There is always competition between Apple’s MacOS and Microsoft’s Windows. For many years, MacOS has kept a reputation for the most user-friendly interface, with Windows being considered the more ergonomic system. Modern Windows has come a long way since those early days and is indeed now on par with what Apple has to offer.
However, after all these years Microsoft still doesn’t offer a Mac-style dock in their operating system. But there are third-party options you can try if you really want a dock on your PC.
RocketDock has been around for a very long time. In fact, the developers who made it haven’t released a new version since 2008! However, somehow people still love this petite app launcher.
RocketDock still looks pretty good even though it’s been over a decade without a facelift. However, you can give it different skins, even using skins from other launchers like RK Launcher and Objectdock.
Adding and removing shortcuts is easy. It does exactly what you would expect a dock to do, without any fuss and bulk. It’s also free under a Creative Commons license, so everyone should try it at least once.
Is Launchy really considered a dock? Perhaps not quite, but this clever little app launcher is just too good to drop off a list like this. Launchy presents itself as a small window with a text input box. It indexes your Start Menu as well as documents and folders. You can set up your own shortcuts and launch what you need with a single keystroke.
Launchy is free and open source, so anyone can try it out without any obligation. There are also skins available to customize its look and feel.
Although the software is free, the developer still gives the opportunity for people to donate cash, which would be a nice gesture.
While most docks are inspired by what MacOS has done with the idea, the XWindows Dock is a clone of Apple software.
Like RocketDock, this dock hasn’t really been updated in a while and doesn’t seem to officially support Windows 10. With that said, the dock worked pretty well on our Windows 10 installation with a small problem. The Dock appears behind the taskbar.
This can be easily remedied by setting the taskbar to automatically hide itself. This has the added benefit of actually giving your computer a MacOS look, but some people may be annoyed by this problem.
Since this is a clone of the Mac dock, its methods and functions are quite similar. However, it’s been 8 years since the last stable release, so a future update may render it inactive. For now, though, it’s the closest you’ll get to the classic MacOS dock.
Winstep Nexus is one of the few dock apps that officially supports Windows 10. Free and paid versions are available. That’s the free version we’re talking about here.
This dock is like the basic concept of MacOS, but it gives it a real Windows flavor. It has reflective icons, supports animated icons, and of course skins. It really is a very nice dock with all manner of special effects. It’s also the only dock app that supports Windows 10’s Universal Windows Platform standard.
We also like the support for widgets in the dock and the easy placement of the dock itself. Multi-monitor support is excellent, with high DPI rendering and placement of the base on any monitor. The Ultimate version offers quite a bit of extra functionality, but for most users, the free personal version will be more than enough for regular use.
The Circle Dock is the most innovative dock here, with its radial design that looks completely different from anything else we’ve seen. This is not a permanent landing either. Instead, you press the hotkey, and then the document appears wherever your mouse pointer is.
It was an innovative and very useful idea, but the software was never developed to the point where it could match the functionality of RocketDock. However, if you like experimental UI ideas, Circle Dock is well worth a try.
A good time
One of the best things about Windows is that if you don’t like something about it, you can change it with the right knowledge or tools. While Windows 10 seems to have put a throttling into full UI replacements like the venerable Rainmeter, you can still make your own at home in smaller ways.