Icon of program: Don't Panic

Don't Panic for Windows

By Tundrea Adrian-CostinFreeUser Rating

Key Details of Don't Panic

  • Close (hide or minimize) and open multiple programs with the click of a button.
  • Last updated on February 5, 2015
  • There have been 4 updates
  • Virus scan status:

    Clean (it's extremely likely that this software program is clean)

Enlarged image for Don't Panic

Editors' Review

Download.com staff

Boss keys, aka boss buttons or panic buttons, have probably been around about an hour longer than computers--long enough for the first bored programmer to write the first string of code to clear the screen whenever the boss strolls by. And just think: they had no Web sites, no games, no chatting--none of today's distractions, which demand so much more time and effort. So we were tickled silly to see Don't Panic. It's a free application that can open, close, or hide multiple applications with a single button.

Don't Panic's interface has two modes: a small window with a panic button and File, Tools, and Help menus; and a Panic Mode that minimizes the program to a rectangular, semi-opaque panic button near the system tray. The File menu merely accesses an Exit button, but the Help menu offered not just Help and About files but also links for reporting bugs, requesting features, and other contacts. The Tools menu accesses the Panic Mode as well as a tabbed Options dialog that configures everything from opacity and updates to software actions such as whether to terminate processes (fast but messy) or close them (slower but safer) or to force the hiding of selected software. Don't Panic offers other stealth options, too, including deleting all shortcuts from the Recent Files folder and clearing your IE browsing history. We could also change the default hot key combination, though Don't Panic recommends testing manually entered combos since some might not work.

The true test of a boss button is how well it works, and Don't Panic worked perfectly. Tabs labeled Close (Hide) and Run let us browse to programs to close or run when Don't Panic is activated, including a Blacklist option. We browsed to a program to hide, entered it, and then repeated the process with a program to run. We saved our choices, pressed the panic button, and two things happened almost simultaneously: our open program closed, and our closed program opened. Don't Panic proved to be one of the best apps of its type we've seen.

What's new in version

Version brings bug fixes and new features.

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Full Specifications

February 5, 2015
Latest update
February 5, 2015
Operating System
Windows 2000, Windows 98, Windows ME, Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows Server, Windows XP, Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows 2003
Additional Requirements
Total Downloads
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User Reviews


3 User Votes

Developer's Description

Close (hide or minimize) and open multiple programs with the click of a button.
Don't want to get busted by your boss or your teacher playing Solitaire, chatting or surfing the web? Close (hide or minimize) and open multiple programs with the click of a button. So you won't have to panic anymore...Here are some of the features of Don't Panic: Close, hide or minimize as many programs as you want using the blacklist (by executable filename or keywords present in the window title). Open up to 3 programs (files) at the same time. Open files with a certain software (other then the one selected as default in Windows). Predefined software paths (includes paths for all Windows games). Run Don't Panic at Windows startup, block access to Windows Task Manager and mute master volume. Clear some system folders (Recent Files; Internet Explorer history, typed URLs and cache; Recycle Bin) for extra privacy. Panic Mode (complete with customizable size, position, transparency level and hotkey). WebUpdate (complete with news) and statistic modules. User-friendly UI.