I’m trying two different utilities:
Free Launch Bar is a replacement for Windows’ built-in Quick Launch. It’s a toolbar that sits on the taskbar, letting you launch programs. I like it because it does the right thing with subfolders (makes them sub-menus, rather than launching Explorer on the folder). It isn’t flashy, but it is solid and does its job well. It’s a loss leader for True Launch Bar, which has so many features I can’t even organize them mentally.
ObjectDock is a replacement for the Windows taskbar. It’s basically a Windows implementation of the OS X dock, and it is quite faithful (and therefore, quite flashy). It is also free, with more features available for money in ObjectDock Plus.