There may be many applications that simplify and bring ease to the application launching mechanism of Windows OS, but ControlPad brings a new level to it. Essentially, this program maps numeric combinations to almost anything within Windows; you can launch applications, open web pages, execute system commands, open any document or send a series of keystrokes to the operating system.
The tool is available as both installable and portable versions. When it is running, it sits in the system tray where you can configure the options by either right-clicking the icon or using the numeric combinations already associated with the program.
Usage is interesting. With ControlPad running, press and hold the * key to activate the launcher window, where you can add your desired combination and press Enter to execute the associated function.
Mapping functions is also easy. In the input window, enter the combination and press the / (division) key on your numeric keypad to associate that particular combination with a command.
The options dialog lets you control several features of the program, including accessing the rules INI file. You may also activate a dedicated laptop mode (if you are using one) which will switch the * key with F12 to activate the launcher window.
ControlPad also lets you use word combinations instead of just numeric ones, and supports multiple commands using the + key. This way you can even emulate features like copy (Ctrl+C) etc.
ControlPad was tested with Windows 7 32-bit OS. Memory usage is a mere 3 MB.
You may also want to check Launchy, which brings a similar functionality with a different approach.