Windows+R Alias Manager, Add shortcuts to the Windows run box

Martin Brinkmann
Jul 2, 2012
Updated • Jul 2, 2012
Software, Windows, Windows software

I use Windows' run box all the time to launch applications and system tools like the Registry Editor or the Services Manager. It is a quick way to start programs and more or less a built-in application launcher. What's missing though is a way to customize shortcuts so that you do not have to type the full name of a program to launch it, or include a program that is not picked up automatically by the launcher (like portable applications).

To use the run box, you simply press Windows-r on the keyboard of your computer. This pops up the box where you can enter the item that you want to load. You can use it to launch programs and Internet addresses.

windows run box

Win+R Alias Manager

The portable Win+R Alias Manager turns the run box in Windows into an application launcher. It provides two core services:

  • Add program support to the run box for items that are not picked up automatically by it
  • Shorten the run command to load programs faster

win-r alias manager

The program interface displays all existing shortcuts in a table in the main interface on startup. By default, only the shortcuts of the logged in user are displayed. A click on the work with system-wide aliases box displays system-wide aliases that every user of the system can make use of.

There is unfortunately no option to display all shortcuts in a single listing. One way around this would be to change all user-specific shortcuts into system-wide aliases or the other way round. This works very well on single-user systems, and may not be an option at all on multi-user systems though.

A click on add opens a menu allowing you to add a new program with alias to the run box, so that it is recognized when you type in the alias to launch it.

run box alias

The alias and file path fields are mandatory, the two preferences under additional settings optional:

  • Alias: enter the shortcut or word to trigger the loading of the program or command.
  • File Path: needs to point to the file that you want to load when you enter the alias.
  • System-wide alias (otherwise per-user): If you want the alias to be available for all users of the system, enable this box. This requires elevated rights.
  • Application needs to know full path to itself: Some application may require it. If you are not sure, leave unchecked and test, and check if issues arise.

The changes become effective immediately, and it is a good idea to run a quick test for any new or changed item to make sure everything is working as intended.

Editing and deleting options are also available to modify existing aliases and to remove aliases that you do not work with.

Win+R Alias Manager is a useful portable program for Windows that you can use to extend the functionality of the Windows Run box beyond what it is already offering. It is excellent for adding portable applications and apps that have not been added automatically to the run box. (via Techdows)


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  1. Martin said on March 12, 2023 at 3:05 pm

    An even quicker way to open Task Manager is by pressing Ctrl+Shift+Esc.

  2. archie bald said on March 12, 2023 at 4:32 pm

    Win+Pause used to be the goto shortcut for me since… W95… Ms recently hijacked it and you now get Sysinfo. Device manager is still accessible this way: the second to last link at the bottom.

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