From poached eggs to moon shots, Free Countdown Timer Portable can handle it

Create multiple personalized timers with this flexible freeware.

Countdown timer, egg timer, kitchen timer; whatever you call it, this simple gadget has applications ranging from "handy" to "essential." Since the beginning of the computer age, software versions of this common object have been keeping scientists, chefs, and busy parents on schedule; like their hardware counterparts, they employ some sort of bell or alarm signaling "time's up!" Comfort Software's Free Countdown Timer Portable is exactly what it claims to be: it's freeware that lets you set countdown timers, as many as you need, for events ranging from your next break to major events like holidays, weddings, and graduations. Better yet, you can use your own music for alarms, and set the volume level separately for each timer. You can use different tunes for timers for closely spaced events. And it's completely portable, so you can take it with you on a USB drive or mobile device and run it on any Windows PC without having to install it.

Free Countdown Timer's user interface features a countdown timer with the date, time, and a message (the default is "Happy new year!") in a colored panel above a blank field for messages, comments, and such. The timer counted down the number of days as well hours, minutes, and seconds to the event. You can create as many timers as you need in Free Countdown Timer, and it's totally easy, too: just click Add (or Edit) for a wizard that sets everything from the timer itself to Snooze and Loop modes and clip volume. The program includes a folder full of basic sounds like bells, flutes, and birds as well as several alarm sounds, but we could browse to our own library and specify an MP3, WAV, or other file types, including executables such as BAT files. If that's not easy enough, you can click Clone to copy existing timers.

Software-based timers have every advantage over hardware-based timers, save one: you can't pick up software and throw it at the wall in a tantrum. (Of course, a software-based timer won't ever fall in the gravy, so maybe it does have all the advantages.)

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