Many would arguably say nothing beats a Mac when it comes to aesthetics of the GUI. Windows is a great operating system, but OS X is an eye-candy far more pleasing. Personally, I love the dock that comes with Macs. It’s not bias or anything, but I feel it looks much cooler than the Windows taskbar, and the functionality is brilliant, too. So if you are a Windows user like me, Stardock brings an OS X like dock right to your Windows desktop with their product ObjectDock.
Having a dock replace the native Windows taskbar has quite a few distinct advantages. For one, you get a quick access to everything – program shortcuts, folders and directories, favorites, libraries et al – from a unified interface. Then, since they icons are larger, they make more sense even in a casual glance. Finally, you get more ease of access, especially in comparison to the Taskbar’s multiple-icon thumbnails through the dock.
Available as either a free or paid version (with additional features, of course), this software adds an animated dock to the Windows desktop which contains all your taskbar applications as well as any open ones. You can also customize the dock by adding icons to it, repositioning it, changing size, style and color, animation effect and accessibility options.
The icons in the dock are well defined and play nicely with effects as the mouse moves over them. All the program’s settings are controlled through a simple and easy to understand interface. You can also add smaller docklets on your dock for accommodating more icons and better organization. Other parameters that you can configure include how the app will behave if the shortcut for a program is triggered that is already running, the mouse-hover behavior, what item to point to when a shortcut gets added to the dock, choosing to show thumbnails for images in the dock and so forth.
Optionally, the Windows taskbar can also be hidden, and the dock can become a complete replacement. If an application is maximized, the dock is set to auto-hide to prevent unnecessary intrusion.
The paid version of the software brings more features to the table, including Aero-Peek, tabbed docks, multiple docks at the same time, hotspot activation, and so on.
ObjectDock is a nice implementation of a useful and usable dock. Fortunately, it isn’t a memory hog either, with RAM usage staying under 10MB. We tested the program on Windows 7 32-bit OS.