A Challenging but GREAT Program Launcher

I have mentioned it before; I love program launchers over using the Windows Start Menu. The Start Menu, over a period of time, can end up becoming a convoluted mess that is counterproductive; especially if you do not know how to organize the menu items. This is where program launchers can help. Not only are many of them customizable and attractive, but they literally can save you mouse clicks when launching your favorite applications.  I have tested and tried them all; except one.

That one exception being, 8startimage


8start has been around for over 5 years, which in itself is a testimony of survival; however, every time when I crossed paths with 8start I found it to be quite challenging to configure and would let it go. Once again, 8start has crossed my path and this time I really decided to learn this software application and give it my all; and, boy I am glad I did.  Yes, it is somewhat a different type of program launcher when it comes to building your menus; however, once you get it, you will be quite impressed.  For me, I went from not having the patience to learn 8start, to becoming obsessed with it.

From – Andy Goh; the creator of 8start: 8start Launcher is a free portable application launcher, I created 8start Launcher because I believe there should be a convenient way to access application than using windows start menu, quick launch and desktop. Windows desktop look messy if too many shortcuts in the desktop, windows start menu become hard to access if too many applications installed in the computer, windows quick launch not suitable to handle too many shortcuts.

I do not want to even begin to explain “how to” use and configure 8Start, but if you are truly interested, the basics are outlined for you [here] .

A “cool factor” to 8Start is that it is skinnable.  In other words you can change the outward appearance by using many of the skins that is available on the web site [ Link ] . For example, I went with the Fabio Longo iPhone look.  Other “cool factors” to 8Start are the built in Tree Notes Feature and the Countdown timer.

Once I learned how to use 8start to create my categories, groups, application links, menu buttons and change the skin I ended up with what I think is a very modernistic  program launcher (see below).  My 8start launcher has the iPhone look complete with (8)-eight categories.  I configured 8start to magically appear when I click my middle mouse button.

My Finished Menu
using 8start and the
Fabio Longo iPhone skin.


Overall, my battle to try 8start is over.  This program launcher rocks!  I just hope the developer  continues with this project and continues to improve 8start.

Launcher Features

Organize shortcuts into groups and categories

Accessed by system tray, hotkey and middle mouse

Create and manange buttons fast and easy. Shortcuts, url favorites, files, folder, and application link can be defined easily

Launch applications and files fast and intuitive

Keeps the desktop clean, no more shortcuts block the view of your wallpaper

Portable with relative path defined supported, can be run in flash drive or install in harddisk.

Show program name / description when mouse over the icon

Quick access to the drive content by click the drive letter

Changable skin with transpancy png format supported, 30+ beautiful skins available for download

Able to use picture files .jpg, .png, .ico, .bmp, .gif as button icon

Individual customizable button style. Link to the application, favorite documents, music files, folders…. intuitively by apply the most suitable style

Auto download website favicon to local for url type button. Url icon still available if the internet cached have been deleted.

Launcher auto shrink to fit number of icons

Whole new concept of launching your applications and files

Countdown Features

Stay in taskbar, always visible while you working on your computer

Bounce/running text in taskbar show what you countdown now

Countdown till specific time or countdown for specific duration

Show countdown days / hours / minutes / seconds in different color, auto best fit to 1 or 2 icons

Fast setting and start the countdown (right click on 8start systray icon)

Option to launch a file/application when countdown reaches zero

Option to pop up a shaking window when countdown reaches zero

Tree Notes Features

Opacity of notes is adjustable on the fly, ease for you to read through the content behind the note while editing the note.

Unlimited of Tree and Notes can be defined

Each Tree has its own Path for storing notes, notes can be saved in File Server, Flash Drive, Portable Device… Combination of notes storage path is possible.

Each Tree have its’ own note color , ease for you to differential type of notes, e.g. Notes in Server, Notes for research Linux….

Notes can be shared if store in File Server, or by network sharing in normal worktation

Portable with relative path defined supported, you can store and access your notes in your flash drive

200+ beautiful icons included, you can add in your prefer icons in icons library. .ico and .png format is supported.

Notes information show last edited time and user


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9 thoughts on “A Challenging but GREAT Program Launcher

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  1. Rick,
    After reading this, I had to ask myself, “why would Rick bother to write up an app he has such a complete lack of enthusiasm for?”

    Sounds like this might be a nifty way to give my custom-built “toolkit-on-a-stick” a “Start menu”..
    (And, yes, I agree: Fabio Longo iPhone does have a certain ‘cool factor’!)


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