RocketDock – A Cool Application Launcher For Free

If your computer Start menu is as cluttered as mine, you are probably tired of looking for the apps that you use most frequently. The quick start menu can help a little but it can quickly get cluttered too.

Recently, I said that’s it and started looking for an application launcher and came across RocketDock. There were a few others mentioned by my friends in the blog world but I decided to give this a try. You’ll quickly see why I was sold in a few days of using it. Actually, I have been using it for over a month now but just sat down to write about it.

RocketDock LogoRocketDock is a free application launcher available for Windows 2000/XP/Vista but the 64 bit versions of XP & Vista are not supported.

First, lets look at what RocketDock has to offer:

  • Drag and Drop your frequently used apps/links/shortcuts to the dock
  • Supports alpha-blended png and ico icons that give that cool glassy look
  • Dock auto-hides and popup on mouse over.
  • Fully customizable and completely portable
  • System resource friendly
  • Minimize windows to the dock
  • Running application indicators
  • In Vista, you get real time Window previews
  • Multi-monitor supportΒ  if you have dual monitors
  • Positioning and layering options
  • Unicode compliant and supports many languages
  • Support for add-ons created by users. Check out the huge list of add-ons available
  • Also skinnable – supports skins created for MobyDock, ObjectDock, RK Launcher, and Y’z Dock


My impressions

I love the fact that I could drag and drop my frequently used apps and use the separators to categorize my apps. I also use it with auto hide so I don’t lose any screen real estate and just mouse over to get the dock to show up. It took me a couple of days to get my apps in the dock and categorize them. But, once I had done that I was starting to use more of my favorite utilities that were almost lost in the Start Menu.

Support for docklet means, other users can totally expand it’s usability by writing docklets and making it available for others to use. Some of the docklets I like: Stacks Docklet, ExMenu, Session Docklets, etc.

Download RocketDock

I use Humanised Enso Launcher (my Enso review at Techie Buzz) in conjunction with it and almost never have to navigate through my Start Menu mess. Enso Launcher lets me get to my apps, links, folders quickly without ever touching my mouse/touch pad when I am on a laptop. Launchy is also a great alternative for those who prefer the keyboard way of getting to apps.

These utilities are aimed at making the desktop experience pleasant. Your time at the computer should be used at doing something productive or even for fun but not spend minutes trying to find the application you want or a folder you need.

Do you still use the Start Menu and do you feel that it is cumbersome too?

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19 Responses to “RocketDock – A Cool Application Launcher For Free”

  1. Memo July 31, 2008 at 10:18 am #

    I tried RocketDock a while back but couldn’t get it to load properly, so I went with sTabLauncher instead. Works fine and dandy tho not as flashy as RD. I’m gonna have to give it another whirl.


    Memos last blog post..Finally! Facebook lets me in.

  2. Madhur Kapoor July 31, 2008 at 11:46 am #

    I have been using it for some time now. I find it much better than Object Dock. It has got a good option of minimizing windows to it too.

    Madhur Kapoors last blog post..Change Windows Save/Open dialogs with PlacesBar Editor

  3. K July 31, 2008 at 11:52 am #

    Memo, I have tried sTabLauncher as well in the past. I just checked out the screenshots and it looks much better than before. I’ll try that on my other computer.

    Madhur, I think you might have mentioned this to me earlier or I might have read it in your blog. I like the minimizing option too. In Vista, it can show a minimized running video in the dock. That is cool! πŸ™‚

  4. olly@Buy Guitars July 31, 2008 at 11:54 am #

    Sounds worth a shot to me, my start menu already spans four columns and my desktop is a mess with icons. This makes even regularly used programs somtimes hard to locate.

    This sounds like an ideal resolution for the apps I use most.

  5. Amir July 31, 2008 at 2:59 pm #

    Thanx, i’m downloaded rocketdock after reading this post, and i’m now using it and it’s very useful πŸ™‚

    Amirs last blog post..No Description!

  6. Kyle Judkins July 31, 2008 at 6:10 pm #

    I have used RocketDock for a while, and I have always thought it was great. However, I recently switched over to Launchy. I think it comes down to preference, though.

