Docks – The 6 Best Friends of your Windows Taskbar

Ads by Google

This is a follow-up to my previous posts 3 Steps to an Organized Desktop and The Best Resources to Pimp Your Wallpaper. This post focuses on the pleasure of Mac-like dock programs.

The one thing that has always fascinated me about Macs is their sense for style and simplicity. Although I really don’t want to switch to a Mac OS, I have always adored the program dock. Needless to say I was delighted to see dock tools for Windows finally emerge.

Meanwhile there are a bunch of them and naturally they all differ slightly. Generally, docks are designed to replace or enhance your Windows taskbar and of course most of them look very cool. Here’s a list of the six most popular docks in no particular order.

Object Dock

I’m not entirely sure whether this was the first dock program that came out, but it’s the first I saw and tried. Anyway, to me it’s the mother of all docks. I love how much control you have over its appearance – transparency, color, icon size, animations and so on. One of its coolest features is the support for Docklets, through which you can add extra functionality, for example a clock, to-do lists or the current weather to your dock.

Ads by Google

Features:

  • minimize windows to dock
  • display running tasks
  • drag-n-drop enabled
  • appearance, animations, position and content fully customizable
  • auto-hide and pop-up on mouse over
  • supports Docklets
  • supports skins

Orbit Dock

This one is completely different, very fascinating but still has a long way to go. Orbit Dock doesn’t sit on your desktop and takes up space, it’s hidden and appears as an orb around the cursor when activated (per default) via pressing the middle mouse button.

Fortunately for all Firefox users you can change the activation key to something else. Using the mouse wheel you can spin through the items on the orb, which I find extremely cool. Unfortunately, unless I missed something, adding new items is a pain. Everything has to be added separately, drag-n-drop isn’t working. But once configured, it’s a handy tool which saves you all of that time you previously spent chasing the mouse across the screen to hit the start button or open a hidden dock on the other side of the desktop. Please note that this program requires Microsoft .NET Framework!

orbitdock.png
Features:
  • launch programs, files, folders or URLs
  • have the controls at your finger-, or rather cursor-tips
  • opens on middle mouse click
  • auto-hides when curser is retreated
  • content fully customizable

MobyDock

This is one of two docks from the same company. Oxygen also has Y’Z dock under its wings. Let me lose two sentences about Y’Z dock first. It’s a classic dock that appears completely blank when first launched. It’s easy, yet thoroughly customizable, supports docklets, auto-hides & -shows, and is very low on system resources.

Back to MobyDock which is not so basic. As is visible in the screen shot below, this tool shows folder and program shortcuts (left) as well as running applications and open folders (right), just like the Windows taskbar. Best of all, MobyDock comes with a screen shot utility, can check your POP mail accounts and display pop-up menus for your preferred media player, allowing you to control it right from the dock. Unfortunately, it’s not possible to re-order the items on the right, just like in the Windows taskbar. ;)

mobydock.png

Features:

  • appearance, animations and content fully customizable
  • show taskbar items (running applications)
  • drag-n-drop enabled
  • auto-hide and pop-up on mouse over
  • check POP mail accounts
  • control preferred media player
  • instant screen shots

RK Launcher

I discovered RK Launcher when I installed FlyakiteOSX. Shankar has covered this transformation pack in his post of 5 Packs to Transform Windows to other OS. It actually looks a lot like the previously mentioned Y’Z Dock, however it’s rich in features.

Features:

  • minimize windows to dock
  • drag-n-drop enabled
  • multi monitor support
  • auto-hide and pop-up on mouse over
  • fully customizable
  • supports Docklets
  • install themes
  • import Y’Z Dock backgrounds

RocketDock

This program has been mentioned a few times on MUO and has truly deserved all the attention. It’s one of 5 Tools to Make Windows XP Look Like Vista.

Features:

  • minimize windows to dock
  • real-time window previews under Vista
  • running application indicators
  • drag-n-drop enabled
  • multi monitor support
  • auto-hide and pop-up on mouse over
  • fully customizable
  • portable
  • ObjectDock Docklet support
  • compatible with MobyDock, ObjectDock, RK Launcher, and Y’z Dock skins

JetToolBar

This is the least stylish program among all mentioned and it’s somewhat different. JetToolBar doesn’t come with fancy animations or textures and it’s not meant to replace your taskbar. Instead it’s loaded with a huge set of default categories and programs. To make this tool efficient the categories require some attention. You can remove or rename them, add new ones, change icons, and add or remove program shortcuts as you please. Also per default the program docks over your taskbar and takes up the whole width of the screen. The screen shot shows JetToolBar when it’s positioned in the center, i.e. in window mode.

jettoolbar.png

Features:
  • fully customizable categories
  • add any program shortcut
  • auto-hide and pop-up on mouse over
  • dock to either side of your screen
  • run in window mode (smaller)
  • free of resource-eating animations

You see, there is a dock for everyone. Personally, I wasn’t fully satisfied with any of the free programs and decided to purchase ObjectDock Plus with the beautiful tabbed dock. But I’m just greedy and gotta have all the extras. :)

I’m still collecting your screen shots and comments on how you customized your desktop. Thanks to those who have already participated!

Join live MakeUseOf Groups on Grouvi App Join live Groups on Grouvi
Windows Hacks & Customization
Windows Hacks & Customization
97 Members
Windows_10
Windows_10
87 Members
Best Windows Software
Best Windows Software
59 Members
Windows Troubleshooting
Windows Troubleshooting
59 Members
Windows Firewalls & Antivirus
Windows Firewalls & Antivirus
19 Members
Ads by Google
Comments (26)
  • Aerialsky

    Review “XWindows Dock” please…

    http://xwdock.aqua-soft.org/

    The most beauty dock I’ve ever seen… Mac OS X Ddock like.

    • Marty

      The only trouble I have with XWindows Dock is that it is only configured to look like belongs at the bottom of your screen… I like mine at the top of the screen….

  • Joshua

    I prefer rocketdeck i really think its awesome its so simple also object dock is pretty good :p

  • Ramis

    No match of objectdock plus. It loads system tray which is very cool feature. It replaced my taskbar completely. I love it.

  • Justin

    tusi sarey lun te wajo..lun laini dio

  • romit

    you must check out x windows dock it has got some features not even supported by mac’s dock actually i know just one that’s gallery view in stack docklet it lets you watch videos or listen songs right from the dock(for those who don’t know wat stack docklet is it is an addition to dock which allows you to open folder directly from dock without actually opening the folder)

Load 10 more
Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.
Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.