WinLaunch is a desktop app launcher for your Windows desktop the design of which is very similar to the Launchpad app of Mac OS X Lion or the iOS home screens. When activated, it turns your entire desktop screen into a beautiful app launcher.

Windows Start Screen

Download the WinLaunch program from Sourceforge.net, extract the archive to a local folder and double-click the WinLaunch Starter.exe file to launch the program. You don’t have to install the program though it can be pinned to the Windows Task Bar for quick access.

Press “F” and then drag-n-drop your commonly used software programs, website shortcuts and even documents into the WinLaunch app. It is also possible to group app icons in a folder by dragging one icon onto another. This is useful for putting related items – like Microsoft Office programs or Adobe Creative Suite apps – in a logical folder (see next screenshot).

Group Icons in Folders

Once configured, you can press the hotkey “Shift + Tab” to launch the WinLaunch app in full-screen mode. WinLaunch will hide itself once you launch another app use the “Escape” key to exit the program. The Launcher app will use your current wallpaper as the default background though you do have an option to pick another one.

WinLaunch is free and available for Windows Vista, 7 and Windows 8 (x86 and x64). If you find it confusing to navigate through a myriad of menus in the Start Menu for launching an app, WinLaunch might be a good alternative.