Program launchers are the best way to keep your desktop shortcuts manageable, and provide a more efficient solution for running applications rather than having your desktop cluttered with icons. The approach adopted by these programs varies for each, with some being like the OS X dock, while others working via system tray icons, launcher rings at the center of your desktop, hot corners and what not. We’ve covered a handful of application launchers for Windows in the past, such as Concord, Krento and Zum, just to name a few. Developed by deviantART member LangLe, 8Stack is another application launcher designed to work with Windows 8 by taking advantage of the operating system’s Modern UI. It displays a vertical sidebar on the right side of the screen, from where you can easily launch your applications. While it’s not a perfect solution for launching each and every file or program, the app does provide quick access to popular programs, eliminating the need to enter the Start Screen in order to find and launch them.
It’s worth noting here that 8Stack isn’t as feature-rich or customizable as similar applications that we’ve previously reviewed. In fact, it lacks any kind of personalization options at all, and only allows you to launch a predefined set of popular third-party programs including Firefox, Photoshop, CCleaner and many more, (provided they are installed on your system). However, the app will still display icons of all these apps, including the ones not present on your machine.
8Stack doesn’t require any sort of installation and works out of the box. After downloading it via the link provided at the end of this post, just extract the contents of the ZIP archive to an easily accessible location. You can then create a shortcut to the program’s EXE file on your desktop for quick access.
The app’s usage is pretty plain and simple; upon launching it, 8Stack displays a vertical black bar on the right edge of the screen, carrying different shortcuts under Programming, Applications and Websites sections. If you’ve used Windows Phone, it’ll look quite familiar to you, since it resembles the App list quite closely. 8Stack also lets you launch popular websites like Facebook and Bing without having to enter their URL in your web browser. Here’s the full list of apps and websites that you are able to launch via 8Stack:
- Visual Studio
- Android Developer Tool
- Mozilla Firefox
- Internet Download Manager
- Icon Lover
- Live Mail
Hopefully, the developer will add a way to edit the app list in the future, allowing users to add their own frequently used apps to it, and remove the ones they’re never gonna use. Also, it’ll be great if the app could simply look up and load all the apps that are installed on your computer. Based on the information provided on its deviantART page, 8Stack only works on Windows 8, and that’s the OS we tested it on but you can try it on other versions of Windows and let us know in the comments section below if it works for you.