Apple Mac Style Dock on a Windows Computer – How To

by Megzuson Design, TechnologyJanuary 8thhas no comments yet!

One of the best features in Windows 7 is its revamped taskbar and its program-pinning. Combining the utility of customization, big and legible icons, and stylish preview windows, it radically changes the Windows interface.

ObjectDock (Credit: Stardock, Inc.)

ObjectDock (Credit: Stardock, Inc.)

 

Until it’s released, Windows XP users will have to get by with third-party docking programs.

One of the most popular Windows dock replacements, ObjectDock, replaces the taskbar with a colorful, animated dock similar to the taskbar in Mac OS X. It displays icons for currently running programs and hosts quick-launch icons for your favorite programs. As you pass the cursor over each icon, ObjectDock magnifies it. An attractive clock rounds out the toolbar. It comes with skins, and users with slow computers can reduce the animation quality to increase speed. You can also customize nearly every aspect of the dock, easily maximizing its hefty resource usage to your best advantage.

Besides being a bit sluggish, it lacks a system tray replacement. You can also upgrade to the Plus edition for $20, which includes system tray support, tabbed docks, support for multiple docks and multiple monitors, and other features.

A RocketDock skin.  (Credit: RocketDock)

A RocketDock skin. (Credit: RocketDock)

 

Another well-liked taskbar replacement, RocketDock soars. The Mac-style program dock and launcher for Windows 2000, XP, and Vista has it all, from a smooth installation to mostly flawless icon transitions, and an unobtrusive footprint. If you’re looking for something similar to ObjectDock that isn’t ObjectDock, RocketDock might be for you.

It can live on any of the four edges of your monitor; you can set it to be always on top of other programs, or on the bottom; it can autohide or be ever-present. Twenty skins, customizable fonts and colors, and icon replacements give you the features you’d expect. A growing online community offers more icons, widgets, and skins, so there are tons of customization options. The main settings menu is not logically placed. Configuring extras happens in one menu, while another menu hosts your main options.


XWindows is a slick approximation of the OS X dock. It sports several improvements that ObjectDock and RocketDock don’t have, such as stackable files that telescope out when you click on them. Of course, you have to manually build the stacks, but it’s useful if you edit the same few files regularly. You can also stack folders and watch their contents telescope out from the bottom of your screen when you click on one.

That leads to a minor problem: XWindows can’t be docked elsewhere on the screen. It must live at the bottom, which I found irritating since I prefer my taskbar and programs to live at the screen’s top. It’s not the biggest problem with the program, though. XWindows crashed on me several times during testing. It looks great, and the icon resizing was smooth, but be prepared for bugginess.

Yz Dock (Credit: M.Yamaguchi)

Yz Dock (Credit: M.Yamaguchi)

MobyDock DX comes loaded with icons, so as soon as you start using it you can get going. It’s a good, solid, basic dock. You can customize icons and programs, use it to launch folders or documents, and place it anywhere on your screen. It can also be configured to notify you of new mail.

The weather indicator didn’t work for me even when configured, and the despite its smoothness, the dock is a bit of a slow responder. It comes with a clock, too, but if you’re addicted to your system tray don’t plan on using MobyDock to wean you from it. It’s a strong supplement, but not a replacement. The lack of skins is annoying because you can only choose from three Windows XP-default color backgrounds–blue, olive, or silver; but at least you can hide the background altogether by making it transparent. Even with these problems, and the fact that MobyDock hasn’t been improved since 2003, it still works well enough for many XP users.



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