At a Glance
- Free; Simple; Comprehensive
- Duplicates existing system functions
Control what happens when you leave your PC: Mute the sound, hide the taskbar, or lock the computer altogether.
When I need to leave my laptop for a moment, I always hit Win+L
to lock the screen. It’s almost a reflex by now, one quick flick
usually done when I’m halfway out of the chair. But what if I
wanted the computer to do something else when idle, or even execute
a sequence of operations depending on how long I’ve been away?
That’s what System Silencer is for.
This unassuming piece of freeware lays out all it can do right
on the main window. There are very few nooks and crannies to
explore. The interface consists of a list of 11 different
operations you can have your computer do once it’s been idle for a
while. You can set the interval before an operation is executed,
and can even have it execute only if the computer is running on
battery power (or only if it’s connected to power).
A couple of the operations can be done with Windows as it is:
System Silencer lets you lock the workstation or turn off the
monitor after a period of time has elapsed. Both of these can be
done with Windows’ own settings. You might say System Silencer
provides a more fine-grained way to control them, because you can
have them occur only in certain power modes (desktop or
The other operations are more unusual: You can have the computer
mute the sound once you’re gone, and automatically unmute it when
you come back. You can minimize all windows so that your desktop
shows. You can even hide specific windows–a sneaky way to make it
look as though you’ve got nothing to hide (you didn’t even lock the
computer), while in fact stashing away an app or two.
One option for which I do not see a clear use case is disabling
Aero. You can have your computer disable Windows’ swanky
translucent-looking interface when you leave it alone, and then
switch the interface back on once you’re back. Some say this can be
used to conserve battery life, but that’s a myth that has long been debunked.
When enabling an operation, you must remember to tick the boxes
for the power modes you want it to apply to. By default, neither
power mode is selected, so you can configure an interval for an
operation and then wonder why it didn’t go off as planned (this
happened to me).
The main thing I like about System Silencer is that you can
stagger operations and get a “gradual shutdown.” You can have it
minimize your windows and mute the sound 30 seconds after you’re
gone, lock the workstation if you’re not back in two minutes, and
then turn off the screen if you’re still gone after five
All in all, this is an effective system utility, especially
given its price tag marked “free.” If you ever need to do anything
more complex than just locking the workstation when you leave, do
give System Silencer a spin.
Note: This link takes you to the vendor’s site,
where you can download the latest version of the software.