Krento is described by its author as
Krento is an application manager and widget engine for Microsoft Windows
Krento is a lightweight launcher that is not too unlike Radian featured earlier here. Upon installation a circular set of ‘stones’ and a ‘pulsar’ appear on the desktop (see image above). The pulsar which fades into the desktop if the mouse is away from it offers one way to activate the stones or the main interface of Krento. By right clicking on each segment or stone of the program it can be changed to one of the pre-configured settings like the ability to show, in the center of the program interface, the current time, IP address or to shut down the computer. Alternatively stones can be configured to open programs with command line parameter support. Win+C is the default keyboard method of opening the program, this and other settings, for example to activate Krento via the mouse, are available in the program’s option (right click the tray icon). Using the Ctrl key with any one of F1 to F12 keys is the keyboard method of opening each of the 12 stone targets (the stones are numbered as seen in the image above).
Krento supports and includes many skins and is compatible with Rocket Dock and Object Dock skins as well, as explained here. One point to note is that as with any program with mouse and keyboard shortcuts this can interfere with other programs’ settings but since the defaults can change Krento of course remains useful.
Krento requires the .Net Framework (2.0) and works with Windows XP, Vista and 7.
Radian is described by its author as
Radian is a simple radial application launcher
When Radian is launched it starts with what it calls design mode, which is also accessible any time by right clicking or double clicking its system tray icon. This startup briefly slows the system while the program searches and indexes its pre-configured shortcuts, described below. In design mode Radian’s circular or radial interface is divided into 4 quadrants (see image). Each quadrant can be configured, using its corresponding wheel icon residing near the center of the circle, to hold chosen shortcuts and their respective icons. Three of the four quadrants are pre-configured to show desktop items, quick launch items and the recent documents entries. The fourth quadrant is called custom and any file or shortcut can be dragged to any of its regions. Right clicking on any of the individual regions also allows for the creation of custom shortcuts.
After design mode is done Radian stays in the tray and can be activated by clicking and holding down the right click button any where on the screen. Then the second, third or fourth quadrants can then be made visible by moving the mouse in a circular fashion while still holding down the right click button.
Radian is one launcher that certainly needs getting used to but it is a different and original looking download.
StartUp is described by its author as
WPF tool to help you launch your programs easily.
To start off the developer page does not mention the name ‘StartUp’. The only place this program’s name is visible is in the solitary screenshot. One can easily confuse its name to be ‘AppManager’ as that is the domain URL and also the title of page. That minor quibble aside, on to the program itself.
Upon installation StartUp looks up or indexes the system’s start menu, quick launch and recent documents entries and presents them in a rectangular interface (see image) and also groups them into areas. Right clicking anywhere on the program window or clicking the + icon one can create groups for additional shortcuts. The program supports dragging and dropping shortcuts, executables or almost any file to create links to them. It is also possible to drag a file over a program icon, while holding the Alt key, to force the file to be opened with that particular program.
The program is minimized to the system tray using its X or close icon or by just pressing the Esc key. By default the program window can be maximized by using the Alt and ~ keys or by what it calls “mouse activation”. To activate the program using the mouse single click the top left hand edge of the screen. This activation feature can be turned off using the program’s preferences.
Perhaps the best part of StartUp is the integrated search feature. Click anywhere on the program interface and just start typing, a search box narrows your choices as you type (see image).
StartUp requires, at a minimum, the .NET 3.0 framework and is a 164KB download. It is released under the Microsoft Public License.
Appetizer is described by its author as
…a free application launcher, or dock, for Windows
Appetizer is an open source entry in the application launcher list that includes the likes of 8Start, reviewed here previously, LaunchBar Commander from DonationCoder and many others. It is available in an executable and ZIP package portable. It also supports skins and plugins.
Appetizer, as it stands now at version1.3, keeps it simple. The first step in using it can be importing Start Menu and Quick Launch shortcuts using a special importer. Alternatively one can click on the + button (see image, showing Appetizer using the iAppetizer skin) or drag and drop program icons into the dock to create shortcut items manually. By right clicking shortcuts one can change the display name of the shortcut, change its path and icon and add special parameters that control how the application is launched. In addition to the aforementioned shortcuts can be added to ‘multi-launch’ groups. A multi-launch is often useful when one wants to open several portable applications (non-portable ones too) by clicking one single button. Here, using Appetizer, one can add many shortcuts to a group and open several applications simultaneously.
The configuration menu of Appetizer lets the user do the following: choose its language (18 available as of this review), keep the app on top, check for updates, change its skin, its orientation (vertical or horizontal), its icon size, its transparency, auto hide it after an application launch, run multi-launch groups on start up, add a hot key to hide/show the dock and enable/disable plugins. One of the useful included plugins is the one that opens the folder where the application being launched resides in. Once enabled a plugin becomes accessible via a right click on any of the shortcuts.
Appetizer is a very promising relatively new software and runs on Windows 2000, XP and Vista.