The best desktop weather programs for Windows

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The Internet has simplified how we access weather information. Before that, you had to rely on the newspaper, TV, or phone to get weather information. With the rise of the Internet came dedicated websites that provide you with the information you require in real-time at all time.

Nowadays, apps are available that run on your smartphone or tablet at all times to provide you with weather information.

If you are using a desktop PC, you may like to run a weather program on it as well to look up information whenever the need arises without having to load a website first to do so.

The following top list contains the best weather software programs for the Windows operating system.

As always, all programs had to meet the following set of requirements to be included in this list.

Requirements

  • A free version needs to be available.
  • It needs to be compatible with all recent 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows.
  • The program needs to be a dedicated weather app and not part of a collection of tools, e.g. Rainmeter.

The top list

The top list starts with a quick summary of each program that made it followed by a comparison table that you can use to compare features and recommendations in the end.

Earth Alerts

earth-alerts

The program provides you with information about natural hazards. It monitors locations that you add to it to inform you about earthquakes, tsunamis, fires, landslides or volcanic activities.

Some of the information the program makes available cover the United States only while others are available for other countries and locations in the world.

sWeather

sweather

The portable program sWeather displays current day weather information in its interface. While you can add multiple locations to it, only one is displayed by the application at a time. There is however an option to load an expanded view which displays information about all configured locations in a table that includes a weather forecast as well.

Information include highest, lowest and current temperature, humidity, visibility and barometer information, wind speed as well as sunrise and sundown time.

The Weather Channel Desktop

weather-channel

The official Weather Channel program for Windows requires the Microsoft .NET Framework 4.0, includes adware offers, and displays advertisement in the program interface.

The weather information that it makes available are extensive. You can add one or multiple locations to it and check out current weather conditions as well as hourly and 10-day forecast information.

Included in the software program is an option to stream weather-related videos and to check various maps as well.

Weather Agent

weather agent

The free program displays a five-day weather forecast of a single location on startup. You can change the default location Prague but it is not possible to add multiple locations to the app.

For each day, it displays high and low temperatures, wind speed, precipitation, sunrise and sunset, as well as moon phase.

Weather Exchange Network

weather exchange

The free program is powered by a community of weather enthusiasts. Information that it makes available for locations are extensive as you can see from the screenshot above.

Besides detailed information about temperatures or precipitation, it makes available advisories and alerts, and a five-day weather forecast.

WeatherBug Desktop

weatherbug

The program requires the .Net Framework 4.0, includes adware offers during installation, and uses a ton of memory when running.

While all of that speaks against it, the functionality that it makes available may appeal to some users. You can add as many locations as you want to the program to keep track of weather information for each.

The weather app displays the usual information such as humidity, felt temperature, sunrise or sunset, but also radar images, live cams and photos.

WeatherInfo

weatherinfo

WeatherInfo is not a lightweight application despite its looks. It uses a good chunk of memory which can be attributed mostly to it requiring the Microsoft .Net Framework.

The app itself displays weather information of a single selected location in its interface. It divides the information into a current tab which highlights current conditions and forecast, which displays information of the next five days.

You can configure it to display the current temperature in the system tray.

WeatherMate

weathermate

WeatherMate displays weather information for a location that you select in the program interface on startup. You can modify the information that it displays using the options menu. Here it is for instance possible to enable the detailed forecast or a weather radar image.

Regardless of whether you pick imperial or metric, the forecast is displayed in imperial units only which is problematic for anyone living outside the United States.

Information that it provides including the temperature, cloudiness, wind speed, humidity as well as sunset and sunrise for the current day.

 

YoWindow

yowindow

The desktop version of YoWindow requires Flash for Internet Explorer to work. It displays detailed weather information for a select location on start, with options to add, remove and edit locations easily in the interface.

While it can only display information for a single location at a time, it is providing you with current weather information as well as forecasts for the next three days.

