6 Different Ways to Open Programs on Windows


Programs are the backbone of any Windows machine. Here are all the ways to open them.

Launching programs on Windows is a basic task, and there’s a good chance you already know how to do it. However, if you’re tired of using the same method and want to discover new ways to open your apps, this guide is for you.

In this post, we’ll walk you through all the different ways to open apps and programs on Windows.

One of the simplest ways to open programs in Windows is via the search menu. So, let’s start with that.

  1. Click the magnifying icon on the taskbar or use the Win + S keyboard shortcut to access the search menu.
  2. Type the name of the app or program you want to open in the text box and press Enter.
    Open Apps and Programs Using Start Menu

2. Open Apps and Programs Using Its EXE File

Open Apps and Programs Using Desktop Shortcuts

When you install an app or program on Windows, it often adds a shortcut to the EXE file on your desktop. This allows you to launch the app or program by double-clicking the shortcut.

If the desktop shortcut isn’t available, you can find where the program is installed on Windows and double-click on its EXE file to open it.

Another quick way to open apps and programs in Windows is through the Run dialog box. To do so, press Win + R to open the Run dialog, type the command for your app, and then press Enter.

For instance, if you were to open Paint, you’d type mspaint.exe in the Run dialog box and press Enter. Similarly, to open Chrome, you can type chrome.exe in the Run dialog box.

Open Apps and Programs Using Run Dialog

4. How to Open Programs via Task Manager

Aside from managing system processes and services, Task Manager is also useful for launching apps and programs on Windows. Let’s see how.

  1. Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc on your keyboard or use one of the many ways to open Task Manager on Windows.
  2. Click the Run new task button at the top.
  3. Enter the relevant command in the text field. For instance, if you were to open Microsoft Outlook, you’d type outlook in the text box.
  4. Click OK.
    Open Apps and Programs Using Windows Task Manager

5. Open Apps and Programs via Command Prompt

Command Prompt is a handy utility in Windows that allows you to automate tasks, troubleshoot system files, and perform other administrative functions. But did you know you could also use it to launch apps on Windows? We’ll show you how.

  1. Right-click the Start icon or press Win + X to open the Power User menu.
  2. Select Terminal from the list.
  3. Type cd <file path> in the Command Prompt window, and hit Enter to navigate to the folder that contains the app you want to launch. Make sure you replace <file path> with the actual path of the program.
  4. Type start <filename.exe> and hit Enter to launch the app.
    Open Apps and Programs Using Command Prompt

6. How to Open Programs With Keyboard Shortcuts

Don’t want to use your mouse every time you want to launch an app? Why not assign a keyboard shortcut to it? This way, you can open your favorite app with a few keystrokes.

Here’s how you can assign a keyboard shortcut to an app or program on Windows.

  1. Right-click the app shortcut and select Properties.
  2. Switch to the Shortcut tab.
  3. Click the Shortcut key field and press the key combination you want to assign.
  4. Hit Apply followed by OK.
    Open Apps and Programs Using Keyboard Shortcuts

After that, you can quickly launch the app or program by pressing the assigned key combination.

The Many Ways to Open Apps and Programs on Windows

As we just saw, accessing your apps and programs on Windows is easy no matter which method you use. Pick the one that makes the most sense to you and your workflow and have an easier time finding your programs on Windows.


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