When I get a new computer, one of the many customizations I make is to turn on the Quick Launch toolbar. When it's enabled, it sits to the right of the Start menu and has shortcuts to various programs. If you don't see it, you can turn it on by right clicking an empty area of the Taskbar and choosing Toolbars. From the pop-out menu that appears, select Quick Launch from the list.
Unfortunately, by default, Windows puts a lot of stuff you may not want on the Quick Launch toolbar. Plus, if you add or remove software, you may want to change the shortcuts. I ran into this problem the other day when I switched my email program. I couldn't remember how you add and remove icons, so the shortcut to my old email program just sat there in an annoying way until I went and researched what to do about it.
Fortunately, the process is really easy. To remove any shortcut you don't want, just click and drag it off to the Recycle Bin. A little message pops up asking if you are sure you want to delete it (as opposed to uninstalling the program). Click Delete Shortcut.
To add an item, just click and drag a shortcut from your desktop down to the toolbar. A little black bar appears to indicate where on the toolbar the shortcut will be placed. When you release the mouse button, the shortcut is added to the toolbar.
Note that you also can change the size of the toolbar. I find it annoying to have to click the little double right arrows to see all my icons, so I made my Quick Launch toolbar longer. To the right of the little double arrows is a gray bar. Click and drag that bar to the right and magically, your shortcut icons will appear as you increase the size of the toolbar.