One of the most copied functions from the world of Mac OS X has to be the rather natty-looking dock at the bottom of the screen. For those of you who don’t know what a dock is, it’s the animated shortcut launcher that usually sits on the desktop and allows you cycle over it and through the various programs, files and folders on the system. When you find the one you’re after, you click it and the dock will launch the program. It’s very simple, but it looks fantastic.
Create that cool Mac dock with RocketDock
Animated loveliness aside, having a dock can help improve efficiency and organize your desktop better by removing the unnecessary clutter of shortcut links and icons. The dock will then keep them in a single, neat, place ready for you to launch when needed. It’s the clean interface and easy access that makes this next selection in our list the best dock for productivity and accessibility.
RocketDock, by Punk Labs developers PolyVector and Skunkie, is by far one of the finest docks you’ll ever come across. It may not be as extensive as others, but in spite of its graphical pleasantries and animated actions, it’s one of the quickest and less resource consuming products around.
The many skins for RocketDock make for a more pleasing look
The features of RocketDock are many, as are its customization options. For example, you can minimize active windows to the dock, even if they’re running a video and to retain an active preview of the window’s contents while it’s placed in the dock and when you move it along the dock. Multiple monitors are supported, with the dock being capable of launching programs to one monitor or the other depending on the settings you provide. Icons can be zoomed into and set to auto hide or pop up on a mouse over. It’s portable and RocketDock’s skin options are compatible with other dock programs, such as MobyDock, ObjectDock, RK Launcher and Y’z Dock.
It’s the use friendliness of RocketDock that endears it so much. The configuration menus are easy to understand and use, each giving the user a decent enough explanation of what it does and how it will affect the dock once applied. The installation is smooth, no nasty hidden extras were involved and within a minute of two you’ll be dragging and dropping those rogue icons onto RocketDock like you’ve been using it all your life.
RocketDock may not have the financial backing that Stardock’s products have, but it looks and feels just as polished. There’s a huge community of individuals behind it who have tweaked, added and customized RocketDock with new themes, so even if the initial 20 so skins aren’t enough, you can soon hunt around and find something to suit your tastes. For a free program, RocketDock is great at uncluttering your desktop and keeping it free from the rubbish that usually accumulates. It may not be quite as good at creating a productive environment as the others in this list, but if used in conjunction with one or all of the other products, then RocketDock comes into its own. To get hold of a copy of RocketDock, nip on over to goo.gl/RwFQr and download the latest version for Windows XP and upwards.
Dexpot can extend your virtual desktops to the tune of 20, which is quite a lot
Linux users have had it pretty good for a number of years, in terms of desktop organization and efficiency. They have at their disposal the built-in ability virtual desktops, so they can have their web browsing in one virtual desktop, coding in another, games in another, office or word processing in another, the list goes on.
Windows users don’t have this capability, (not built-in anyway), and it’s a real shame, because virtual desktops is a fantastic way of creating a more efficient workspace and desktop environment. Thankfully, though, Windows users have a number of third-party programs to help them achieve the same goals as their Linux counterparts, one of the best around being Dexpot.
Dexpot, now on version 1.6, is an extraordinarily powerful and flexible virtual desktop application. You can set up to 20 virtual desktops, with a different wallpaper on each desktop, along with different start-up programs that will launch automatically when that particular desktop is selected. You can include animations and even a rotating desktop cube, which can be activated via a customized selection of hotkeys. There’s support for multiple monitors, with each monitor having a different resolution if necessary, and you can opt to include or exclude any monitor from desktop switching, plus you can assign entry and exit sounds to each desktop as you flip through them.
Windows users finally have the Compiz cube!
The list of options and configurations goes on and on, but at the same time it doesn’t blind you with obscure names or countless sub-options. In fact, it’s really well laid out, and the Settings menu, opened from a right-click on the Dexpot icon in the Start bar, reads well enough to be understood by most computer users.
Dexpot is free for private use, which is where most of us will be using it, but if you want to use it in a commercial environment, then you’ll have to pay $33, but you get a discount if you purchase larger package licenses.
Overall, Dexpot is a handy desktop organizational program. It’s easy to become too engrossed in its inner workings, but once you’ve it set up to help you be more productive, then there’s no denying its usefulness. Pay a visit to goo.gl/NThT4 and click on the ‘Download’ section to get hold of the latest version.