Saturday, March 29, 2008

Weather Watcher Review - Add the local weather to your desktop with this free utility

Weather Watcher

I like to check the weather often, but sites like bother me because they have more advertisements than weather information. You can get a free desktop utility from some of these weather sites, but guess what, you get ads with these, too. So I went off to find a good, free desktop weather app with no ads. The best one I found is Weather Watcher.

This handy little utility allows you to view the current weather conditions, forecast, radar and satellite images from the desktop, without loading a browser window. Setup only takes a second - you select your city from a list or just enter your zip code. Then click on Update Weather, and your latest weather information is downloaded to the program.

You can view weather information by Current Conditions, Hourly Forecast, Daily Forecast or Detailed Forecast. In addition, a handy Map Manager allows you to select from a variety of different satellite and radar maps for your area. The program minimizes to the task tray.  While minimized, the task tray icon shows the current temperature. If you hover your mouse over the task tray icon, a small window pops up showing the current conditions (cloudy, 58, feels like 54).

The program has a wealth of settings and features, which you can access via the Options menu. You can choose from 4 available skins, set the program to run at startup, to pop-up if there is a severe weather alert in your area, and to automatically retrieve updates. These are just a few of the available settings - you can even set the program up to change your desktop wallpaper to a radar or satellite image in the event of a severe weather alert.

I only found one minor thing not to like about this program. Clicking on the task tray icon requires a double-click to bring up the program window, and it's a bit tricky - you have to get the double-click just right. This was bothersome, but certainly not a showstopper.  Author's note - Someone posted a comment informing me that the default double-click can be changed to a single-click. Go to Options, select the Tray Icon tab, next to Left Single-Click Action select Open Weather Watcher.

The Bottom Line...

If you don't like all of the ads at the major weather sites, or if you are on dialup and tired of waiting for them to load, then I would recommend this excellent utility. It's been around for quite a while (I had an earlier version several years ago), and therefore is well-tested and bug-free.

Weather Watcher works with Windows 98, 2000, XP or Vista. There is also a Mobile version available. You can download Weather Watcher here > Weather Watcher Download.

Author's Note - If you have problems downloading, installing, setting up or using this program, I would be glad to help. Just post a comment with your problem or question.


Anonymous said...

FWIW One of WW's many options allows you to open the forecast window with a single click. ;-)

wrgb said...

Thanks for the info. I updated the review with instructions how to change this.

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