    Kyle Judkinss last blog post..Instantly Play Your Favorite Pandora or Songs with Favtape

  7. John Lee July 31, 2008 at 9:49 pm #

    I tried RocketDock but got fed up with it randomly losing applications, staying on top of everything despite being set not to and its general unreliability. Having tried over several months to get it behave on two different machines I can say it is history. And do you know what ? I don’t miss it at all.
    I am not a fan of useless visual effects anyway which is why Compix is not allowed to work on my Ubuntu machine. I cannot see the point in useless effects that achieve nothing. RocketDock was interesting when it was installed but my patience wore out on it.
    My scores. As an idea 10/10. Reliability 1/10. Overall usefulness 1/10. Would I recommend it 0/10.

  8. K August 1, 2008 at 9:16 am #

    olly, if your start menu is as bad as you say, you will definitely benefit from any of the application launchers out there.

    Amir, glad you like it! πŸ™‚

    Kyle, right on. Like I mentioned I use Enso Launcher (similar to Launchy but different) in conjunction with RocketDock. They are both light weight and greatly helps with my freedom from the Start Menu! By the way, I am installing Launchy on my Linux machine today.

    John.. it does act up a bit from time to time. I have seen apps disappear when I thought I had clicked on it! Useless visual effects.. hmmm I have to sheepishly agree that I like them. It gives a nice life into things that I stare at almost 10-12 hours day! But, only as long as they are not sucking up the resources. As Kyle mentioned, I guess it comes down to preference. πŸ™‚

  9. Mark Sierra at August 1, 2008 at 4:11 pm #

    This sounds pretty slick, K. Thanks for posting about it! I’ve never really given it much thought about using something like this, but in retrospect I think I can find this to be a solution to a problem I didn’t know I had.

    Mark Sierra at MeAndMyDrum.coms last blog post..To All You Affiliate Strippers Out There

  10. Andrew@Fredericksburg Lawyer August 2, 2008 at 1:07 am #

    This looks like an incredible utility. I love trying out things like this, but I typically end up uninstalling them after a little while. Maybe RocketDock will be a keeper.

    Andrews last blog post..GPS Defense Fails in Traffic Court

  11. Ramana@Sample Resume August 2, 2008 at 11:39 am #

    Thank you for this information. I too have been thinking of doing something about the clutter and this is bound to be of great help. shall down load asap.

  12. Syahid A. August 3, 2008 at 3:18 am #

    I’ve used this one too. It has many config options so I think most of the end users will love to have this one installed.

    Syahid A.s last blog post..Weekend Gamer: Logitech’s Jelly Jumper

  13. bleuken@Busby Challenge August 3, 2008 at 7:46 am #

    I’ve downloaded it and i find it cool! It seems that I have seen this application launcher in one of a Linux distro, i’m not sure but I really have seen it. Thanks my XP desktop looks more nice right now.

    bleukens last blog post..Kabonfootprint SEO Contest 2008 V2.0

  14. Michael Aulia August 5, 2008 at 7:37 am #

    I used this a long time ago (years ago) when it was still on its early stage πŸ˜€

    Glad to see that it’s still around. Might want to try it again

    Michael Aulias last blog post..Google is peeping Australia

  15. kouji@haiku poems examples August 28, 2008 at 4:02 am #

    i used to use objectdock from stardock to do something similar. i gave up on that though when my 256 mb ram laptop started to chug along really slowly. i noticed that you pointed out that rocketdock doesn’t use much in the way of system resources. i’m considering giving that a go, since the aesthetic looks alright. but maybe i’ll put off a bit longer, at least until i can add a bit more ram.

    koujis last blog post..haiku: grandfather #2

  16. PCLicious Video Tutorials October 2, 2008 at 1:54 am #

    RocketDock dos have its quirks like when dragging an aitem to it to use as an icon, but the workaround is to just right-click RocketDock and select add-item.

    RocketDock is a great tool & can make life more productive on the computer as well as make it look pretty πŸ™‚

    BTW, Here is a great video tutorial on how to install, setup, beautify & organize RocketDock: RocketDock, Increase Productivity And Coolness Factor To Your Desktop

    PCLicious Video Tutorialss last blog post..How To Find Available Hard Drive Space In 3 Easy Steps Using Folder Size

  17. fiona@TV Episodes February 1, 2009 at 11:36 am #

    wow this is a nice app. really ads up style on my Desktop, giving me a feel of a new OS like system. cool!

    fionas last blog post..Watch One Second Superbowl 43 Ad / Commercial

  18. KE Kiss August 16, 2009 at 4:11 pm #

    using the portable version of rocketdock on Vista 64 bit, but have to start it manually, other than that, all is well


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