Zum: Simple Free Application Launcher [Windows]October 17, 2010 • By Mezanul
Application launchers serve one and only one important purpose, to provide you fast access to your frequently used items. Zum is the new kid in application launcher market. It is simple but doesn’t compromises on functionality. It provides an easy way to organize and access your frequently used application shortcuts.
Zum is completely free application launcher for Windows. Zum is small and the installation procedure does not take too long to complete. After installation, it will ask you if you want to manage applications and websites. On clicking the manage button, it displays the following window:
Zum categorizes your shortcuts for easy access. The categories available are: Bookmarks (for website addresses), Communication (for instant messaging software or VoIP shortcuts), Games (very obvious what shortcuts you will put in here!), Office (text processors, spreadsheet programs, presentation software, etc), Other (everything else), Players (media players) and Web tools (browsers). Shortcuts to apps related to graphic and video editing and programming share the same spot on the bar.
Populating these categories is very easy as Zum makes available a list of all the programs available in Program Files folder on the system drive. This feature is very handy as it practically takes the burden of typing in a custom name for the entry and nothing more. You can add new elements, update old elements or delete them entirely. Sadly, there is no way you can move the entries to a different place, as by default they are arranged alphabetically. Also, the shortcuts doesn’t display software-specific icons. Although this is not an absolute must but it is handy for them those who rely on icons to recognize the apps.
After configuring all your favorite shortcuts in the relevant categories, you will find Zum bar in the desktop. For convenience, Zum’s category bar can be placed anywhere on the desktop. Also, when it is inactive, it is dimmed down to almost invisible. Zum comes pre-installed with some pretty skins, out of which Darth Vader my favorite. Zum also allows you to create your own custom skin for the application, if you want to give it a custom look!
Zum is a very promising application launcher, but it lacks some features. At this stage, Zum lacks support of any keyboard shortcuts (hotkey) support to control the menus and you cannot customize the categories. On the positive side, you can minimize Zum to system tray and access all the shortcuts from the context menu there.
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