Windows Vista has more ways to launch a program than just about any other operating system:
Double-click on a program icon in Explorer, on the Desktop.
Double-click on a file associated with an application to launch that application and open the file.
Pick the name of a program from the Start menu. (See "Start Menu," in Chapter 3, for details.)
Click on a program's icon in the Quick Launch Toolbar to start it. This toolbar can include icons for any programs, although by default, it often has icons only for Internet Explorer, the Desktop (click it to go to the Desktop), Switch Between Windows, and Windows Mail after you set up Windows Mail the first time.
The default icons that appear on the Quick Launch Toolbar often vary from system to system. Computer manufacturers may change what icons appear there or whether Quick Launch even appears at all.
Right-click on a file, executable, or application icon and choose Open.
Select (highlight) an icon and press the Enter key.
Type the filename of a program in the Address Bar, which is displayed above the toolbar in any folder window, in Explorer, in Internet Explorer, or even as part of the Taskbar. You may also have to include the path (the folder and drive names) for some items.
Type in the filename of a program from the Start Search box and press Enter. You may also have to include the path (the folder and drive names) for some items.
Type in the first few letters or the entire name of a program (not necessarily the filename) in the Start Search box, choose the program you want to run from the list that appears, and press Enter. For example, if you wanted to run Microsoft Word, you could type Word, then select the Microsoft Word icon and press Enter.
If you're looking to open an application in order to run a specific file, you can search for the file using the Start Search box or other Windows search tools. That way, you can open the file and application in one simple step.
Open a Command Prompt window and type the name of the program at the prompt. Note that some knowledge of the command prompt, which borrows a lot of syntax and commands from Vista's great-grandfather, the Disk Operating System (DOS), is requiredsee Chapter 14 for details.
Create shortcuts to files or applications. A shortcut is a kind of pointer or linka small file and associated icon that point to a file or program in another location. You can put these shortcuts on the Desktop, in the Start menu, or anywhere else you find convenient. Double-click on a shortcut to launch the program. To launch programs automatically at startup, just place a shortcut in your Startup folder (C:\Users\username\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\StartUp).
Some programs are really "in your face." For example, if you install AOL, it often puts an icon on the Desktop, in the Quick Launch Toolbar, and on the All Programs menu, and even shoehorns an icon into the System Tray, which is normally reserved for system status indicators. Other, less obtrusive programs may be more difficult to locate. In fact, you'll probably find several programs mentioned in this book that you never even knew you had!