CianoDock: beautiful circular dock to launch apps, files, and folders


CianoDock is a free, simple, circular dock launcher with a considerable dose of stylishness added for good measure.  Interested? Of course you are!

This launcher lives in the background until you bring it into focus on the desktop via a user-defined keyboard shortcut, at which point you could click on any one of the icons on the circle to reveal file, folder, or program shortcuts embedded within.

This program keeps things simple by maintaining only a single level of icons. First create folder-like “groups” on the outer rim; next, drag your files, executable, or folders to insert them within. The program will auto-grab the icons for all items (except folders).

CianoDock Screenshot

Here are some PROS and a wish list:


  • Simple: and straightforward; you can get the hang of it straight away.
  • Customizable: ctrl+drag PNGs to the middle of the launcher to change the background (hint: you need a circular transparency around the image). Additional background variations can be downloaded here. For icons, drag a PNG to any of the items on the circle to change those (note, however, that you might need to uncheck “hide” and “hide when you launch an application” in the settings to be able to do so). You may need to do it twice though before it “takes”. To change the order of displayed icon, use CTRL+ALT and click on the icons. (See video here for a good tutorial).
  • Portable version: available.

Wish list:  I am not averse to keeping things simple, but a few things can make this program better

  • Bugfix: currently, when minimizing or closing windows that overlap with the launcher, some visual artifacts very frequently stay behind where the launcher resides (at least on my Windows 7 64 bit). Refreshing the desktop or selecting the area with the mouse will cause these to disappear, but they are rather annoying.
  • Reconciling shortcuts: what happens if you drag a shortcut from the desktop to Ciano Dock? It links to the shortcut itself, and the connection breaks down when the shortcut is deleted or moved. It would be great if it automatically reconciled shortcuts and linked to the target itself (and grabbed the icon from the target).
  • Default folder icon: I wish that Ciano Dock would let me use a standard folder icon by default to be used whenever I add a folder to it. The current circular icon does not really work with folders.

The verdict: we’re seeing an ever increasing number of circular dock launchers lately, it seems. E.g. Circle Dock, Magic Formation, Sliderdock, and Krento. It may not be the most powerful or customizable of the bunch, but just might be the nicest looking and most easily accessible.

This software feels like it needs a few things tweaked or improved here or there, but it is still being developed and as it is does exactly what is sets out to do. Check it out for yourself.

Version Tested:

Compatibility: WinAll.

Go to the program home page to download the latest version (approx 5.2 megs).