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ColibriQuicksilver, the Swiss Army Knife of productivity apps, can do just about everything except file your taxes and bake you warm delicious cookies.

Lifehacker’s Adam Pash calls it the “the best productivity application on the market today,” aptly summarizing its power:

Quicksilver can be used to launch files and applications, manipulate data, and seamlessly plug into almost any application on your Mac so that you can perform actions as soon as you think of them in a few short keystrokes.

Sounds fantastic, but there’s gotta be a catch, right?

Yep, it’s Mac only.

Before you start shaking your fists and hurling rocks through Steve Jobs’ window, check out Scott Hanselman’s list of Quicksilver-like launchers for the PC. Scott’s done a great job summarizing each app with a review and shot. His list includes:

  1. Slickrun
  2. SmartStartMenu
  3. slimKEYS
  4. Colibri
  5. Launchy
  6. AppRocket
  7. ActiveWords
  8. Dave’s Quick Search Bar
  9. Google Desktop
  10. Find and Run Robot

While none of these apps perfectly replicate all of Quicksilver’s functions, Scott recommends Colibri for the closest experience.

Being a Mac junkie, I have little experience with Colibri. But do any of you? Does it truly compare to Quicksilver?

via Scott Hanselman


  • nick

    gravatarApr 3, 2007
    6:55 am

    I have. No, it doesn’t.

    PS: Which is one of the reasons I use a Mac now. :)

  • Mark Watson

    gravatarApr 3, 2007
    12:32 pm

    I haven’t tried it on my PC, but I will. Personally I just use quicksilver ;-) with my Mac.

  • Daryl

    gravatarApr 3, 2007
    3:24 pm

    I’m actually an avid user of Quicksilver, but am looking at moving back to K/Ubuntu for mostly philosophical reasons (and the fact I have to start eating my won dog food).

    Besides, Katapult does anyone have any recos on similar apps for the Linux desktop ?

  • Mikkel Malmberg Nielsen

    gravatarApr 3, 2007
    4:28 pm

    Dartl: Deskbar for Gnome. It’s kinda like spotlight. But faster,

    Even if everything else sucked on a mac, I would still use one, just because of QS. Get a mac already!

  • Chanpory

    gravatarApr 3, 2007
    11:24 pm

    Thanks guy for the personal accounts. It’s not too much of a surprise that Colibri disappoints if you’ve seen Quicksilver in action. With the on-going development of Quicksilver, it seems more and more unlikely that a PC programmer will catch up.

  • Andrea Nagar

    gravatarApr 5, 2007
    1:49 am

    Have you checked Direct Access at http://www.nagarsoft.com ?

    It allows you to define abbreviations to launch your favorite applications and folders and expand text. It allows you to perform web queries (on almost site like Amazon, Imdb, Google, Wikipedia) from any application.

    The new version works with Windows Vista, supports macros and has an instant search feature.

  • Leandro Ardissone

    gravatarApr 17, 2007
    9:29 am

    I love Find and Run Robot, slim and extremely faster. Now waiting the version 2 that will include plugin support and new improvements like speed and path completion.

  • Larry

    gravatarMay 3, 2007
    7:26 pm

    Keybreeze has more features and is more configurable than all of those apps, and it’s free. http://www.keybreeze.com

  • lmn

    gravatarJun 2, 2007
    4:09 am

    None of these things are close to Quicksilver, Its not just an application launcher people!

  • Logan

    gravatarOct 14, 2007
    9:13 am

    Haven’t used it yet, but Dash looks pretty good. Haven’t used QS either mind you. http://www.trydash.com

  • lllldom

    gravatarOct 18, 2007
    9:45 pm

    while its not quite there yet, DOMercury is active, gets frequent updates, is free, and has more functionality than any of the above listed. It also allows for multiple and specific actions depending on teh selected item, as Quicksilver does, including items that can take parameters. The author is also very receptive to feedback on possible improvements. http://www.odierno.com/domercury I have it on my work machine: a Windows XP 64 bit system, and on my Vista Laptop at home, works fine and fast on both systems.

  • Marc

    gravatarMar 28, 2008
    4:56 am

    “gnome-do” for Linux works perfectly. It’s elegant, quick and has a lot of plugins (search in dictionaries, run applications, open documents, etc…) http://do.davebsd.com/

  • Tao

    gravatarMar 28, 2008
    7:58 am

    DOMercury Absolutely Rocks! It should definitely be added in the content of this article, it seems much better than the others (that I have tried) from above. As the above comment states, it’s slightly rough around the edges right now : – the program crashes after you install it, one of the settings files have invalid entries) – the default indexes could be improved, not as slick as QuickSilver

    All in all though, this is very close in spirit to QuickSilver, and catching up fast!

  • Leonard Ritter

    gravatarSep 23, 2008
    2:57 am

    Checked the sites and so far Launchy looks pretty sleek and does a good job. It is the only Windows app on the list that is open source, which is important for me (control freak), so think I found my match.

  • Industrial

    gravatarSep 24, 2008
    7:58 am

    Don’t you love it when blogs post about blogs that blogs blog and that their blog included more then what you are blogging about (“His list includes:”)?


    google would have found me HIS blog instead of yours, but just because you are a company that puts effort (and money) into having better search results i get shown this. thanks a bunch. The internet is a better place with blogs posting about blogs (not).

  • Gasha

    gravatarNov 26, 2008
    4:33 am

    You should try SkyLight. I found it on AppRocket link. It’s close to Quicksilver

  • Elijah

    gravatarDec 28, 2008
    3:09 pm

    Gnome DO for Linux fit my need as a Quicksilver replacement.

    Very nice!

  • rAX

    gravatarMar 17, 2009
    12:56 pm

    Thanks, I tried what you suggested but I’m sticking with Launchy, it’s pretty good Gnome-DO on linux is pretty well too

  • Alex

    gravatarMar 17, 2009
    1:22 pm

    SuperLauncher should be mentioned. SuperLauncher launches applications with hotkeys or one click of the mouse but the twist about it is that you add new shortcuts by drag and drop. You simlpy drag and drop applications, websites, files, or folders, and wizards guide you through adding hotkeys or one-click shortcuts.

    I use it and I recommend it.

    You can find SuperLauncher here: http://www.pcwinsoft.com/superlauncher/download.asp http://www.pcwinsoft.com/superlauncher/

    Best, Alex

  • sean avery

    gravatarJun 24, 2009
    12:38 am

    press the windows key and type whatever ur looking for into the search thats built into the win7 and i think vista has it also

    fast and its already there whether u like it or not bitches

  • Steve

    gravatarJul 10, 2009
    3:13 am

    Sean: You are missing the point. People are not looking for mac-like ways to launch programs, they are trying to find a substitute for Quicksilver.. but why do I even assume that a troll can read?

    Go back to 4chan or get a life

  • jaffar

    gravatarSep 12, 2009
    12:26 am

    thanx, Colibri, is well programmed , does the job well,, I am linux user who got used to gnome-do, which is fantastic btw, and has alot of potential to fit into many customized actions but Colibri is good alternative as well,

  • Emalghion

    gravatarFeb 24, 2010
    10:10 pm

    I’m a Quicksilver user and I have started to use Skylight and would say it is the closest to Quicksilver I’ve found for PC. Skylight’s Windows 7 compatibility is excellent as well. This program is by CandyLabs and has replaced AppRocket.