Review: Launch apps and more with trimDesk

Launch your programs with this hot key-capable Windows desktop dock.

Software-Wunderlich's trimDesk desktop dock/launcher/toolbar ties together your programs, files, and Windows features in one easy-to-access spot. For trimDesk, that means the upper-left corner of the desktop: You can minimize or dismiss trimDesk's toolbar, but you can't unpin it and drag it somewhere else. If you're OK with that, trimDesk's got some things going for it, such as user-defined hot keys to launch programs and files, turn the Volume up or down, take screenshots, and more. The latest version of trimDesk, v1.3, is now freeware.

The compact toolbar and an extensive system tray menu access all of trimDesk's features and settings, including hot keys, skins, transparency, and separate tabs for the app's five Sets, each of which can trigger a variety of actions with a click or at startup. The Volume Control settings are impressive. We could specify Audio Devices and set separate hot keys for up, down, and (especially handy) Master Mute. We could even set the Volume Step Distance in steps of 100 with the help of a slider and Volume Test buttons. The toolbar's Icons, Gadgets, Taskbar, and Background buttons let us dismiss or recall each feature from the desktop with a click. We clicked "Taskbar," and ours vanished. We could create a nearly bare desktop by selecting everything and pressing the "Clean" button. A touch of a tab uncovered our Sets. A "Help" button accesses a manual and other documentation.

There's no doubt trimDesk is efficient and a good performer. You can open and close the toolbar quickly, and it's not especially obtrusive, open or closed. But you have no choice, and "my-way-or-the-highway" functionality is a roadblock for some users. We get that it's to make trimDesk's location easy to find and remember. But credit users for being able to remember where they deliberately placed their toolbar, too. There's a lot to like here, but the ability to reposition trimDesk's toolbar would make it a top choice in desktop launchers.

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