If you’ve got too many icons on your desktop, you may be interested in QLaunch, a free launcher of shortcuts, files, and folders. QLaunch provides multiple user created floating Windows that can house your icons and shortcuts, and will even let you ‘cluster’ them together manually in the same manner that people normally do on the desktop. QLaunch supports drag and drop and can be accessed via an icon on the top of your screen, via hotkey, or using a system tray icon.
In general, launchers can help you quickly access program shortcuts, but they can function as organizational tools. Personally, I am very interested in the question of what to do with cluttered desktop icons and how to organize them, and in looking at a program such as QLaunch I will admit to be more interested in the organizational aspect (in this regard, check out my previous articles: ‘Ten free tools to better organize your desktop icons’, and ‘What does a cluttered desktop mean?’).
The user experience: QLaunch is a launcher with multiple, floating windows called ‘placemats’. These are created by the user, can hover semi-transparently over your desktop, and your shortcuts, files and folders can be dropped onto them, in the right ‘place’ within the placemats much as you would cluster icons in various locations on your desktop.
Customization: a lot can be customized; including whether to use the top icon or tray icon, the placement of the top icon, the colors of the text, label, and background, etc.
The interface: is easy enough to use, if a little inelegant. Right click on an empty area within a placemat to get to the various options (see below)
The verdict: a nice little app, simple yet strangely appealing. It could be much improved though. Here’s a quick wish list:
- A few tweaks: to the interface, e.g. adding the ability to always enable ‘align icon to grid’ for all placemats globally.
- Support for image thumbnails
- The ability to link a folder to a placemat, such that that the placemat *always* reflects the folder contents.
Version Tested: 2.3
Compatibility: 2000, XP, Vista, Windows 7 (32 bit and 64 bit). Older Windows versions may also work.
Go to the program home page to download (~150K).