Windows 10 added and is still adding a variety of features to be more user-friendly. However, anyone who’s used macOS notices one glaring omission – an app dock. As with most things Windows is missing, there are third-party tools to fix it, including Windows 10 app docks, which give your desktop that extra bit of slickness.
Note: Most of the “vanilla” Windows dock apps haven’t been updated in a long time, and the best modern options require you to use an excellent desktop customization tool called Rainmeter. It means you’ll need to do a bit more work to get your dock, but it’s totally worth it! To get you started, we have a Rainmeter tutorial for you here.
If you don’t want to go through the trouble, then we also have a few non-Rainmeter docks for you too.
1. Silmeria (Rainmeter)
One of the more popular docks available through Rainmeter, Silmeria has that bold, sharp-angled feel of a Windows Start menu tile. In other words, it feels perfectly appropriate for Windows.
You can customize Silmeria in various ways, such as by having thin white bars in the areas where you want docks, so you hover your mouse over the bars for the dock to appear. When you hover over a dock app, the colors invert, giving a nice clear indicator of what you’ve highlighted.
2. Momento (Rainmeter)
Once you get to grips with Rainmeter, the possibilities about the kind of docks, icons and other desktop elements you can use expand immeasurably. Momento is just one of hundreds of examples of beautiful docks that you can use once you have the Rainmeter app.
Its flat, elegant interface displays all the information you need nice and clearly, and it’s tight enough that you can squeeze plenty of icons into it. The black-and-white look gives it a cleanliness that you sometimes lose with all the multicolored icons representing the different software on your PC.
3. Material Taskbar (Rainmeter)
Another creation that should motivate you to get Rainmeter for your Windows customization needs.
Loosely inspired by the Android design style, Material Taskbar is all about base color-coding and flat clear information. Just like a proper dock, it can contain not only your favorite software, but also extra functions like the recycle bin and even a power button.
There’s quite a bit of flexibility with it too. You can mess around with the colors, get rid of the “board” that the bar sits on, so you only see the icons, or even go for a fully monochrome style if that’s what you’re into.
4. Winstep Nexus
It’s hard to beat the power of Winstep’s Nexus docking system. First of all, it’s one of the most current that’s available while also offering a completely free version. Many others work with Windows 10 but haven’t been officially updated for Windows 10. The free version provides a single dock, which may be all you want or need. It also works much like your taskbar by displaying currently running applications.
However, the premium version is just $17.95 and works extremely well for multi-tasking or power users. You get multiple, tabbed, and sub-docks along with numerous organization and customization options. Overall, both versions work well, as Windows 10 app docks to give you more of a Mac feel.
5. Circle Dock
Circle Dock doesn’t exactly look like a normal Mac dock, but then again, you’re using Windows, so why should it look the same? As the name implies, Circle Dock is a circular dock. It hasn’t been updated officially for a while. In fact, the main site lists 2008 as the last version, but SourceForge has a 2016 version which works better with 64-bit systems. All versions are free.
You can easily hide the dock when not using it. Add unlimited items using a sub-level organization system. Simply drag and drop icons onto it. I did have to create shortcuts on my desktop and then drag those onto the dock for some items to work correctly. You can use your arrow keys to easily navigate between items.
ObjectDock is the only option on this list without a free version. Instead, you get a 30-day free trial. However, it’s the closest competitor to Nexus and offers a variety of customization options. You can even create separate docklets to add to your main dock for better organization.
One thing that really sets it apart is the ability to hide your taskbar, effectively replacing your taskbar with ObjectDock. Plus, any running program/apps appear in the dock. If you’re searching for a dock to replace the Windows taskbar, the minimal $4.99 is definitely worth it. While the website states it’s compatible with Windows 7/Vista/8, it works well on Windows 10 with no problems. It’s a less-expensive alternative to Nexus if you’re searching for a premium feature set.
The lack of a free version and nothing stating compatibility with Windows 10 are the only reasons this wasn’t my number one.
If you are switching to an app dock because the Start menu search is not working, we have a solution for you. Also, you can make use of these awesome screensavers for Windows to further spice up your desktop.
Image credit: Chris Pirillo