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. Now you can get the power of a Mac dock, while still using Windows.
1. Winstep Nexus (Best Overall for Windows 10)
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.
2. Circle Dock (Most Unique)
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.
Despite being incredibly old, RocketDock is still holding strong as one of the best Windows 10 app docks. While future Windows 10 updates may cause issues, for now, it still works well. Even the developer lists it as dated. The main issue I had personally was that it wouldn’t sit on top of the taskbar but sat instead in front of or behind it. However, it works great as an app dock at the top or sides of your desktop.
It’s completely free and works smoothly. Adding items is easy, and the animations work well. Since it’s free, it’s not quite as powerful as what you’d get from Nexus, but it is more user-friendly than Circle Dock.
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.
Appetizer is an open-source Windows 10 app dock. While it may seem simple, don’t underestimate how useful this dock is. It’ll even automatically import Start menu and taskbar shortcuts during installation if you want.
It offers several skins and plugins to customize. While it hasn’t been updated since Windows Vista, it stills works flawlessly on Windows 10. Plus, it comes in a portable version if you want to take it with you to use on other computers. It’s free to use and is also incredibly easy to add and remove shortcuts to anything you want.
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