Countdown to egg-stacy

This free timer/stopwatch program isn't your Grandma's egg timer.

Your grandma had a mechanical egg timer that dinged a bell. Your granddad had a stopwatch from his track-and-field days. You can still buy either new, but it's probably quicker and easier and certainly cheaper to download Cook Timer, a free desktop timer for Windows. That's great for the kitchen, you say, where you use your laptop for recipes. But what about out and about? What takes the place of granddad's stopwatch? Cook Timer, that's what. At 239.5 KB, it's smaller than some ringtones, and it has no dependencies so it's completely portable and runs when you click its program file, with no installation needed.

We downloaded and saved Cook Timer's executable to our desktop. We clicked it and then clicked Run on the Open Program dialog, and Cook Timer's compact interface opened. This is about the size of a minimized media player, with prominent numerals for hours, minutes, and seconds; the latter to hundredths. Presets let us quickly select 3, 5, 10, or 15 minutes or a custom entry. Aside from checkboxes titled Automatic restart and Ring forever, there's just Start and Reset buttons to deal with: No options, properties, Help file, or anything resembling a bell or whistle, except of course the beeper that signals time's up. We clicked custom, set the timer for five seconds, and clicked Start. Cook Timer counted down the time and also displayed a green progress bar. When the time elapsed, a beeper gave a few brief chirps to notify us. Selecting Ring forever caused the audible notification to repeat endlessly; in other words, Cook Timer keeps on beeping until you click Reset. Likewise, clicking Automatic restart caused the timed cycle to repeat continuously. We closed Cook Timer and clicked it open again, only this time we deselected the option to display the file-opening dialog each time. The next time we clicked the program's stopwatch-face icon, Cook Timer opened immediately.

Cook Timer is the sort of utterly simple and reliable tool that just about everyone will need once in a while. It's free, compact, and portable; totally easy to use; and versatile enough to be a significant step up from the Old School. It's not your grandma's egg timer!

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