Hourglass is a customizable timer application for Windows

Sep 25, 2019
Updated • Sep 25, 2019
Windows, Windows software

Windows 10 comes with a decent alarm and clock app which has a timer. But earlier versions of Windows lacked a built-in option. Besides, Windows 10's clock timer is pretty bare bones when you compare it to third-party solutions.

If you need a customizable timer on your desktop, Hourglass may be worth a try. It is a free program that is light on resources and has quite a few options. The interface of Hourglass is minimal, some may think it's perhaps a bit too simple but that's the point. This program was meant to be used as a reminder app and the lack of fancy elements is on purpose.

Tip: check out the previously reviewed timer apps WatchMe or  Chronometask.

Hourglass is a customizable timer application for Windows

To set a timer, open the application, and click on the enter title box. Give it a name and then click on the text that says "5 minutes". You can enter a time from as low as 1 minute to any number of minutes that you want. The default format is "number space minutes", for e.g. 10 minutes. Click on the Start button to initiate the timer and it will beep a few times once the timer runs out. It will continue to count the time elapsed since the timer ran out which is sort of useful. You can pause the timer at anytime.

Hourglass displays the timer in 2 ways: the primary display view is a text format view that is displayed on the screen, the other view is a box which serves as a visual indicator.

As far as other settings and options are concerned, there are a few.

You can have multiple instances of Hourglass running at the same time; just right-click on the interface and select "New Timer" to create a new window. This right-click context menu has quite a few options that you may find useful.

For example, the Loop Timer option restarts the timer automatically when it runs out which may be useful in certain situations. Hourglass will display a pop-up (in case the window was minimized) when the timer runs out. It's handy in case you set a timer a long time ago and forgot about it, or don't have it in view all the time.

Display modes

Hourglass has an "Always on top" option to make the window stick over other program windows. A full-screen setting is available which makes it work like a screensaver. There are a few color themes to choose from for the time bar if you prefer a different scheme. You may also enable the dark theme if you prefer it over the default light theme. Alternatively, for a distraction free experience, you can minimize the timer to the system tray.

Hourglass settings


Hourglass has loud, normal and quiet beeps. It also supports custom sounds that it detects automatically.

Advanced Options

The program can shut down the computer when a timer expires. It can also be configured so that it does not keep the computer awake; handy if you want the system to go to standby.

As far as customization options are concerned, you can modify the timer in several ways. The time units supported by Hourglass are:

  • seconds
  • minutes
  • hours
  • days
  • weeks
  • months
  • years

All you need to do is combine these with a number followed by a space and the unit. For e.g. 6 months, 1 year, 4 weeks, or 1 hour.

The program also supports short forms of the units: s, m, h, d, w, mo and y. But when you use these, there should be no space between the number and the unit, e.g. 6mo, 1y, 4w, 1h, etc.  You can combine units (minutes seconds, hours minutes) too. Want to set a timer for 30 seconds? You can use the decimal form, i.e., .5 minutes.

Only want to use numbers? That works too but the format changes slightly. You will need to add a separator (comma or colon) like 10.30 (for 10 minutes and 30 seconds). It works with other time units too.

am and pm timers

The am and pm units are "until" timers, so if you set the timer to say 3 am. It will countdown until it is three in the morning.

day and date timers

The day unit works a bit differently, e.g. if you set the timer to "Thursday", Hourglass will countdown until it is Thursday. The date timer works similarly, and run till the specified date. Like October 1 or December 26, 2019 and so on. The month unit supports full names (January, February, etc) and short names like Jan, Feb, etc.  The backslash \ separator can be used for setting month timers like 10\1 or 12\26.

I'd advise reading the official help page, there are far too many options to list here.

Hourglass requires .NET framework 4.0 to run. The program is open source.

Closing Words

I really liked the Eyes Alarm Firefox extension, and wanted something universal. Hourglass works quite nicely and provides enough customization options and supports multiple timers that run independently.

Now You: do you use timers at all?

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  1. Anonymous said on March 9, 2023 at 1:52 pm

    Does it come back after every “moment” update?

