It’s called TimeSnapper, and you can download a copy from www.timesnapper.com (Windows only, I’m afraid). There’s a free version, and a paid version. (The paid version comes with a 30-day trial period.)
TimeSnapper runs in the background and takes a picture of your monitor at a selected time interval (say, every 10 seconds). The images are stored on your hard drive, to be played back as needed. You can protect your images with a password, which is highly recommended at work or at any computer that someone else has access to.
What on earth do you need this for? Consider:
- I’ve had jobs where I’ve had to keep track of my time for billing purposes. TimeSnapper makes an impossibly tedious chore way easier. (Although it will also provide indisputable evidence of how much time you really spend on eBay.) TimeSnapper can store a month or more of images.
- Have you ever jumped from screen to screen only to find yourself unable to retrace your steps to find something that you really need? With TimeSnapper, it only takes seconds to blitz through hours of screen time.
- Have you ever forgotten to save a document? With TimeSnapper, you can reconstruct just about anything that has appeared on your computer screen.
- Have you ever wondered where the day has gone? Just click on a couple of buttons, and you can replay the day or week at high speed.
- If you have a problem with software, or if your computer is attacked by malware, you can see exactly what happened before disaster struck.
- You can also use TimeSnapper to see whether anyone else has been using your computer, and what they’ve been doing.
There are also some fun uses for the software:
- I often work with an online TV show playing the background. If I turn on the subtitles (if available), I can use TimeSnapper to quickly go back and catch up on stuff I may have missed.
- If you play games on your computer, you can use TimeSnapper to review your gameplay.
- If you’re learning how to do something new on your computer, TimeSnapper will create a useful record that you can use as a reference.
I should note that TimeSnapper could also be used for nefarious purposes. All I can say is that what goes around comes around. (Speaking of which, you might want to take a look at your work computer to make sure someone else isn’t already spying on you…)