MouseExtender: a stylish, mouse-activated launcher

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MouseExtender is a free launcher that’s activated in-place via the middle mouse button or any user defined mouse+keyboard combination.

It can launch programs, files, folders, or URLs, supports dragging and dropping shortcuts onto its interface, and allows organizing shortcuts into different tabs.

As they say: when it rains it pours! I had I reviewed RUNit, a really cool launcher that I liked, only to discover MouseExtender a week later.

Both of these share one important characteristic: that they are quickly and easily accessible. But MouseExtender has the edge in terms of the coolness/style factor.

  • How to use: simply click on the middle mouse button anywhere on screen and the launcher appears. you can set other mouse+keyboard combos to do this, useful for laptop users like myself.
  • Tabs: the top titlebar displays tabs (which actually look more like little buttons) that can be used for organizing shortcuts. You can click a little desktop pin in the titlebar to “pin” the launcher to the screen and keep always on top of other screens.
  • Drag and drop: the easiest way to add shortcuts is to drag and drop; however, note that you will have to “pin” the launcher to your desktop to be able to do this. You can drag shortcuts from anywhere (e.g. the desktop, the start menu, the Quicklaunch area, etc.) One really cool option is its ability to add shortcuts for programs running in memory.
  • Managing shortcuts: simply right click on the launcher interface to delete, rename, move to other tabs, etc.

Wish list (or how this program can be even better)

  • The option to label shortcuts: this is not an issue for program icons, but for file, folder, or URL shortcuts their icons will look the same, necessitating hovering over the icons to display tooltips that show the name. It would be cool if they could implement (optinal) visible labels, although it may clutter the stylish, economic looking interface.
  • A smaller memory footprint: this program requires the Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 sp1 or better to work, which makes its memory use a little inflated (and somewhat hard to ascertain).

The verdict: overall a very nice launcher that combines form and function. I like the tabs feature as well as the “pin to desktop” function.

Version Tested: 1.5

Compatibility: Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7. Requires MS .NET Framework 3.5 SP1

Go to the program home page to download the latest version (approx 109K).