De-clutter your desktop by creating shortcuts and organize them into folders with Astounding Dock
Some users like to customize their desktop screen. Having a cool wallpaper is nice, but have too many icons can really ruin the aesthetics. If you want the shortcuts, but also want to spruce up things a bit, you can try using applications like Astounding Dock, or the previously reviewed Fences.
Run the program and a panel appears in the right edge of the screen. That's a vertical sidebar not a dock. I hear you, right-click on Astounding Dock and select "Settings".
The "Edge of screen" drop-down menu has four options to set the position of the panel to the top, bottom, left or right edge of the screen. Select the "top or bottom" if you want a horizontal dock-like experience, it looks much better too since each folder has its own menu.
The panel auto-hides itself after you left-click outside its area, and reappears when you mouse over the edge of the screen. Astounding Dock has a single tab called General, and it starts blank. Let's customize it. Right-click on the panel and select "Add Applications".
This opens a new window that lists all your installed applications. Pick the application that you want to add, and click on "Add Selected", Astounding Dock will ask you to confirm the action, do so and your shortcut will be placed in the general tab. You can add multiple shortcuts at the same time.
The program does not list Steam games in the list, but it has a button that's labeled "Add Steam application". Click on it to view a list of your installed games and you can add them to the dock. You may add programs which are not detected by Astounding Dock, by using the "Add Manually" button.
Want an even faster way? Drag and drop your shortcuts to the dock. This is especially useful for creating shortcuts for portable software. A single-click opens the selected program from the dock.
To create a new tab (folder), right-click on the dock and select "Add new tab". This gives you a separate space to place shortcuts in. Right-click on an item in the dock and select "Remove Dock Entry" to delete it, or the "Edit Dock Entry" to customize the shortcut.
You can change the name, path, add custom arguments for each shortcut. Astounding Dock allows you to choose a different icon for shortcuts. This window also lets you move shortcuts from one tab to another.
The right-click menu of the dock has an option called View applications; this window lists all programs that you have added to Astounding Dock, and also has a useful search option that can be used to find a shortcut quickly.
Configure the default tab, make Astounding Dock run when Windows starts, toggle auto hide, define the auto hide and pop-up delay from the program's settings. It also lets you switch to different color themes.
Astounding Dock is a 32-bit application that works on Windows XP and above, it requires .NET 4 to run. The program is open source. It is not portable.
The program is slightly intrusive, most noticeably when you use it from the right edge of the screen. You may be trying to use the scrollbar in your browser but triggering the dock instead. On the bright side, it does not interfere when games or other programs are running in full screen mode.
Astounding Dock is a nice way to declutter your desktop and the tabs help keep things organized.