A PC activity monitor to track time spent in all open windows, with time accumulating for each running application


Our rating: 


Pros & Cons:

Automatically records time for all processes, stop and start timers as you switch between windows, three different views, create custom tasks and rules, portable, data saved in CSV format in the same directory as the program.
Only current activity is displayed, need to open the CSV export to view previous activity. No color customization options.

Our Review:

TimeTracker is an interesting alternative that has a lot of merit. It may appeal to many people for the simple and customizable automation aspect alone. It takes a different approach and tracks time spent in all open windows, with time accumulating for each individual running application, based on which window is currently active. It even records system idle and system locked times. You can create your own tasks, just like all the other applications, and though, the behavior is a little quirky, you can start and stop the custom task timers independently of the actual window time tracking.

Rules allow you to create custom tasks and define rules so that for example, you designate all email, calendar and instant messaging window activity as administration, and all putty terminal emulation as Unix support. All time from those windows is then automatically accumulated into those tasks. You can double click the custom administration category to start the timer running, then switch to a putty terminal window, and it will accumulate time to both custom Administration and Unix Support tasks. When you then open a window that is in another custom task, such as email or calendar, the Unix task stops accumulating time, and when you switch back to a putty terminal session, the Administration task also stops accumulating time.

I think this is simply a bug in allowing the user to start a custom task then switch to a window in another custom task, but this could be a useful bug for some people wanting to double book time.

The real beauty of this application’s automation system is that if you define tasks and rules carefully, you can simply switch tasks and never have to do any clock starting and stopping. In addition to the full process list display, there is also a collapsible/expandable tree view where you can drill into the major tasks, e.g. WINWORD.EXE and see a list of all processes related to that process, or drill into the Administration custom task and see what all your admin activity consisted of. The third tab titled Chart shows a nice colored pie graph with a percentage breakdown of all time spent on each task. Each time you exit, the application offers to save its data to CSV format, and appends to the existing data so all historical data can be manipulated in Excel or OpenOffice Calc, but only current data since start is show on the current application display.

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