I can only remember a few hotkeys and I very often cannot remember the name of the program I want to use, when I want to use it, so all these "click, type 2 or 3 letters, and hit enter" programs are not for me.
But I can visualize where the link to the program is placed, and how it looks, so I have almost every program represented in True Launch Bar, Rocket Dock, PS Tray Factory, PS Hot Folders (and apps), and in the Maxthon toolbar. In Firefox I use Launchy. And when my PC is ztable I also have a lot of favourite apps linked in Explorer > QT TabBar.
It really is a very fast way of launching. I NEVER go to Windows' standard Start > All Programs, but I do have TidyStartMeny and VistaStartMenu installed - but as I said, I never go there.