The program ships with a couple of other features such as using it as a screensaver and displaying background images based on the location you have selected.

Comparison

Program Name Sources Units Forecasts Other
Earth Alerts unknown Metric, Imperial no natural hazards monitoring
sWeather Yahoo Weather Metric, Imperial 10-day portable
The Weather Channel Desktop Weather Channel Metric, Imperial 10-day requires .NET Framework 4.0, adware installer, ads, video
Weather Agent unknown Metric, Imperial 5-day
Weather Exchange Network WEN Metric, Imperial 5-day ads
WeatherBug Desktop WeatherBug Metric, Imperial 9-day requires .NET Framework 4.0, adware installer, ads
WeatherMate Weather Channel Metric, Imperial 6-day text to speech engine
WeatherInfo World Weather Online Metric, Imperial 5-day requires .NET Framework
YoWindow Metar, Open Weather Map, yr.no, NSW Metric, Imperial 3-day requires IE Flash, multiple locations, screensaver

Recommendation

If you want a lightweight program that provides you with excellent forecasts and all the information you can possibly want, then sWeather is the first of this list that you should take for a test ride.

While it may be too bare bones for some, it makes up for that with low memory usage and being portable.

If you prefer fancy, I suggest you give YoWindow a try. It supports several weather sources but restricts forecasts to three days in the free version.

Now You: Did we miss a desktop weather program? Feel free to share it with all of us in the comments below.

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The best desktop weather programs for Windows
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The top weather program list for Windows lists the best desktop-based weather applications for the operating system.
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Responses to The best desktop weather programs for Windows

  1. bob August 24, 2014 at 2:02 pm #

    What about weather watcher? It use to be the best?

  2. Pants August 24, 2014 at 2:17 pm #

    sWeather is great - small, unobtrusive, and I have it here, but never use it.

    Instead, i have two custom rainmeter panels
    - one is the current temp, description, barometer, humidity, and sunrise/sunset times - it scrapes weather.yahooapis.com
    - the other is a five day forecast (today and the next four), which list the temp highs/lows and forecast - it scrapes weather.com

    both can be configured to use C or F and any weathercode (location)

    FYI: (from my UserVariables.inc file)
    =WeatherCode Instructions: =
    = GO HERE: http://www.edg3.co.uk/snippets/weather-location-codes/ =
    = OR go to http://weather.yahoo.com/ and search for your city =
    = When you have found it, mouse over the RSS feed to see the url =
    = Example: http://weather.yahooapis.com/forecastrss?p=FRXX0076&u=f =
    = The code you want will be the FRXX0076 part =
    = The above example was for Paris, France =

    examples (enter into a web browser)
    http://weather.yahooapis.com/forecastrss?p=FRXX0076&u=c (use =f for Farenheit)
    http://xml.weather.com/weather/local/FRXX0076?cc=*&unit=m&dayf=6 (Celcius)
    http://xml.weather.com/weather/local/FRXX0076?cc=*&unit=i&dayf=6 (Farenheit)

    • Martin Brinkmann August 24, 2014 at 3:05 pm #

      If you use Rainmeter already, then this is without doubt the best option. Thanks!

    • Ray August 24, 2014 at 5:03 pm #

      Rainmeter user here as well! :)

    • theMike August 24, 2014 at 9:51 pm #

      also rainmeter just for the weather app

  3. Maelish August 24, 2014 at 2:31 pm #

    I am an avid follower of the Weather Underground here in the USA. Did you not see any apps using their site & data?

  4. Davin Peterson August 24, 2014 at 2:53 pm #

    Many TV station use the WeatherBug Network currently owned by Earth Networks (formally AWS). It has weather stations installed at local schools and businesses that we can tap into. For example, in the DC Metro Area, we have 650+ local weather stations. Other software rely just on the official reporting stations.

  5. Oxa August 24, 2014 at 3:39 pm #

    WeatherBug is notorious for its pop-up adware. Someone installed it on a computer I was using and its popups drove me crazy.

