The first, is a well known application. It’s called ObjectDock and it has been around for a while now. Developed by Stardock. The company who have more recently brought us Fences and the Dell Dock. They specialise in desktop enhancement software and this is their centrepiece. The second, is a lightweight ‘stacks’ application called Standalone Stacks. Now, I know there has been much hype just lately about Alastria’s 7Stacks. But in my opinion, this program is infinitely superior. Trust me, it’s a combination fit for a king!
Pictured below, is my personal ObjectDock. Customised with icons downloaded from IconsPedia and a Mac OS X theme, I find it attractive as well as functional. For a start, it’s highly customisable, in a couple of clicks it becomes possible to alter the icon sizes, magnification, quality and picture. Also, you can add all the usual features such as separators which you can see as the darkened grey spots on the image above.
Upon attempting customisation, you are confronted with the window shown to the left. There are as many options as your heart will desire. Simply tabbing through the different categories will confirm that.
It is a fairly lightweight application that should run without a hitch on most PC’s these days and is compatible with Windows XP through to 7. On my PC it only uses 1,500Kb of memory when idle which incidentally is the least resource hungry of any process currently running.
The second application, Standalone Stack, is another lightweight application which is used to create OS X style stacks and can be ‘integrated’ into object dock by placing the icon upon the dock. Personally, I find the result visually attractive as well as handy and functional.
Having used both 7Stacks and Standalone Stack, I can certainly say that I have come to prefer the latter. It may not make use of Windows Aero in the same glorious manner that 7Stacks does, but it has many redeeming features. Firstly, as I mentioned earlier, it is exceptionally lightweight, again using barely more than 2 or 3Mb of memory.
The best feature for me though, is the ability for customisation. As well as having the option for both grid or stack view, you can change anything from the background colour or transparency to the icon size. Even the font used for the icon labels can be changed.
Another of my favourite features is actually quite astonishing. If you have a stack filled with video files, it gives you the option to allow a preview to run when you hover your mouse over the thumbnail. It’s the little touches that make it superior to 7Stacks.
My Transformed Windows Desktop
Pictured below, is my own example – You may think at first, wow that’s too big! But fear not, that is my personal preference due to the clarity of the icons. The background size is altered to be the best possible fit for the icon size you decide. You can also alter the distance from the icon that the stack appears which I found very useful when applying it to the dock.
This is the main customisation interface. There is a list of options on the left-hand menu which allow you to alter the default settings or each stack in turn.
All in all, the 2 applications transformed my desktop and now it’s easier and more enjoyable than ever to browse through files and programs.
I would definitely recommend giving these a try-out. Especially once combined, the results are stunning and you won’t regret it.