  2. Baloney said on March 9, 2023 at 2:23 pm

    Yeah right.. Like this is going to stop defender from running =) This is comedy gold right here.

  3. Anonymous said on March 9, 2023 at 3:25 pm

    no ‘about the author’ paragraph?

  4. Gregory said on March 9, 2023 at 4:19 pm

    For permanent disable defender is if removed complete from system no just change permission folder.

    Just this is joke.

  5. moi said on March 9, 2023 at 5:57 pm

    simpler, load Autoruns (SysInternals)
    – filter “Defender”
    – untag all entries
    – reboot
    nothing has changed since my 1st modification years ago

  6. John G. said on March 9, 2023 at 6:32 pm

    I wouldn’t disable Defender imho, it has too many hidden roots inside Windows itself. One time I tried to uninstall it using brute force scripts and then the Onedrive feature stopped working definitely. A reinstallation was needed and since those times I prefer to maintain Defender untouched. It’s a better method to install another antivirus and it will disable Defender in a safer and easier mode (e.g., Avast is the best in this way, and also Panda Cloud Free is good too).

  7. boris said on March 10, 2023 at 12:19 am

    You can not stop defender from running in background or remove it without some penalty. All you can do is to limit telemetry.

    1. TelV said on March 10, 2023 at 4:52 pm


      It’s probably Smartscreen which is preventing WD from being disabled. Get rid of that and the problem should be solved: https://thegeekpage.com/disable-windows-defender-smartscreen/#How_to_disable_the_Windows_Defender_SmartScreen_via_Local_Group_Policy_Editor

  8. hoho said on March 10, 2023 at 1:47 pm

    Remove Windows and go for Linux.

    1. basingstoke said on March 10, 2023 at 2:51 pm

      Linux sucks dude. Besides it’s not comparable to Windows, these OSes are in different classes entirely.

      1. Derp said on March 10, 2023 at 4:36 pm

        I use Linux as my daily driver. It’s far more stable than Windows. When’s the last time you used Linux, 2010?

      2. Bromosexual said on March 11, 2023 at 2:04 am


        You’re right, dude. Bro, linux is just a bunch of code that starts before the OS, dude. Brobrodude, that shit ain’t even got emojis, dudebrodudeman! Dudebro, it’s no way near as cool as Windows with its hardcoded abilities to make money off the user, bro. Yo brodude man, you’re the coolest dude ever man, bro. Dude.

      3. basingstoke said on August 16, 2023 at 7:20 pm

        Lol what? Windows 7 doesn’t come with any Emojis

  9. TelV said on March 10, 2023 at 4:46 pm

    Download Autoruns and remove the checkmark from Windows Defender. It doesn’t remove it, but it will never run. https://learn.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/downloads/autoruns

  10. Simon said on March 10, 2023 at 8:37 pm

    Just use “Defender Control”:

    Per this video,
    it also works on Windows 11 too…

  11. Someone said on March 10, 2023 at 9:26 pm

    Win Defender, is completly the most succesful free-built in antivirus of Microsoft. Really nice product. Saved my ass a lot of times. Has updated malware database, completly strong defence
    from whatever smart screen disables. Or if you want better and more upgrated (paid) program,
    you can go further. But defender is always on your side.

  12. CalixtoWVR1 said on March 10, 2023 at 10:03 pm

    Why would one disable Windows (or Microsoft) Defender in the first place?. I consider this to be playing with fire big time. Everybody knows that if one is using another A-V, Defender will be disabled on its own and won’t be in one’s way.

  13. Ed D said on March 10, 2023 at 11:09 pm

    Why would I want to disable Windows Defender in the first place? It’s a great anti virus in my opinion. Been using it since Windows 8 and and never had a problem or a virus. Why mess with a good thing, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.

  14. owl said on August 17, 2023 at 1:57 am

    How a ridiculous article!
    I am thoroughly stunned.

    Why Should You Disable First-Party Windows Defender?
    I can only think that it is “malice or perversely intention (want you to buy a third-party AV where you can expect a back margin)” to guide invalidation without showing the premise.
    No sane company will use third-party closed source programs (such as AV).

    As I thought, “Ghacks Technology News” seems to be coming to downfall.

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