One of the most useful features in any version of windows greater than 95 is the Quicklaunch button, which sits (by default) next to the start menu. To enable it – if you don’t already have it – right click on the task bar, go to Toolbars, and click Quicklaunch. Do the same to disable it.
Why is it useful? It gives you instant access to four (or more if you extend the size) programs instantly, and then to more by a click of the double-chevron. If you put directories in the folder where Quicklaunch constructs it’s data, you can create a secondary (and quicker) start menu, as below:
The easiest way to edit this menu is using windows explorer. Quicklaunch is created from a directory, under Windows 98/98SE/Me, this is “C:WindowsQuick Launch”, Whereas under 2000/XP it’s in “C:Documents and Settings$USERApplication DataMicrosoftInternet ExplorerQuick Launch” (Where $USER is your username) It makes your most used applications far easier to access, and if you really want to, you can drag it to the left or right side of the window for a permanent Shortcut Bar, ala MSOffice 97.