  6. John August 24, 2014 at 3:47 pm #

    Earth Alerts appears to be using Weather Underground as its data source. There's a link to their site when the app is open. Been using this weather app for several years now and quite pleased with it. Light on resources and continually updated with improvements.

  7. George P. Burdell August 24, 2014 at 6:10 pm #

    I follow the weather on the following web sites, among others. Some sites are updated every five minutes, others every few hours.

    While some of these are USA-centric, most have a world view, or can be zoomed to any area, like Europe. If you are not a USA taxpayer, maybe you can send a thank-you note of appreciation to your nearby US Embassy, or any Coca-Cola vendor.

    http://www.ssec.wisc.edu/data/comp/latest_cmoll.gif For the big picture

    http://www.intellicast.com/Global/Default.aspx Hundreds of maps - hours of exploring

    http://www.ndbc.noaa.gov/ World-wide remote reporting from automatic ocean buoys

    http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/ Storms at sea

    http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/map/ Earthquakes (zoom out for world view)

    http://hint.fm/wind/ USA Wind Map (very artistic, can be zoomed in but not out)

    http://www.cocorahs.org/ USA Rain Map (volunteer reporting network)

    http://radar.weather.gov/Conus/ USA Radar Mosaic (animated)

    http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/ USA Forest Fires

    http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/Home.aspx USA Drought Severity

  8. Dwight Stegall August 25, 2014 at 1:48 am #

    You'd be smart to stay away from weather widgets. They hog your system resources.

    I got around that by writing this page. The weather maps might not load if you live outside the USA.

    http://dwightstegall.com/qcweather.shtml

    If you have Firefox set to keep pages from reloading themselves you'll have to disable that. The page auto reloads every 3 minutes.

    You can download it and convert it to your own area if you want.

  9. Anton Derbenev August 25, 2014 at 6:33 am #

    If one uses a calendar, in-calendar weather is best option IMO.

    Google has integrated one, and its URL can be added to Lightning.

    It uses Yahoo weather IIRC.

    Also Wunderground allows ical export. And probably some others.

  10. Hawk August 25, 2014 at 3:53 pm #

    I use the sWeather years.

  11. Herman Sherman August 25, 2014 at 5:44 pm #

    Weatherunderground's classic display version [http://classic.wunderground.com/] has served me so well for years that I'm disappointed Weatherunderground itself is not on Martin's list. In fact, I like it so much I don't feel a need to check out anything on the list.

    • Ustavio August 26, 2014 at 3:06 pm #

      Weather Underground has been my go to website for years. Its use of PWS (personal weather station) data can give reliable rapid update information from different spots all over town. Their mobile app has much improved as well. Most other sites give weather data that is less frequently updated and temperatures can be off by 10-15 degrees. I am even toying with the notion of setting up my own PWS.

  12. Ken Mason August 26, 2014 at 12:33 am #

    Try the Yahoo! Weather widget, it's not only pretty, it gives an easy-to-read, condensed 5-day display. It's available at (amongst other sites) at:
    http://www.filehorse.com/download-yahoo-widgets/

  13. Sean August 26, 2014 at 12:58 pm #

    Here's one that I use... HTC Home Apis...

    http://www.htchome.org/en/features/

  14. Guest August 26, 2014 at 10:40 pm #

    My requirements:
    1. Must not be obnoxious.

    Oops, all those in the screenshots above fall short. The only way I know so far to have a small, out of the way desktop weather notification is to use Rainmeter.

    Also unrelated: "you are posting comments too quickly, slow down!"
    -wtf? I only commented once today so far. Add a captcha and reduce the post cooldown.

  15. silat August 28, 2014 at 2:25 am #

    A bit off topic here.
    A great earth wind animation http://earth.nullschool.net/
    Click on the word "earth" in the bottom left corner to bring up options.

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