How to Add a Mac-Style Dock to Windows 10/11 - Windows Basics


Thursday, December 16, 2021

How to Add a Mac-Style Dock to Windows 10/11

Microsoft redesigned the taskbar in Windows 11, with the most noticeable change on the taskbar being focused icons. Those focused icons make the Windows 11 taskbar comparable to the macOS Dock.

However, the improved taskbar is still not the same as the centralized Mac Dock, which does not run on the entire screen. If you want a real Mac-style Dock on Windows, you can add a more genuine Apple Macintosh Dock using Winstep Nexus software.

Add a Mac-style Dock to Windows 10 and 11 with Winstep Nexus

Winstep Nexus is a very cool software package that makes it possible to add a Mac-style Dock to Windows, from Windows XP to Windows 11. The software has both free and paid versions. The free package has all the same animated mouse effects and live icons as the Nexus Ultimate. Here's how you can install the Winstep Nexus freeware:

1. First, open the WinStep Nexus website.

2. Click the blue Download button in the WinStep Nexus section to save the ZIP archive.

3. Select the Nexus ZIP file and click the Extract all button.

4. Click Browse to select a path to the extracted file location for the Nexus.

5. Select the option Show extracted files.

6. Click the Extract button.

7. Then double-click NexusSetup to open the installer.

8. Then select the I accept the agreement option and select an installation directory in the wizard to install the software.

Once installed, Winstep Nexus Dock will automatically appear at the top of your screen as shown in the screenshot directly below. It's a good place to put the dock, but you can change the Nexus Dock's position by right-clicking it and choosing Screen position. Choose a left, right, top, or bottom option on the menu.

9. To add software shortcuts to the Nexus Dock, right-click it and choose Insert New Dock Item > Item. Select the program on the Item type drop-down menu.

Click Find Item to select a program to put in the Dock. You can also select a hotkey option there to assign a shortcut to the program. Click OK to add the software shortcut.

Winstep Nexus Dock has some really flashy effects that make Windows 11  taskbar unmatched. To change those effects, click the Nexus button in the Dock. Then select the Effects tab shown directly below.

That tab includes options for hover, launch, focus, and delete effects. Click an effect there to choose from a variety of alternative effects. You can further configure the selected effects by clicking the Effect settings button.

Click the OK button on the selection window and select Apply to change it.

You can configure the icon size and transparency for the WinStep Nexus Dock on the Appearance tab. Drag the slider on that tab left or right to decrease or increase the icon size.

Press the Dock Transparency button to display a window with transparent bars. You can then drag the sliders to the right to add more transparency.

WinStep Nexus Dock also includes many different themes. To choose an alternative theme, click the Themes tab. Select another theme on that tab and click Apply to save the new settings.

If you want to include minimized windows on the Winstep Nexus Dock, select the Content tab in the Preferences. Click the Show running applications in this dock check box there, which will also select the option Minimize windows to the dock. Select Apply to confirm the new options.

Add a Mac-style Dock to Windows with RocketDock

RocketDock is an alternative to the Winstep Nexus Dock, which is also available for free. This is quite an old program, but RocketDock is still compatible with the latest Windows desktop platform. This is how you can download and install RocketDock in Windows 11.

1. Open the RocketDock page on Softpedia.

2. Click the Download Now option there to save the setup wizard.

3. Open File Explorer's window and select the folder where you downloaded RocketDock.

4. Double-click RocketDock to open its setup wizard.

5. Select a language on the drop-down menu and click the OK button.

6. Press the Next button and select the option I accept the agreement.

7. Select the directory path to install the software at.

8. Click the Next buttons and select Install to finish.

9. Then open RocketDock if it doesn't automatically appear on your desktop after installation.

10. RocketDock is placed at the top of the screen by default. You can change its location just like the WinStep Nexus Dock by right-clicking on RocketDock and choosing Desktop Location. Then select Top, Left, Bottom, Right on the submenu.

11. To add software shortcuts to RocketDock, right-click the toolbar and select Add Items and Files. Select another program or file in the Open window. Press the Open button to add the item. You can always remove shortcuts that you add by right-clicking them and choosing Delete items

Like WinStep Nexus, RocketDock has many different theme styles for you to choose from. To choose a different one, click the Dock Settings button on RocketDock. Click the Styles tab on the left side of the Dock Settings window that opens. There, you can choose alternative styles by clicking the Theme drop-down menu.

12. You can also customize the toolbar icons by selecting the Icons tab. Click the Hover Effect drop-down menu there to choose different zoom effects. Drag the Size bar sliders left and right to make the icons smaller or larger. You can also increase or decrease the icon's transparency by dragging the Opacity bar's slider.

To include minimized application windows on RocketDock, select the General tab. That tab includes the Minimize windows to the Dock setting. Select that option and click OK to Apply.

Make Windows more like Mac with a sleek new Dock

Winstep Nexus and RocketDock are two of the best freeware packages for adding a Mac-style Dock to Windows. Both include a wide range of configuration settings and many beautiful effects that you don't get on the Windows taskbar.

They are great extensions to the taskbar, providing more space for software shortcuts. So check them out if you want to make Windows more like Apple's Mac platform, or you simply need somewhere to stick more keyboard shortcuts.

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