a URL-launching tool for Windows


A lot of Windows programs these days offer the ability to click on a URL and automatically have your web browser bring up a window showing that URL. However, not nearly all of them do. If an application that doesn't support this is showing a URL you want to look at, your only option is to use the Windows cut and paste facility to copy the URL to the clipboard, then launch your browser, and then paste the URL into that.

WinURL tries to make this process a little bit easier. Instead of having to launch your browser and then paste, you can just click once on the WinURL icon in the System tray, and WinURL will read the contents of the clipboard and feed them straight to your browser. So you need only select a URL in the source application, hit Copy, and click on WinURL.

In some applications (perhaps an IRC client, or a terminal emulator) the URL may be wrapped across several lines, so that copying and pasting it into your browser might not even work because of newline and space characters in the middle. WinURL will strip those out automatically, so that copying a URL out of a terminal emulator can be just as easy as copying it out of anything else.

Installing and using WinURL

To install WinURL, just download one of the archives below, and put the executable file winurl.exe somewhere where you won't lose it. To start WinURL running, just double-click on the executable file (no command-line options are required). Alternatively, you might want to put a shortcut to it in the Startup section of your Start menu, so that it will always be running whenever you use your computer.

When WinURL is running, it will put its icon in the System tray. If you left-click on this icon, WinURL will read the contents of the clipboard, treat it as a URL, and launch that URL. Right-clicking on the same icon will produce a small menu which lets you shut down WinURL.

Currently, WinURL also registers the hot key Windows-W, which you can press anywhere and it will have the same effect as left-clicking on the WinURL icon.

It's that simple.


WinURL is distributed under the MIT licence, so it is free to copy, redistribute, use and reuse. For more details, see the file called LICENCE in the distribution archive.


WinURL is provided in both source and executable form in the archives below (in .ZIP format):

For users of older systems, here's a 32-bit executable file which should run on Windows XP: winurl32.exe.


Please report bugs to Be sure to include all the version numbers of the WinURL source files in your bug report (these are provided in the file called README in the archive).

You might find it helpful to read this article before reporting a bug.

Patches are welcome.

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(last modified on Fri Dec 22 21:52:22 2017)