Lacuna Launcher: launch several apps with a single click

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Lacuna Launcher is a tiny, free app that can launch multiple programs and/or files with one click. It allows users to assign the order of the launched apps, to assign an optional delay before the apps start running (useful for programs launched on startup), as well as an optional wait time between each of the successive items launched.

A reader asked me about how he could launch a number of different apps using a single shortcut, and Lacuna Launcher is the small freeware program that I found that can do this. As an example, you may find that you always launch and work with your image editor, screen capturing program, and HTML editor together, and would like the ability to simply click on a single shortcut to launch all three simultaneously.

How to use this app: here’s an example that illustrates how Lacuna Launcher works.

  1. Download and unzip: let’s say that the location is “D:Lacuna Launcher”
  2. Create a list of items: using your favorite text editor, enter the full path for each item you want to launch, one per line. Save it somewhere (say as “D:’Lacuna Launcher’newlist.txt’”
  3. Create a shortcut for Lacuna Launcher: right-click on the executable (ll.exe) and select “create shortcut”.
  4. Lacuna Launcher Shortcut propertiesCustomize the new shortcut: right click properties, then edit the “target” field such that the path to the exe is followed by the path to your new text file. Both paths need to be inside quotes. You can (optionally) add two numbers after the paths; the first to specify the number of seconds to wait before the items should start running, and the second to specify the number of seconds to wait before running the next item. The following is an example where the apps launch immediately after and wait one second before each successive item (of course you can skip the numbers altogether for instant launches).
    • example: “D:Lacuna Launcherll.exe” “D:Lacuna Launchernewlist.txt” 0 1
  5. Modify the shortcut name and icon: if you want. Right click properties/change icon to change the icon in XP, rename the shortcut, then place it in the desired location (e.g. the desktop)
  6. That’s it. Your new shortcut will now launch all the items on your list specified in your text file. Note that you can make as many lists and create as many shortcuts as you want.

Supported file types: Lacuna Launcher will launch executables (.exe’s), shortcuts (.lnk), internet shortcuts (.url), or anything that can be opened on your system (image files, music files, movies, etc.)

Usage from the command line interface: is supported.

The verdict: a nice, simple, freeware that gets the job done. What I like is that you can make as many lists as you like and as many shortcuts that all point to the single executable on your hard drive. Although a GUI for this where users could drag and drop shortcuts would be nice, as it is the program is very easy to use and you will be up and running within minutes of downloading. Recommended.

Version Tested: 1.0.0

Compatibility: WinAll.

Go to the program page to download the latest version (approx 234K).


 
 
 
  • Anonymous

    How is this different than simply creating a text batch file with the commands in it?

  • I don’t get this one. If you are putting together list in text file could just as well make it batch.

    I know that sometimes stuff seems pointless but if this program was made someone needed it. I just don’t see many users needing it.

    PS for laughs in AutoIt 🙂

    For $launch In StringSplit(FileRead("d:\launch.txt"),@CRLF,2)
    If $launch Then ShellExecute($launch)
    Next

  • Samer

    Lacuna Launcher is simpler than a batch file, I think, given some of the functionality it provides. Specifically, setting delays before the onset of launching executables or the delay between the different items on the list. How easy would it be to set up a batch file with delays? I don’t really know.

    Also, it is simpler in terms of launching URLs or files, as you don’t to specify the browser or app to use, it will go with the default.

    But I agree that a better justification for using this would be an easy to use GUI that makes it simple for the most computer… um.. un-savvy to set up batch launches.

  • jfjb

    Samer,

    There is an old DOS trick to pause a batch file — I’m sure it’s not older than me.
    The CHOICE command parameter /Tc,nn default choice ‘c’ in ‘nn’ seconds.

    Wait 5 seconds w/o seeing the command line?
    C:\TYPE NUL | CHOICE.COM /N /CY /TY,5 > NUL

    Works in Win95, 98, Vista and 7. Beats me why XP is not on the list, but I kind of think I remember lots of tiny assembly COM or EXE files we also used to use in the good old days. Surely Google will pop a few with a “Delay DOS command” search line.

