Do you ever waste time scouring your hard drive for important programs, folders, or files? With the Windows Quick Launch tool bar, you can take back that time. The Quick Launch bar speeds you up by bringing your key applications and files within one click's reach of your desktop.

If your Quick Launch bar isn't already loaded, right-click in any blank spot on the task bar (the bar at the bottom of your screen). From the pop-up menu, select "Toolbars" and then "Quick Launch."

The Quick Launch bar will appear as a group of icons on your task bar. You can add any item on your hard drive, including folders, files, applications, even Web addresses.

To add folders, files, or applications you see on your desktop, just click, drag, and drop them onto the bar. If you want to add an application that's not on your desktop, find the item in your start menu, right-click it, select "Send To" and then "Desktop (Create Shortcut)." That adds a shortcut to your desktop. Drag the shortcut icon down to the Quick Launch bar and drop it in. After you add an item to the bar, click the icon once to open it.

It sounds so simple, but the Quick Launch bar really saves time. Try it and watch those seconds add up.

--Joe Stoddard is a technology consultant to the building industry. Reach him at