The simple, free RUNit utility provides fast access to your most-used programs, via a menu you call up by right-clicking on the very edge of your screen.
This tiny program doesn't require any installation, and it doesn't make any changes to the Windows registry. Extract RUNit, double-click it and you're off. If you want it to start automatically with Windows, add it to your Startup folder.
To add programs to your RUNit menu, you can drag-and-drop files or shortcuts, or locate them with Explorer. By default, the app uses the top edge of your screen, but you can set it to use the bottom, left, or right edge--as well as the CTRL-SHIFT key combo--to raise its normally hidden menu.
You can also choose from a few different display options, such as whether to show small or large icons for the menu items, and arrange the order of items. To get rid of RUNit, just delete the program and its settings file (stored in c:\windows\runit.ini).
If you want a simple, lightweight option to quickly launch programs without having to go to a desktop shortcut or the Start menu, RUNit is a good pick. But be aware that the author is no longer updating the program. If you're after something with more features, you might try old favorite Enso Launcher, but it's also no longer under active development. Another feature-rich option that's somewhat more complicated--but still getting updates--is the versatile Blaze.