Want a nice, functional, launcher that appears only when you need it? Then check out Coolbarz, a free software that can add up to 4 toolbars on any of the sides of the screen. These no-frills toolbars (see screenshot) appear when you mouse over the side of the screen and are invisible when you move away or are not using them.
Shortcuts (files, folders, or program executables) can be added by simply dragging and dropping them onto the toolbar.
This is the kind of simple program that is free and small and that you could get used to using fairly quickly.
It is highly customizable; you could have just the icons visible without text, you could have a whole toolbar appear or just a centered view of the shortcuts (such as the one in the screenshot above), and you can change the size of the displayed entries, just as examples.
A software reviewer can get used to wishing for additional options that a software provided. I could have wished for cascading menus rather than just buttons, for keyboard shortcuts and a whole slew of thing, but in this case Coolbarz is just simple and functional and makes sense. A very nice tool overall.
[Thanks to reader japp for letting me know about this software]
Version tested: 0.1.6.6 (Beta)
Compatibility: Windows 2000, Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7. Requires MS .NET Framework 2.0 or later.