Software recommendation: easy to monitor what your computer does

We use computers every day, but can we know our habits like the back of our hand? For example, what are the most used programs and what are the most viewed web pages …… These contents can be troublesome through recollection and manual statistics, but if you enable a small ManicTime software to monitor them, the problem is much simpler.

ManicTime has a full-featured paid version, but as a general use, the free standard version is enough. When using it for the first time, just select the license type “Standard (free)” (Figure 1). To keep monitoring active, don’t forget to turn on the “Start automatically at boot” option in the software settings.

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When you open ManicTime, you can see the “Days” and “Statistics” tabs listed at the top. When you click on the “Day” tab, you can see the timeline area below, which includes the current date and the category timeline from top to bottom, and the category timeline mainly includes four categories: Tags, Status, Programs and Documents. The bottom part of the window is the active program corresponding to the timeline (Figure 2).

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To check what was active on your computer at a certain point in time, simply move your mouse over the timeline and click on it, and the name of the program that was active at the corresponding point in time will appear in the list at the bottom of the window. We can then see what programs were used, what websites were browsed or what games were played at a certain time, etc.

If you want to designate a certain time period as a key monitoring period, you can define a tag for that time period. Click the “Add Tag” button, name the tag and add a comment text, specify the start time and end time, and a monitoring tag will appear in the “Tag” column (Figure 3). When you click on this tab later, you will see the specific monitoring content in the following pane.

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To get statistics on program or document activity, click the Statistics tab. For example, to find out which programs you use most often, click on “Popular Programs” and you will see a list of the top 5 most frequently used programs in the middle column. The bottom pane shows a graphical comparison of the usage rates of these popular programs in the form of a chart or table (Figure 4).

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The time span of the statistics can be selected through the start time, end time and period setting selection boxes in the top column, and the type of activity to be counted is selected through the second column. The number of entries displayed in the middle pane can also be selected as 5 or more. The chart of statistical results in the lower pane can be displayed as a bar chart or a line chart. Statistical charts can be exported as PNG images, while statistical tables can be saved as CSV table files.

With ManicTime’s monitoring, everything about the computer’s activity will be able to be retraced and viewed at any time. However, ManicTime is also a double-edged sword, if others see it, it will reveal your privacy. Therefore, you can hide the program in a location where others cannot easily find it.

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