Thursday, August 9, 2007

Essential Freeware: Rocketdock

I discovered this a few months ago, and found it a nice little addition. I use a lot of software, and going to the Start Menu and clicking gets to be awkward, especially when the icon is buried in "All Programs."

There are various built-in ways to access. The quick launch toolbar is nice, but starts eating into space on your taskbar. Pinning to the start menu works well, but I never like to use two clicks when I can do things with one.

That's when I discovered Rocketdock. The software is based on the look and feel of the dock on a Macintosh, their attempt to come up with a substitute for the Windows Taskbar without giving in, admitting it's better, and putting one into their OS. The Mac Dock is a definite improvement, but still isn't as useful as a taskbar (notably because it lists programs that aren't running mixed in with those that are).

But as a program launcher, it's a pretty good design. Rocketdock is a version of the dock for the PC. It can be pinned to the top of the screen (so it's far away from the taskbar) and can be set to autohide. You then put programs onto the dock and use it as a location to start and run them. Nice and slick, especially for programs you don't use daily and don't want on the taskbar or pinned to the Start Menu.

It's very configurable, with icons for such things as "My Documents," "My Computer," and the Control Panel. As a matter of fact, you can use it to link to anything that has an icon.

It's a very nice bit of software.