How to get system and app notifications (like Growl) in Windows

by Skyler Huse on December 10, 2008

For quite a while, Windows users have had to just sit back and envy OS X users because they get to use the terrific notification app growl. Well, envy no longer, just install Snarl. It is in fact “inspired by, and based on” OS X’s growl, but is still in its early stages. You can download Snarl here and check out the growing list of extensions for it here. Keep reading for a brief overview and some screenshots.

The download should give you a .zip file. Open it and you’ll find the installer and a readme file. One important thing to note is that the readme file says that NOD32 sometimes mistakes the zip for a virus. They have acknowledged it is an issue with NOD32 but are unable to fix it. Anyway, just run the setup and then run Snarl. It will go through a graphics test which happens really really fast and won’t bother you at all. After that’s done, you get a nice looking notification.

snarl notification

Snarl comes with three extensions that can be disabled if you don’t like them. There’s SnarlClock, which tells you the time every hour. There is also SnarlInfo, which informs you about battery life and disk space. Finally, there is SnarlWare, which informs you when things are inserted or removed from your computer, such as flash drives.

snarl time notification

Double clicking the Snarl icon in your taskbar will bring up some settings. One of the things you might want to do is go to the Display tab and lower the duration of the notifications. By default it is set to 12 seconds. Here you can also choose where you want the notifications to show and some more stuff. Click on the Styles tab to choose one of the many styles. You can also go to the Apps tab to set different styles for different extensions.

snarl theme change notification

And speaking of extensions – there are quite a few already. Programs that are supported by these extensions include: Firefox, Foobar2000, iTunes, Miranda, Songbird, Pidgin, mIRC and Thunderbird. I think Snarl has a lot of potential. It is still a fairly new application, but the developers are planning a lot. I hope more people will show interest in this program, and I can’t wait for some more extensions.