Review: Organize information with Ultra Recall Portable

Add contacts, projects, and other data to keep it in one place with this portable information management tool.

Ultra Recall Portable bills itself as an information management tool for Windows, but it doesn't sync with all the places the information may already exist. Ultimately, you'll probably need to spend time manually entering or cutting and pasting information, which seems counter-intuitive for Ultra Recall Portable's purpose. And it duplicates some of the functionality found in common programs like Outlook.

Ultra Recall Portable doesn't require installation and you can take it with you on a USB drive. You just need to unzip its folder and click the executable to run it. The compact interface sports a toolbar over a window divided into three panes. On the left is a tree file that already has categories for Appointments, Tasks, Notes, Contacts, and Projects. It has the look and feel of Outlook (without the e-mail) so most won't have a problem navigating the program. Once you select a category, the pane on the left provides an overview of the category and some user guidance. This is a good thing since we weren't able to access the Help file's Getting Started Guide or its other user information. The lower pane is where you can view entries you've added to the selected categories. There are multiple options to import data, with a wizard to try and guide you through the process, but while the opening window for the wizard promised you could import messages from Outlook and Outlook Express, these exact options weren't found in the step to select what you'd like to import. Instead, it lists the OPML file extension in parentheses next to the XML option, so less-experienced users might be confused right from the start. What's worse, we tried to import our bookmarks from Firefox but we received a message that had only options to cancel or access Help but no information on why the import didn't work. As noted, we were unable to view the Help file contents, so that wasn't of much use, either. We were able to add information, manually, but for those with a ton of contacts, this could be more labor-intensive than the end results merit. The one advantage of Ultra Recall Portable is that you can take it with you, but that was offset by the program's flaws.

Ultra Recall Portable is not a free version of the program. It is a 45-day trial of the Pro edition. It didn't take us nearly that long to discover that, although the concept is good, there are some problems with the program's execution that detracted from its goal of keeping you easily organized across programs.

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