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The Automatic Screenshot Journal

TimeSnapper runs in the background of your computer, taking screenshots of your desktop every few seconds all week long.

FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions

If your question isn't answered here, don't hesitate to email us or to visit the wiki, to see if your question is answered there.

Does TimeSnapper slow down your computer? (No!) | Does it fill up your hard-drive with images? (No!) | Does it work on multiple monitors? (Yes!) | What's the difference between Classic and Professional? | Does it work on Apple computers? | Does it work on Linux? | Can it be used to spy on people? | How can I tell if someone is using it to spy on me? | How can I protect the files it stores? | Can I have the source code? | Can TimeSnapper fill out my time-sheet for me? | Why do I get "Application failed to initialize properly '0xc0000135'" ? | How do I build plugins for TimeSnapper? | What has changed in the latest version of TimeSnapper? | How can I migrate to a new machine? |

Does TimeSnapper slow down your computer?

For everyday use, TimeSnapper should have no noticeable effect on the performance of your machine. It generally uses between 1 and 5 megabytes of memory. In a modern computer this is a small amount of memory.

When I first thought of the idea for TimeSnapper, I assumed it would slow my computer right down. I almost gave up on the idea for this reason. Later, when I saw the first prototype (developed by TimeSnapper's chief developer, Atli) I was completely won over by the incredible performance of Atli's implementation. And since then, the application has been further improved with a number of optimisations to give a very smooth ride.

We use timesnapper day in, day out on a variety of computers and find that it has no noticeable effect on the performance of a computer. Try it and see for yourself. If your experience is otherwise, write to us and tell us.

Does it fill up your hard-drive with images?

Suprisingly, no. There are four features that stop TimeSnapper from over-using your hard drive.

Firstly, no images are taken when the computer is idle. So if you are away from your computer, or leave it on overnight, no screenshots are taken.

Second, there is an archiving feature, that you can use to specify, "Delete all images older than 14 days" (or as many days as you choose). You can also limit TimeSnapper to use no more than a certain number of mega-bytes of hard drive space. (The archiving options are shown in the image below)

 Automatic image removal options

The third feature is that you can configure the resolution of the images, and take smaller, or fuzzier images if you wish. This can have a dramatic reduction on the required hard drive space.

The fourth feature that helps is the amount of time between images. If you have very limited space, you can take screenshots less often. Perhaps only once per minute, or even once every ten minutes. It will still give a fairly useful picture of where all that time went.

Does it work on multiple monitors?

Yes! TimeSnapper can now cater for up to three monitors. You can also configure it to capture only the current application. More details are included in the help page.

What's the difference between Classic and Professional?

TimeSnapper Classic is the free version while you must pay for TimeSnapper Professional. TimeSnapper Professional has a lot more features than the Classic version. Click here to compare the two.

Does it work on Apple computers?

We're sorry to report that there is still no Mac version of TimeSnapper. Plans remain in motion. If you are a talented developer, keen to help with this effort, please contact us.

Does it work on Linux?

Not currently. If you're interested in working with us to produce a Linux version of TimeSnapper, please contact us.

Can it be used to spy on people?

Unfortunately, yes it could. But this is definitely not the intended use of TimeSnapper. We're serious about this. Using TimeSnapper to monitor your employees, children, parents, housemates, customers, ex-girlfriends or colleagues is a very invasive thing to do. We can't stop you from doing it, but we can strongly urge you not to. We ask you to inform and seek consent from anyone whose screenshots you will be viewing.

There are some legitimate cases where people can monitor others. If you are using TimeSnapper to monitor other people we seriously ask that you follow these guidelines. You must have their informed consent. This means that they are aware of the fact that TimeSnapper is running, and monitoring their behaviour. And they agree to allow this to occur.

How can I tell if someone is using it to spy on me?

We deliberately make it very easy to tell if TimeSnapper is running.

The two most obvious signs: the TimeSnapper icon in the system tray, and the program "TimeSnapper.exe" listed amongst running files.

By taking normal security precautions with your computer, you should be safe from spies. Wearing a hat made of aluminium foil can also help.

How can I protect the files it stores?

TimeSnapper Professional comes with a built in privacy protection, by using state of the art encryption methods for encrypting the screenshots. You just provide a password and no one will be able to see the images without the password! This feature is not available in the free version, TimeSnapper Classic

Can I have the source code?

In order to protect the time and effort we've put into this TimeSnapper venture, we do not intend to release the source code. We know it's cruel. There are lots of great resources such as Code Project that can show you how to do the basic things that TimeSnapper does.

Can TimeSnapper fill out my time-sheet for me?

Almost! You can integrate TimeSnapper with any time-sheet application where you can connect to the database via OleDB

Why do I get "Application failed to initialize properly '0xc0000135'" ?

.net framework version 1.1 is required

This error occurs if you have not installed the .net framework version 1.1

Please download and install the .net framework (version 1.1) from Microsoft.

The .Net framework is a common library of functions used by all .Net applications.

How do I build plugins for TimeSnapper?

There is a whole separate FAQ that teaches you how to build plugins for TimeSnapper.

What has changed in the latest version of TimeSnapper?

TimeSnapper is always undergoing further improvements. To see the latest release notes, visit the Release Notes page at the TimeSnapper Wiki.

How can I migrate to a new machine?

The database contains all settings and information relating to screenshots, statistics and flags. You will want to copy it across.

The database is located here: "%localappdata%\Timesnapper\Database\"

If you want to keep all of your old screenshots, copy them from the old machine to the new machine in an identical location.

TimeSnapper Pro uses paths stored in the database to locate all TimeSnapper images. Changing the path in the options dialog doesn't move the images nor the old file references.

By default the images are stored here: "%localappdata%\Timesnapper\Snapshots\" (but you might have changed that yourself)

If the new computer has a different computer name, you'll have to reactivate the license. Licenses can be validated multiple times. If you do have any trouble activating on the new machine just send us an email and we'll make sure you can keep using TimeSnapper on your new machine.