I was one of those people who used the quick launch bar frequently in Vista. Even through, this feature is not enabled by default in Windows 7, there is a quick work-around.
Right click your taskbar, choose Toolbars -> New toolbar. In the dialog that pops up, paste in %AppData%MicrosoftInternet ExplorerQuick Launch. You can now tweak the bar’s position, enable/disable titles and the size of the icons.