How to Open Any Program by Typing its Name in RUN Dialog Box in Windows?

NOTE: We have released 2 free utilities to do the whole task automatically: Run It and Run Editor.

One of our readers "Balaji" asked us following question:

Hi Vishal,

I want to know how to create a registry entry for application shortcuts?
For opening a notepad we go to start - run and type notepad
For opening paint brush we use start - run and type mspaint

Similarly i want to set keywords for opening specific applications in my desktops.
For that what is the registry keyword i need to create / modify... Pls guide me
looking forward for your reply.
Thanks in advance

Yes. That can be done easily using Windows Registry. You can open any desired 3rd party program by just typing its name in RUN or Start menu Search box and press Enter.


You'll need to set the application path in Windows Registry so that Windows can know about the application at the time of execution.

PS: Before starting the tutorial lets assume that our desired application name is "My Application". Its an EXE file and is stored in "C:\Program Files\My Application\" folder. It'll help you in easily understand the tutorial.

So without wasting any time, lets start our tutorial:

1. Type regedit in RUN or Start Menu search box and press Enter. It'll open Registry Editor.

2. Now go to:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\App Paths

3. Now we'll need to create a new key under "App Paths" key. Right-click on "App Paths" key and select "New -> Key". Set its name to your desired application name along with its extension e.g. My_Application.exe

4. Select the key created in Step 3 and in right-side pane, set value of "Default" to the full path of application's EXE file e.g. C:\Program Files\My Application\My Application.exe

5. Again in right-side pane, create a new String value "Path" and set its value to the folder containing your application EXE file e.g. C:\Program Files\My Application\


6. That's it. Now you can launch your desired application by just typing its name in RUN or Start menu Search box.

NOTE: If you want a ready-made registry script to do the task automatically, then copy paste following code in Notepad and save the file with name "AskVG.REG" (including quotes).

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\App Paths]

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\App Paths\My Application]
@="C:\\Program Files\\My Application\\My Application.exe"
"Path"="C:\\Program Files\\My Application\\"

You just need to replace BOLD part of the above script with the correct application name and path. After saving the file, run it and it'll add the program path to Registry so that you can launch it directly from RUN and Start menu Search box.

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Posted in: Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP

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