I rely on the quick launch of Windows to quickly launch all of the apps and programs I need to launch. I have been using it since around Windows 95, but found it was a bit limited in what it could do for me besides launch programs, so I went on the search for a quick launch replacement for Windows and found something called TrueLaunchBar in 2005 and have never looked back at the quick launch toolbar in windows again. It provides quite a large amount of functionality that you could only dream of on the quick launch bar. The plugins that are available are incredible and include items like calendars, clocks, system resources, media controls, clipboard monitoring, weather forecasts, as well as many others. Another thing about this bar, the author is VERY RESPONSIVE to anything you might have a question with or even suggestions and will quite amazingly work with you one on one if necessary to fix an issue.
The only thing you may want to keep in mind is if you have Windows 7 and want your taskbar at the bottom and your truelaunchbar at the side or top you will possible need to use the standalone version of his bar which is exactly the same, but it allows you to detach it from the taskbar.
So if you have a need to enhance and replace your quick launch bar in Windows, head over to http://www.truelaunchbar.com/ and grab a copy, they even have a free one available, although I think the pay one is worth the cost.
He also has a facebook page if you have an interest at http://www.facebook.com/pages/True-Launch-Bar/153398428046694