Windows only: Like the look of OS X Leopard's Stacks feature—which provides attractive, quick shortcuts to any folder on your desktop—but you're on a Windows PC? Free application StandaloneStack brings Leopard-like stacks to your quick launch toolbar.
Since StandaloneStack only runs when you launch the shortcut (which can be launched from anywhere), it doesn't have to run in the background and doesn't waste any resources unless you're using it. On my computer, the stack only consumed about 5MB when open. The stacks themselves are animated and can display in both fan and grid views (as illustrated in the two screenshots here). Be sure to read the documentation on the home page for details on how to set up stacks for different folders. StandaloneStack is a free download, Windows only. If you prefer dock launchers like RocketDock or ObjectDock, StandaloneStacks is a standalone version of the Stacks Docklet that works in either app.