SliderDock (free), a simple and good-looking program launcher, allows for creating one or more rings of shortcuts. You can pack plenty of icons into a given ring, and then use the mouse wheel to rotate the one you want to the front.
After SliderDock's quick installation, you'll be looking at a small circle, called the IconSeeker, on your desktop. To get started, drag and drop files or shortcuts onto the IconSeeker. Your first icon will sit in the middle of the IconSeeker, while additional ones will begin to form up a ring around it. The rear-most icons shrink in size to create a nice perspective effect.
Rotating the ring pulls a different icon into the IconSeeker, where it can be launched with a double-click or a configurable hotkey. Alternatively, you can right-click an icon in the ring and choose a SliderDock menu option to run it without having to rotate it first.
You can pack all your shortcuts into one giant ring, or instead create additional rings. For example, you might create one ring that contains only documents, and another for programs. A click of the middle mouse on the IconSeeker switches you to the next ring, as does a configurable hotkey (the up or down arrows by SliderDock default).
The simple but efficient SliderDock allows for changing the size of the rings and the icons, as well as icons used for the IconSeeker and shortcut backgrounds. You can also set your preference of hotkeys for about anything it does, and of course have it automatically hide until you call it forth. Some online tutorials will guide you through its features.
While SliderDock doesn't have advanced features such as automatically populating a ring with the current contents of your Desktop or a particular folder, it's a good-looking and easy-to-use option for quickly getting to your most-used programs and files. For another free launcher with a similar approach, see CircleDock.