As a Windows user I’ve always admired the polish, look, and functionality of the Mac OS, in particular its application docking bar. That clean, smoothly-animated, and unobtrusive bar always seemed like the perfect solution for making applications readily available. So this got me wondering if there was a similar utility available for Windows and after some digging around on the web I discovered a nearly identical solution for Windows called ObjectDock.
ObjectDock is a slick application docking bar which looks, feels, and operates very similarly to the application docking bar in the Mac OS.
Installation and configuration is very simple. Once installed, simply right click on the bar to add applications or to reposition the bar. The bar can be setup to show when the mouse is placed at the bottom of the screen and hidden once the mouse moves away. The bar can also be positioned on different screens for those who use a multi-monitor display, and can even hide the start bar for you to make your PC feel even more Mac like.
The “large” icons embedded into applications are displayed when possible, but icons can easily be changed along with a host of application-specific settings. Each application can also be configured to open as minimized, maximized, or at its last known position/location.
The animations of the bar itself are silky smooth and function at the perfect speed out of the box. In fact just seeing the application icons scale up and down smoothly when passing the mouse over the icons is fun in and of itself. Of course they an also be tuned along with a whole slew of other settings to provide the optimal experience.
There are a few downsides I found however. One was that the animations become slightly choppy when overlaid on rapidly changing screens such as video. Secondly the command line shell does not seem to recognize any of my environment variables when launched from ObjectDock. Third, the object bar becomes a visual distraction when doing a mouse drag operation (e.g. when highlighting multiple pages of text in word). Finally, clicking an icon for an application already running will simply set focus to that application. To launch another instance of a running app you need to right click on the application’s icon and tell ObjectDock to run that application. However these are small issues for such a great application.
One of the best aspects is that the application is free, at least for personal use, but even at $19.99 the licensed version is still worth every penny.
So if you’ve always admired the Mac OS user interface or would like to make your work PC feel more like your Mac, be sure to check out ObjectDock at: http://www.stardock.com/products/objectdock/.