CyberNotes
Time Saving Tuesday

Yesterday Chris mentioned in an article that he started doing screencasts on the Learn Firefox site, and we are pleased to announce that we’re going to start doing some screencasts as well. We believe that screencasts give a better impression of what software has to offer, and also allows us to easily demonstrate how to do things.

Note: Most of the screencasts that we create will probably be too large to put within a post, so they’ll open in a popup window.

Today I actually have a set of screencasts available for you to demonstrate how to setup the free RocketDock software to replace your Windows Taskbar. Last week I briefly mentioned the software, but since then I have been able to play more in depth with the software. In fact I have gone as far as to virtually replace my Windows Taskbar.

—Starters—

RocketDock is freeware and is continually being updated. You can download the latest stable version from the PunkSoftware.com homepage, or there are development versions available that are yet to be released. I am actually using the latest development version because there was a small bug in the final version that hadn’t been fixed. The bug caused the RocketDock to flicker every second, but the development version has fixed that problem along with some other problems people have experienced with the software.

 

—Minimize/Maximize and Application Indicators—

One of the coolest things about RocketDock is that you can maximize and minimize your programs using it. This is essential for anyone looking to replace the Windows Taskbar. The reason why I like this feature is because it places a small thumbnail of your running program in the dock…and if you’re running Windows Vista with Aero enabled you will be able to see live previews!

The application indicators need to be enabled in the Dock Settings before you can use them. Once you turn the indicators on, a small little arrow will appear below the shortcuts in the dock that are currently running.

I do still need the Windows Taskbar around for some things because RocketDock can’t quite cover it all. You’ll see why in this screencast:

 

—Docklets—

Docklets are something that many people probably don’t realize you can use in RocketDock, or they at least don’t know where to find them. They are actually part of of a competing product called ObjectDock, but RocketDock was made to use them.

I calculated there to be more than 10,000 docklets available on the WinCustomize site, and most of them seem to work great with RocketDock. I stumbled across a few that didn’t work as expected such as the .NET Digital Clock that crashed RocketDock every time I tried to use it. If you’re looking for a digital clock, this one is almost flawless.

The Docklets are very simple to install which can be seen in this screencast:

Update: I forgot to mention (as commenters below pointed out) that a blue question mark will show up as a background image to the clock. This is because RocketDock uses a default icon if no icon is provided, and this can be remedied by removing (or moving) their default icon from the following folder:
C:\Program Files\RocketDock\Defaults\DefaultIcons

 

—Overview—

RocketDock amazes me with everything that it can do for a freeware application. It obviously gets its ideas from Apple’s Mac user interface, but being able to bring one of the best Mac features over to Windows is a great thing.

P.S. If you have any tips on how we can make the screencasts even better, please feel free to let us know in the comments below. We’re new at it so any recommendations are very much welcomed!

RocketDock Homepage (Download Mirror for latest stable version)

A special thanks to DivShare for hosting the screencasts!

There Are 17 Comments

  1. I’d love to watch the video…but our company has a policy against web video content……

    Maybe offer a transcript as well (if not too much trouble….? ;)

    I’ve been using RocketDock for a long time and absolutely love it.

    Don’t know if you cover it or not in the tutorial (sorry if I repeat), but using most default application icon’s on the toolbar render some ugly icon action.

    I prefer to grab some high-res icon sets from over on [interfacelift.com]
    where they have tons of free (for personal use) icon packs for Windows. They really allow you to customize your icon picks. There are some other sets as well on other sites, but this is my primary go-to.

    Unpack the icon zip file and copy them over into the same icon subfolder for RocketDock…or just copy the unzipped icon folder as a sub-folder to the Rocketdock icon folder…then add the extra folder(s) to the icon display list in the Rocket Dock control panel on the left hand side using the little ” ” button.

    Now you will be able to have/use/enjoy beautiful icons on your awesome toolbar/dock toy!

    Sweet!

  2. I tried to install the Simple Digital Clock on my RocketDock but it shows up with a big blue question mark. Any ideas what that is?

    By the way, love that you’re going to start using Screencasts.

    • Hi Right click on the blue question mark and a menu will pop up. Choose Icon Settings which will open another window allowing you to change the icon or search for and get more.

  3. I get the same problem with the questionmarks as Bryan.

  4. Oh, shoot! I knew there was something I forgot to put in the screencast! Go to:
    C:\Program Files\RocketDock\Defaults\DefaultIcons

    and delete the file that is in there (or move it to another folder). By default RocketDock adds a background image to each icon if there isn’t an icon associated with it.

    @Claus: In the future I’ll also put together some short “transcripts” together to go along with the screencasts. This one was a little long and would have taken me quite awhile to try and explain in words.

    The icons that you found are definitely nicer than what comes with RocketDock. I’m just not a big fan of what oomes with it as far as icons goes, but I end up using the default program icons for all of my applications because I can quickly recognize them, instead of becoming accustomed to new icons.

    I just thought about something as well…if a picture is worth 1000 words then I wonder what a screencast is worth? :)

  5. Ryan, one question I have: I know that with ObjectDock you can make it just like windows taskbar, meaning that all the windows will not cover it. is this possible with RocketDock?
    thanks

  6. Yep, there is an option in the settings for this.

  7. where is this option?

  8. This is great, really helpful, thanks!

    I do have one question though – I removed the default icon but it still shows up, even after updating it. What can I do to remove the question mark?

  9. Sorry, forget my last comment, all I had to do was quit rocketdock then relaunch it. I’m loving it!

  10. Hi.. I amazed with this rocket dock, the reason why I’ll post is that..
    I can’t put the command prompt in the rocket dock.. Im using version 1.3.4…

    hope you can help me Mr. Ryan..

    tnx..

  11. Hello Ryan,

    Great article and enjoyed the screencasts as I am also an avid RocketDock and UberIcon user.
    What are you using for screencasting/capture?

    Thank You

  12. Anonymous wrote:
    What are you using for screencasting/capture?

    I’m using Camtasia. It’s not free, but is quite amazing.

  13. Can you give instructions on how to completely get rid of the taskbar and provide the rocketdock with all/most of its functions? Document folders will not minimize into the dock for me, and new conversation windows for Windows Live (MSN Messenger) pop up on the taskbar opposed to the dock as well.

  14. Hey . I just installed Rocketdock into my pc, but I am having a slight problem …
    I want it to replace my taskbar, but I cant make Windows Live Messenger to minimize to it … First I had the option “allow me to connect to several accounts simultaneously” from msn plus enabled, and because of that, each time I clicked on the msn icon on the rocketdock, it opened a new window, so I disabled it … But now, each time I click on the icon, it does absolutely nothing :/ Any thoughts about that ? Thanks !!

  15. Oh, and I just found out that it doesnt work with several windows from internet explorer nor safari either…

  16. Seems there is nowhere to get instructions on how to use rocket. Just wanted to add Yahoo Messenger icon to dock, but ended up with 3 blue question marks–cannot get rid of them ! If you have pamphlet describing rocketdocket for dummies like me, well…I’d be happy to get dock back to original without question marks, and forget adding more to nit. Please try to help this retired guy ! thanks, ken dillpickel1812@yahoo.com / ken eby 8311B opal street tampa, fla. 33615

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