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windows vista dockIf you change your wallpaper The Best Resources to Pimp Your Wallpaper The Best Resources to Pimp Your Wallpaper Read More once in a while, chances are, you probably crave a little pizzazz for your desktop icons Give Your Windows Desktop a Fresh Look with MyColors Give Your Windows Desktop a Fresh Look with MyColors Read More . We have featured several ways to make your desktop 5 Desktop Enhancements you Should Definitely Try 5 Desktop Enhancements you Should Definitely Try Read More look a lot more lively 12 Great Ways of Spicing Up Your Windows Desktop 12 Great Ways of Spicing Up Your Windows Desktop Read More , including a few desktop-reviving dock programs Docks - The 6 Best Friends of your Windows Taskbar Docks - The 6 Best Friends of your Windows Taskbar Read More that are incredibly popular Top 10 Most Downloaded Desktop Enhancement Applications [Movers & Shakers] Top 10 Most Downloaded Desktop Enhancement Applications [Movers & Shakers] Read More .

This article contains a simple recipe to make your own dock, using a good ol’ toolbar.


If you’re familiar with the Quick Launch toolbar, this is basically docking it to the edge of the screen, and adding a few cascading folders to it to increase usability 5 Little Desktop Apps You Should Check If You Multitask 5 Little Desktop Apps You Should Check If You Multitask Read More . Windows XP users can also dock toolbars to the edge or create fenced areas for their icons if they don’t dock the toolbars to any edge of the screen.

Creating Your Dock/Toolbar

  • Press the Windows key and E to bring up Windows Explorer restored down so you can still see part of the desktop.
  • Paste this address in the location bar, making sure to replace YOURUSERNAME:
C:\Users\YOURUSERNAME\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Internet Explorer

windows vista dock

  • Drag the Quick Launch folder to the edge of your screen (in my case, I’m dragging and dropping Quick Launch to the top).

vista dock

vista dock

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  • Resize the toolbar by dragging the edge of the toolbar (click here to see how). Right-click again to de-select Show Text and Show Title.

vista dock

  • That’s your basic dock with your favorite programs pinned for easy access. Any time you wish to add a program icon (in the Start Menu, for example), simply right-click on the program and select Add to Quick Launch.

dock for vista

Organizing Your Dock

Icons are sorted alphabetically but you’re free to reorder them. If you want them to stay that way, you can create folders within Quick Launch that group your programs (as they might be back in alphabetical order after a system restart).

  • Right-click on your Quick Launch dock/toolbar and select Open folder.

dock for vista

  • Now create folders inside it and group the icons in the appropriate folders.

dock for vista

  • Then select the toolbars to appear docked by right-clicking on the Quick Launch toolbar > Toolbars > New Toolbar. Remember to view the large icons and hide the text. This is how my resized dock looked like after selecting folder toolbars as opposed to the Quick Launch toolbar.

Adding Folders

If you have a few folders you frequently access via Windows Explorer, try adding the folder as a toolbar in the same Quick Launch dock we created (by right-clicking on the toolbar, selecting Toolbars > New Toolbar). In fact, selecting your user (i.e. C:\Users\yourname) or Desktop folder (for quick access to your custom keyboard shortcuts How To Quickly See Available Keyboard Shortcuts On Windows How To Quickly See Available Keyboard Shortcuts On Windows Read More ) would enable the greatest access to commonly used directories.

In the next screenshot, I chose to display my user folder. To see the contents of the folder in a cascading fashion, just press and hold Control before you click on the folder.

After all this hard work, here’s what your product could look like:

windows vista dock

What do you think of this dock? Would you implement it or would you rather use a dock program? Feel free to share more of your desktop-beautifying tips!

  1. Lise Galipeau
    September 6, 2010 at 10:23 pm

    Thanks Jessica for the reply. I don't remember if my computer had a hard shutdown, so I just restarted it now the proper way and the dock is there for now...don't know if it will stay there, so we'll see.

    Thanks again, I love this dock

  2. Lise Galipeau
    September 6, 2010 at 8:23 pm

    Thanks Jessica for the reply. I don't remember if my computer had a hard shutdown, so I just restarted it now the proper way and the dock is there for now...don't know if it will stay there, so we'll see.

