If Microsoft decided to switch the standard taskbar with an integrated dock-panel like the one on Mac OS, they would be immediately get accused in plagiarism. That is why we do not see any stylish dock-panels in Microsoft’s operating systems. Instead of experimenting, they decided to make standard instruments work good enough so that no one will need third-party software.
Well, this method works, to some extent, but some users are not happy with the limits, and they start looking for other solutions to extend the standard functionality of Windows.
There are a few popular software products that add a dock-panel in Windows. Today we are going to talk about one of the best – it is called Winstep Nexus or just Nexus. With this app, you can have an animated, fully customizable dock-panel with stylish design and exclusive effects and sounds. By default, it looks almost like a carbon copy of the Mac OS dock-panel. However, thanks to the flexible settings, users can transform it into something new – change its appearance and even the way things are organized in it.
The Nexus dock-panel allows you to add program shortcuts, most frequently used folders and files (docs, videos, images, etc.), system functions, and original widgets that come in one package with this software.
You can download Nexus from the official website. There are options available for you: free and paid. The last, of course, has more options such as creating sub-panels – those are individual dock-panels within the main one; with this feature, you can create a multi-layered structure to keep everything neatly organized.
We think that for most of you the free version will be more than enough. It has all the main features to satisfy an average user. After the standard installation procedure, you will see a dock-panel with multiple shortcuts and widgets at the top of the screen. You can add more programs from your desktop screen or additional folders and files to the dock-panel by simple drag-and-dropping. To delete an item from the panel – a shortcut, folder, file, or widget – just right-click it and press delete in the context menu.
A few words about the context menu. It contains a number of options including the settings menu for the particular object and general options for adding new items. A shortcut for an app/file/folder would be easier to add by simply moving it with your mouse. By the way, Nexus also lets you add shortcuts for system functions (those are available in the section with the most used instruments). You can add shortcuts for activating various system functions with the special command from the context menu (after right-clicking anywhere on the dock-panel).
There is also a dropdown list of internal system commands, and you can select some commands to add to your dock-panel: multimedia options, empty the recycle bin, open the Start menu, open the Control Panel, Windows help, screen properties, and much more.
We can say that Nexus can be a benchmark for software flexibility. Almost everything in this program can be altered and customized:
- The things that appear on the dock-panel – shortcuts, active apps, and system tray icons.
- The position of the dock-panel – place it anywhere, even on your second screen.
- The list of automatic actions – launching, activation, auto-hide.
- The size of icons, fonts for shortcuts, the background of the panel.
- Effects that activate when you are browsing the panel, when you launch programs from it, etc.
- Design and sound effects.
What else can we say about Winstep Nexus? It is not a necessary tool; however, it can improve your Windows experience. The program is very compact, mostly works on its own, and can help you to launch everything from basic programs to system functions very quickly. You will be surprised to hear that Nexus can launch apps faster than the regular Windows taskbar or desktop shortcuts.