Keep track of time with PicoTimer, the tiniest timer ever [Windows]

There are some apps that are giant, ugly processor hogs. They take up huge amounts of disc space, and are all around pains to use. PicoTimer is… different. It’s 132KB, and takes up less than 1500 square pixels. It can time things in hours, minutes, and seconds, and is overall extremely simple.

PicoTimer is entirely portable. It’s a single EXE (though preferences are saved in a separate INI file), and when you open it, you’re presented with the tiny black window shown above. Just click on it and type in a time to get going. It supports inputs in words (1 hour), abbreviations (1h 30m), and various forms of spacing (1 30 20, 1:30,20, etc). It does not support, however, using numbers as words (one hour, thirteen seconds), and when using words, it is a little prone to mess up (1 second gave me 1 minute). After the timer, it’ll play a beeping sound.

Even with the slight word input issues, PicoTimer is still great. It supports enough other types of input that you’ll probably never even notice that issue. It’s a great program for anyone who wants to have a tiny, simple timer available at a moment’s notice, and is entirely, 100% free.

Price: Free!

Version discovered: unknown

Supported OS: Windows

Download size: 132KB

VirusTotal malware scan results: 0/36

Portability: No installation required!

PicoTimer homepage

[Thanks naveed!]

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  • Eric

    Again thanks to everybody. Multi Timer even allowed me to import my all time favorite alarm sound, the foghorn from snaptimer.
    If you are interested, bitsdujour is giving away GTD Timer 2012 Lite which normally sells for $20. The giveaway has not started yet but should in the coming days. It is a pretty nice timer but it installs and has no option for looping a sound.

  • Jean

    I’m using Timeleft (free version) and i’m very happy:

  • Eric

    Yes! Yes! Yes! Multi Timer by Johannes Wallroth is almost exactly what I was looking for. It will definitely become my default timer. It even includes things I didn’t ask for but really wanted. My only quibble is that I had to deal with Softonic’s download runaround, but I was later able to find it on Softpedia which is much better. I had actually spotted this only a week ago but didn’t download it because of its poor ratings by Softpedia users. It shows you that those ratings are sometimes meaningless. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, I Guess. Thank you very much for pointing me to this terrific timer. I doubt if I would have ever tried it if you had not pointed it out.

    @Bruce Fraser:
    SwitchOff looks like it might be very useful. It is not technically a countdown timer but it can do things like force all programs to close and shutdown windows plus so much more. I have been looking for a program like this, so it looks like I have added two programs to my library today. Thanks.

    Picotimer is nice, too. It is just not the style I wanted, but it is very unique and easy to use. I think it is definitely worth trying out. It will probably be perfect for some of you.

    Yeah I know all about DonationCoder. They have a lot of great software over there especially Mouser who makes an occasional appearance here on Dottech. To this date his program, LaunchBar Commander, is the only freeware I have ever donated to. It is a near perfect dock\program launcher\start menu replacement.
    I have never tried their custom software services but thanks for reminding me.

    To everybody,
    I also found eggtimer plus on Softonic today. I think it meets all of my requirements above except that it is not portable and costs $5.
    Also FYI since I was installing several programs today with no intention of keeping most of them, I enabled ToolWiz TimeFreeze which is a great program that virtualizes your registry and other parts of your system. You can choose to keep the changes or restart your computer and all the changes will disappear. It is great for trying out new software, but it does not prevent all changes. For example if you save a file to your desktop, it will still be there even if you don’t keep the changes. This can be useful, but don’t think your computer is invulnerable to malicious programs when in this mode.
    Again, thanks to you all. This has been very productive.

  • @GF:

    I’m the author of PicoTimer and RightHere. I’ll confess it’s been a while since I’ve used RightHere. The Windows Picture Viewer is the single worst image viewer ever. Try IrfanView. There are other good ones as well. Email me – I’ll try to help – nahmed at timebend dot com.

  • @Eric: Check #7. Multi-timer does everything you ask except showing time when minimized in taskbar.

  • Try this free timer:

    I’ve been using it for years.

  • GF

    [Semi-OT] The author of PicoTimer offers also other programs but he doesn’t provide support.
    I am trying RightHere. It reopens several types of files but it doesn’t reopen images. I mean, when it reopens an image the viewer of Windows starts, the viewer shows its initial pale blu window with a little black writing, but then the viewer disappears (outside RightHere I can open and reopen images instead, as usual).
    Can you say what may be wrong?

  • Bruce Fraser

    I use SwitchOff by AiryTec (

    While the initial configuration might take a minute or so (telling it what sound to play when time is up; choosing what action to take when time is up), from then on it’s simple: just tell it how long, and push “Countdown.”

  • Locutus
  • kelltic

    I can’t tell if this is going to show up as a reply, but I am trying to answer Eric:

    Go to Someone there might be able to point you in the right direction. If not, you can ask them to make you one. They are very accommodating. Really.

  • kelltic

    I love tiny little one job apps. This looks almost exactly like my desktop clock that doesn’t do anything but show the time and date and stay out of my way.

    I suppose on Win8 it would take up the whole desktop. :D

  • Eric

    Does anybody have another suggestion for a countdown timer? I have downloaded countless ones through the years and have never found one I was completely happy with.There is always at least one thing wrong with each of them.Here’s what I am looking for.
    1.Easy to set up, this one is great at that
    2.Easy to get out of the way, minimize
    3.Easily visible when its alarm sounds, comes to front on top of all other windows
    and preferably will stay on top until I turn it off
    The first three are must haves the rest are highly wanted
    4.Easy to shut off
    5.When minimized show the countdown in the taskbar
    6.Alarm will sound or loop until I turn it off, it would be nice if there is a choice of sounds
    I have yet to find a single timer that even does the first three. Examples of ones I tried and don’t like, although there are several combinations of these alarms that would fit the bill, no single one does it on its own.
    onlystopwatch 3.23, cooktimer, snaptimer, tentimer, vector clocks, timer by Brooks Younce
    Any help would be greatly appreciated. I would even settle for a timer within a larger application if it was the only choice. Thank you.