capsule review

TimeComX Basic

At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder TimeComX Basic

    PCWorld Rating

    This freebie automatically shuts down your computer or executes any other operation when it's idle or after some time passes.

Raise your hand if you ever had this happen: Half an hour before the end of the day, you started downloading a large file. You then had to leave the computer, but the download didn't complete yet. So you locked the computer, or maybe simply turned off the screen. The download completed after a couple of hours, but the computer stayed on all night long. What if your computer were smart enough to shut itself down once the download ended? With TimeComX Basic, you can make it do so.

TimeComX Basic sports a simple interface. Two key terms dominate the application: Events and Tasks. An event is a condition TimeComX waits for--a "trigger," so to speak. This can be a simple counter triggered once so many minutes or hours elapse, an "advanced counter" for more granular time-based control, or a "Time of Day" condition, which lets you set a specific time and date in which the event would be triggered.

Events don't necessarily have to be time-based, and this is where TimeComX really becomes useful: Sometimes you're not quite sure how long that download or virus scan will take. But by tracking processor and/or network utilization, you would be able to tell when your computer is no longer working hard, and can safely be shut down. You can set thresholds both for the processor and the network, and once your system dips under these values (or goes over them), the event would be triggered. Since you may be using your computer at that time, you can keep the event from triggering if there were any recent mouse or keyboard activity. TimeComX can also wait for a certain process (application) to start or end, so if you're rendering a large 3D graphic, TimeComX can patiently wait for the render engine to exit.

Once an event is triggered, TimeComX executes a task. Tasks range from shutting down or restarting the computer to playing an audio file or running an application. This latter functionality means you can actually have TimeComX do anything at all - just pick an application or a batch file, and TimeComX would execute it when the time comes. So, for instance, you can upload your rendered image to an FTP server as soon as it's ready.

TimeComX Basic may not be the most stylish automation solution (that title belongs to Shutdown Timer), but it is simple enough for most computer users: Despite providing powerful events and tasks, it manages to keep the interface sane by only letting you define one event and one condition at a time. The "Basic" part of the name alludes to the fact that there's another version, the $14 TimeComX Pro, which provides additional options including planning of parallel events.

You can't use the Basic version to create a complex web of conditions and tasks. In my book, that's a good thing. If you've ever had to walk away from your computer while it was still working, you may well find use for TimeComX Basic.

--Erez Zukerman

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    This freebie automatically shuts down your computer or executes any other operation when it's idle or after some time passes.

    Pros

    • Simple; friendly; free

    Cons

    • Works best when run as Administrator
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