
  • ssms – SQL Server Management Studio
  • devenv – Visual Studio
  • excel – Excel
  • winword – Word
  • powerpnt – PowerPoint
  • mspaint – Paint, usually for editing images for blog posts!

What really speeds this up is being able to “Start → Run” from the keyboard using Win + R. To open a command prompt without lifting my hands off the keyboard, I can simply:

Win + R