Similar to Launchy, Executor is a program launcher powered by hot keys that nonetheless offers a different program-starting experience.

Several of the many skins available for Executor. (Credit: Executor)

The interface should be familiar to Launchy fans. A skinnable bar appears at the top of your screen, and as soon as you type in the first few characters of the program that you're looking for, a list of potential choices appears. The more you type, the shorter the list becomes. Users can also scroll down the list to click on the item they want.

From there, Executor begins to differentiate itself. The customization options that you can choose from give the little app a lot of heft. Users can choose to drag an object onto the bar to create a keyword for said file, folder, or favorite. This is an interesting workaround for the less-than-compelling search feature, which works great with programs but had trouble indexing all my files.

Another built-in alternative takes advantage of the native Windows searching system, for both XP and Vista users. Users should be able to type "find [text]" and Executor will search your hard drive. In principle, even with the keyword this depends on you going into the Settings menu and configuring the indexing system to index your entire hard drive.

However, the keyword feature works great. Change that ''find'' to ''addremove'' and type in the name of the program, and Executor automatically opens up the Windows native Add/Remove Programs options from the Control Panel.

It feels like everything else in Executor can be customized, from such superficial aspects such as the skins to how the auto-completion function behaves. You can set it to override the Windows Run hot key, you can swap hot keys around, and you can set URLs, files, or programs to launch alongside Executor.

Executor should appeal to power users who are looking to accomplish specific program-launching tasks within a framework that offers a lot of leeway for customization.