    Thanks again, I love this dock

  3. Lise Galipeau
    September 6, 2010 at 1:26 am

    Thanks Jessica, I love this, everything I need is always there...but for the last 2 days, all of a sudden, the dock disappears, no matter how much I move my mouse to the top of the screen, it doesn't show, unless I go on my desktop and move the folder up again.

    Do you have any idea why?

    Thanks again

  4. Lise Galipeau
    September 5, 2010 at 11:26 pm

    Thanks Jessica, I love this, everything I need is always there...but for the last 2 days, all of a sudden, the dock disappears, no matter how much I move my mouse to the top of the screen, it doesn't show, unless I go on my desktop and move the folder up again.

    Do you have any idea why?

    Thanks again

    • Jessica Cam W.
      September 6, 2010 at 2:53 pm

      Sometimes when you experience a hard shutdown (computer shut down but not through the proper Start menu > Shut Down procedure), the dock may disappear. If you build the dock and then restart the system the regular way, then the dock will most likely stay there. Let me know if that helps or not.

  5. Anonymous
    August 15, 2010 at 4:51 am

    Whoa Cool! I never knew you could do this with a folder!

  6. Ben
    August 6, 2010 at 4:55 pm

    This is a great tutorial, but wouldn't it be easier to get dock software like Object Dock or Rocket Dock?

    • Jessica Cam W.
      August 7, 2010 at 5:06 am

      That's an option for some people. Taking time to build a dock this way will probably take the same time to find the website, download and customize RocketDock. This way, you won't have to mess up your registry.

    • Ben
      August 7, 2010 at 3:15 pm

      That is true, but Objectdock(and RocketDock) have many more options:)

  7. Cobalt
    August 6, 2010 at 4:41 pm

    Good grief! People STILL have Vista? Hasn't it gone the way of Windows ME (Millennium Edition)? Well, some people are still stuck on AOL, so...

    • Ben
      August 6, 2010 at 4:58 pm

      I use Windows Vista and as long as you have 2GB of memory (or more), it is almost as good as windows 7 and way better than XP.

  8. Jessica Cam W.
    August 6, 2010 at 6:30 am

    Yes, but I feel like the Win7 taskbar is very pretty and more dock-like on its own. You can still access Quick Launch (by right-clicking on the taskbar, selecting Toolbars > New Toolbar > choose the %appdata%\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch folder.)

  9. Alex
    August 6, 2010 at 5:51 am

    Hey Jessica,

    I love the idea of taking something so boring and making it amazing. Great that I didn't need to install spammy software. This is a great creative way to make a dock. Thanks for this post!

  10. Alex
    August 6, 2010 at 3:51 am

    Hey Jessica,

    I love the idea of taking something so boring and making it amazing. Great that I didn't need to install spammy software. This is a great creative way to make a dock. Thanks for this post!

    • Jessica Cam W.
      August 6, 2010 at 4:39 am

      You're welcome! I've always thought the Quick Launch toolbar was highly underestimated/underused, and never got why people didn't take advantage of it! I hope more people will now!

  11. Infoomatic
    August 6, 2010 at 3:51 am

    I think it is a great alternative way to display dock icons on Windows (just like Mac has), however there are several dock tools for Windows with just simply install and use. Thanks Jess..

    • Jessica Cam W.
      August 6, 2010 at 4:35 am

      I guess pinning 'cascadable' folders on the toolbar/dock resembles the Mac dock experience, so this works out for people who want get third-party software to simulate that, but don't really have to now.

  12. PJM
    August 6, 2010 at 3:43 am

    It's a real pity that Microsoft decide to remove this capability in windows 7...

    • Jessica Cam W.
      August 6, 2010 at 4:30 am

      Yes, but I feel like the Win7 taskbar is very pretty and more dock-like on its own. You can still access Quick Launch (by right-clicking on the taskbar, selecting Toolbars > New Toolbar > choose the %appdata%MicrosoftInternet ExplorerQuick Launch folder.)

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