Since the earliest days of computers, files have fallen into a few different categories. Computers rely on program files, text files, library files and a host of others to function properly. Windows-based computers are no exception to this rule. Executable files are one of the more common file types and have the file extension ".exe" in Windows. These files come in all kinds of shapes and sizes, but always do one thing: launch a program.
Every program needs an executable file in order to run on Windows at all. This was true on DOS-based computers, too -- though program files also included COM and BAT files. But in the Windows era, most programs have one or more EXE file. Take the computer game "Civilization 5," for example. The program has three executable files -- one to start the program using DivX 9 or 10, one to start the program in DivX 11 and one to let users choose which way to start the program -- called Launcher.exe.
Launchers are programs that come packaged with other programs that do one of two things: These programs either start a program that gives you choices to launch other programs, or launch a program to run in the background of Windows. Neither of these are inherently harmful actions, though the latter my load a program into your computer's memory and slow down your performance. Launchers are common with different programs, so there's no one universal "launcher.exe."
Identifying Your Launcher.exe
Your computer may have more than one "launcher.exe" file on it, depending on which programs you've installed and how those programs are configured. Click "Start" and "Computer" to open Windows' file browser. In the top, right-hand corner, type "launcher.exe" into the search field and press "Enter." Wait while the program searches your hard drive for all files with this name; the results are displayed in the main window. Right-click on a file and choose "Properties" to see which directory (or folder) it belongs to, which will give you a good indication of which program it launches.
Every time your computer loads, Windows starts a few programs that run in the background. Press "CTRL," "ALT" and "Del" at the same time and then click "Start Task Manager" and click on "Applications" and "Processes" to see which programs are running. If you see "launcher.exe" in the list of "Processes," some program is loading this when Windows starts up. Uninstall the corresponding program if "launcher.exe" is causing your problems.