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