Best Time-Tracking Software for Windows

6 min readJul 24, 2017


Most of the time-tracking applications are offered as cloud-based solutions, but still there are companies and freelancers who prefer time-tracking tools on own computer or server. Some companies opt for it due to security concerns, some just find it convenient to access the database with all time-tracking data directly. We made a list of the best time-tracking software for Windows desktops that will help you track time without requiring too much effort for configuration and user onboarding.

1. actiTIME

For: Teams; Individuals

actiTIME is available as a cloud solution and an on-premise package for both Windows and Unix. Its downloadable edition runs as a web application on the company’s internal server, and users access it via their web browsers. It fits both companies and self-employed individuals, who can run it on their personal computers. At any time, the installation can be moved to the cloud without any data losses.

The tool provides time-tracking (with a manual entry in the desktop version and a timer in the mobile app), work management, billing and accounting functionality. It allows to track both work and leave time, control project progress, calculate billable amounts and payroll sums, and create invoices directly in the program. Various data access permissions are available for system users.

The program is distributed in executable installer files and archives for installation on an Apache Tomcat web server. The first option provides a quick installation process that doesn’t require technical competence. The second option allows special configuration, for example, secure connections and custom access URLs.

2. Active Collab

For: Teams

The self-hosted version of Active Collab is also an application that runs on a web server. Configure the environment according to the system requirements, install the application, and provide access to it to the employees. Installation process may seem complicated for those who are not tech savvy, but Active Collab support specialists can install the program remotely — this is offered as a separate paid service.

The tool provides task management and collaboration features. For time-tracking, a special Timer app is available that records time expenses for specific tasks. As an auxiliary feature, email notifications, invites and daily recap emails can be configured. Another helpful feature is search implemented with ElasticSearch engine.

3. Freelancer

For: Individuals

Freelancer app is a free desktop tool that records time spent by freelance employees on specific tasks and facilitates the communication between the employer and the freelancing employee. The app supports time recording, project overview, messaging, taking screenshots, and uploading files.

Both online and offline modes are possible. After disconnecting from the Internet, the app automatically switches to the offline mode and reconnects to the Internet after the connection is reestablished on the machine.

4. Manic Time

For: Teams; Individuals

Manic Time automatically tracks user’s activity on the computer and creates reports based on the collected data. The app is installed on users’ computers and sends activity data to the server. It works both online and offline and sends the data to the server as often as you need. Manic Time provides managers with team’s productivity data, simplifies project progress control, and allows to share time-track data with clients.

The app is available in installable and portable versions, so you can install it on a USB and track your time on any machine. What’s more, the app can be easily deployed on multiple machines within a domain via group policies.

5. Grindstone

For: Individuals

Grindstone is a free time-tracking tool that provides basic time recording and time expense calculation, charts based on the time spent on specific tasks, and calculation of billable amounts. Reminders help stay on top of everything: they inform the user on upcoming deadlines, missing time records, exceeding estimates, etc.

The tool has a range of billing features that help calculate due amounts for the performed work and charge clients. Grindstone supports manual entry of hourly rates and their calculation on the basis of fixed amounts and recorded time expenses. Collected data can be exported from the program for printout and communication with clients.

6. Office Time

For: Teams; Individuals

Office Time is an easy app with basic time-tracking and billing functionality that runs on Windows and Mac desktops. Time is tracked with a timer that is quickly accessible from the system tray. The app automatically detects idle time and offers several options to process it.

You can add expenses to your projects to keep track of billable amounts and generate invoices for your customers. If necessary, you can export the data into a spreadsheet or create a chart on time records for a specific period.

7. Timely

For: Teams; Individuals

Timely is a time-tracking solution for Windows and Mac that helps employees and managers control working time and project budgets. After tracking work time, it is automatically organized in a clear timeline by a module called Memory. All tasks performed within a week are shown on a simple view with time totals and planned hours.

The app provides several features to speed up time logging and planning process. Copy repeating tasks from one day to another, and share scheduled meetings and other plans with Outlook, Office 360 and Google Calendar.

Timely also has budgeting functionality. It allows to enter planned budgets and automatically calculate actually spent amounts as you log time. This helps prevent exceeding project budgets.

8. NKTimeTracker

For: Individuals

NKTimeTracker is a simple app that runs in the background and automatically records time that the user spends in different applications on the computer. With it, you’ll know how much time you spent working, checking emails, browsing, playing video games, etc. For those who are struggling against workplace distractions, the focus mode is provided that blocks all distracting applications.

All events are logged in a simple text file, so no database engine needs to be installed and set up. You can export logs from the program and copy them to any computer, USB drive or cloud storage. On the basis of collected data charts are generated to provide a graphical representation of time expenses structure.

9. Chrometa

For: Individuals

The tool offers passive timekeeping on Windows computers, Mac, Android and iOS devices. It captures time you spend in applications on your device, so you don’t need to enter time manually or start and stop timers. It even handles calls and texting. The app automatically categorizes your activities by keyword rules, which is convenient if you need to know the proportion of time expenses for specific activity types.

Chrometa integrates with other tools where timesheet data might be required — to help you avoid double work. According to the authors of the app, billable time increases by 20% or more while actually working fewer hours.

10. TimeWriter

For: Teams; Individuals

This tool combines time-tracking and billing features. It is helpful for companies that bill their customers on the basis of time spent on specific projects. Basing on time expenses and billing amounts, reports can be created. They are helpful when you need to analyze how profitable is a project or to calculate amounts to be invoiced to a customer.

The app is simple to install and maintain and doesn’t require too much time for user onboarding. Mobile apps are available for iOS and Android to track time away from the desk.

11. Subernova

For: Teams

Subernova is an invoicing, time-tracking and work management software. In it you can log time expenses, create invoices and set up payment reminders, manage project delivery by creating milestones and generating reports, and collaborate with colleagues and customers on current projects.

The downloadable version of the app runs on Windows in Adobe AIR runtime environment. It can be accessed from a desktop or an app on an iOS device. The tool supports SSL encryption, so you can configure it to provide data security.

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