    My two-cents, of course.
    How the Says family?

    moi

  • imapc

    thanks, found a great use for this.

  • Hi, I am the developer of Lacuna Launcher. Thanks for the great review. It’s much appreciated.

    I think I can clear up some questions that some readers might have about why someone would want to use this application over something like a batch file.

    There are people in this world that don’t know how to write batch files, and some don’t even know what they are.

    Additionally, it can be more complicated to write a batch file in XP that will essentially do what this does since 2k’s and XP’s shell lacks the “sleep” command unless you download a package containing a huge set of power user/sys admin tools from Microsoft.

    The average person is not going to want to do that just to have a sleep command in XP, and the tools in the package are not suited to the average user and not something I would advise someone to download unless they had a need and the expertise to use more than just a single tool in the set.

    The alternative would be to write a WSH script in either VBScript or Javascript, which is even more complicated than a batch file.

    As far as making it easier to get the paths to your files for pasting into the text file, there are a number of free utilities that will add the option to Explorer’s context menu to copy the selected file’s path. I can’t recommend my favorite one (HPathCopyShExt), since it comes as just a .dll file and doesn’t have an installer, and it wouldn’t be that easy for the average user to set up as some other one that is just an .exe to click to install. I am sure a Google search will give you plenty of options for ones that come with installers.

    I have considered writing a helper application to make this much easier. Perhaps a notepad application that pastes in the path to a file on drag/drop? Offered as a separate utility (and included with the Lacuna Launcher application) it might be useful for purposes other than just making lists for Lacuna Launcher.

    And yes, this was written for someone that had a need for it…me. As weird as it might seem, it is easier for me to whip up a small utility in Delphi than writing a batch file. Since I am more familiar with Delphi than I am with batch file coding, I wouldn’t have to look anything up. And I know it will work on any version of Windows supporting the Win32 API, from 95 to Win7 without any alteration to the code.

    My original purpose for this utility was because I have a lot of applications launching at startup that have tray icons and when Windows launches them all at the same time, they compete to get their icons into the tray and not all of them make it.

    This is not an issue the average person would have. You need to have a lot of icons headed for the tray for this issue to rear its ugly head. (I have about 30)

    I was finding myself wasting my time after every reboot to check a text file containing a list of the apps with tray icons, and matching it to what was displayed in the tray, and having to locate in task manager and kill the ones where the tray icon was missing, and then relaunch them.

    Do that one too many times and if you have any coding skills at all, you’d write a utility too.

    The initial delay in Lacuna Launcher allows me to make sure it won’t start launching stuff till after Windows has launched everything else, and the delay in between each one makes sure they won’t be competing to get in the tray all at the same time. Plus I can switch the list very easily before I reboot to change to a different startup configuration. And I love how nice & clean my startup folder is, with just the one “ll” icon in there.

    Since I am not a selfish person and like to share what I write with others, I placed it on my website in case anyone else would want to use it.

    • Joseph Narcisse Bouche’

      Well, I have a question. Every time I use the shortcut to launch the file, it opens the folder in which I have Lacuna Launcher located. How can I prevent the folder from opening every time I use it?
      I checked, and the file path to Lacuna Launcher is not in the “list” txt file.

  • vtwin

    It is a nice program and just like app103 said not everyone wants to take the time to write a batch script or just learn how to. Comments like that sever no purpose. Just because “you don’t get this one” doesn’t mean others will too. Nice app. and thanks!

  • mete

    start up delayer has a similar start up for delaying things during boot up
    http://www.r2.com.au/software.php?page=2&show=startdelay

  • A useful app for people who don’t know or are too lazy to write batch files

  • M

    you can obviously write a batch but i found this to be a better faster alternative

  • M

    btw, can anyone tell me if this program workis for vista?

  • ldub

    Even if I use VB, autoit and batch files, your idea and the easyness of your program is very nice.

    Faced with those who criticize, I also appreciated your comment.

    Thanks a lot for your utility.

  • John Doe

    Here just to say thank you for sharing this application, both the developer and freewaregenius. This is useful and it’s not the same as Startup Delayer because this one does can launch programs at startup without having to use the built in startup folder from Windows. Perfect utility for my portable apps. 😀