Launchy is a great open source, free to use, launch and index application.
It’s primary use is to serve as an alternative replacement for Windows ‘Start’ menu. It offers many features such as customization as far as it’s usability, skins, and also has the functionality of plug-ins. You can select the files to be included in Launchy’s index, whether it be just your start menu icons, or every file on your computer. It has the ability to filter directories, subdirectories, file types(extensions), etc.
The program by default runs in the background and is not visible. It is activated by Alt+Space keystroke which opens the Launchy bar, where you simply enter your search query. A match will be shown if found, with other relevant matches shown in a drop-down list. Simply select the match you prefer and Launchy will launch your application. Also, you can use Launchy to open your default web browser for any address entered into Launchy. Simply open the Launchy bar, enter the address and press enter; your web browser will launch and navigate to the URL entered. The performance of your machine should not be affected by Launchy.
It is primarily a background application, and does not use a lot of resources as it does not continually index your system. Launchy uses approximately 5 MB of your system’s RAM (in my experience). It’s great to be able to launch a program, website, or search for media or folders simply by typing in the name of the content you desire. I have not used my start menu at all since I installed Launchy, and have experienced no crashes or lock-ups from the program. It is available from www.launchy.net for free. Again, this software is open source and is a Sourceforge project. The program works only on Windows OS, and does not have a Mac OS or Linux version currently.