At a Glance
Note: This review addresses v2.0 of the software
Let's face it. A lot more of us would own Macs if they weren't so expensive. But if what you envy most is the rather cool expanding dock/launch bar at the bottom of the OS X screen, then Stardock has got you covered with ObjectDock, a free clone of said OS X dock.
To be honest, I was thinking ObjectDock would be a nice, but superfluous addition to the Windows taskbar. I was wrong. ObjectDock allows you to hide the Windows taskbar, so it truly is a replacement. And you don't even lose the Start menu which is the first icon on ObjectDock. Note: The quickest way I found to create icons on the ObjectDock was to drag them from said Start Menu to the dock. User Account Control must be lowered for this to work in Windows 7.
You may show and hide any number of items on the dock including applications, running windows, and minimized windows. There are also some helpful "docklets" such as a weather app and a battery meter provided by Stardock. ObjectDock is also highly configurable, though I didn't think so at first. Hint: Click on the blue text next to any current setting and a tweaking panel will open at the bottom. You may change the size of the icons, the size of the magnification effect (icons expand as you mouse over them), as well as the size of the magnification bubble (several icons generally zoom at once).
My only real complaint about ObjectDock was that the Start menu was consistently slow to appear in my XP virtual machine. Stardock says the issue is intermittent and is working on a fix. I didn't notice this problem in the Windows 7 VM. I missed the aero effect on the dock (the icons are transparent but not the dock itself) under Windows 7 and there is a distinct lack of help and documentation for the program.
ObjectDock combines some of the best of OS X's and Windows launch features into one interface. I could quite easily become your preferred way to work and is well worth checking out. ObjectDock Plus, which allows multiples taskbars, tabbed bars, and more is available for $20.
--Jon L. Jacobi