If you right click some unused area of the taskbar, there will be a toolbar menu option for the menu that pops up. Click the "Quick Launch" option and an area where you can add shortcuts to programs will appear.
What I find works pretty well, is doubling the size of my taskbar, and then putting the quick launch stuff above the task manager buttons for windows and programs I have open. It gives me ready access to all my frequently used programs, so no need for the start menu or hunting around on the desktop. Speeds things up in addition to being simpler.
I have Windows XP on my computer. I have on my desktop a shortcut icon to my internet provider (dial-up). How can I put this icon on my taskbar? I tried dragging it to the taskbar but it did not work. Thank you very much