Everyone has their favorite method of launching apps and opening folders. For example, I used to be a die-hard fan of Launchy, a keyboard-based launcher. Then, when I moved from Windows XP to Vista, I ditched Launchy in favor of the latter's similar Start-menu launcher.
Now I might just have to switch again. MouseExtender is one of the coolest, handiest launchers I've seen yet.
Once installed, a click of your mouse's middle button opens the MouseExtender window wherever your cursor happens to be. Then just click the program icon or folder you want.
Adding programs to the launcher couldn't be simpler: Right-click in the window and choose Add Running Program. (Or choose File or Folder to add those kinds of items.)
ME also provides three system buttons: Control Panel, Restart, and Shutdown. Very handy.
By the way, if you need your middle mouse button elsewhere, you can "exclude" MouseExtender from specific programs--meaning the middle button goes back to its regular function when those programs are active.
All told, I'm loving this little launcher, especially because it's free. Once you get accustomed to middle-clicking your way to your favorite programs and folders, you'll wonder how you got along without MouseExtender.