If you've ever right-clicked an application icon, you've probably seen the context-menu option Pin to Start Menu. It's designed to make frequently used programs more easily accessible.
But what about folders? Wouldn't it be nice to have that same kind of quick access to the folders you use every day? Alas, right-clicking a folder produces no "pinning" option. Thankfully, it's a simple matter to pin folders to the Start menu. Here's the step-by-step:
1. Right-click the folder you want to pin and choose Create Shortcut.
2. Click and drag that shortcut to the Start button, waiting a second or two for the menu to appear.
3. While keeping the mouse button clicked, drag the folder to any desired spot near the top of the menu (anywhere above the gray line, which delineates pinned programs from frequently used ones).
4. Drop the folder and you're done!
Easy, huh? I recommend keeping pinned folders to a manageable minimum (no more than five or six), otherwise you'll start to overload the Start menu and diminish its convenience.
If you want, right-click the newly pinned folder and choose Rename to edit out the "shortcut" suffix.
Of course, this is but one way to put frequently used folders at your fingertips. You can also add folders to Vista's "favorites" area in Explorer. And while we're on the subject, don't forget this classic tip: Automatically restore open folders after a reboot.