Growl: Fully customizable notification and alert system

Windows OS and plenty of apps have built-in notifications, which can be useful although managing them can quickly become overwhelming. Luckily this task can become much easier with a free application like Growl.

Based on the popular Growl app for Mac OS X, Growl for Windows lets you truly customize notifications and alerts so you’ll always know when something important takes place without being bothered by useless reminders of events you’re not interested in.

Installation & Requirements

To install Growl, the only setting you can perform is change the default installation folder. After that, the program will quickly install, automatically creating a desktop shortcut and a Start Menu entry. Concerning system requirements, Growl runs on any Windows edition from XP up and requires .NET Framework 2.0.


When you launch Growl, it automatically runs in the system tray, but you can bring out it’s UI by double-clicking on the tray icon or from its context menu. To be able to manage and customize notifications from other apps with Growl, you’ll need to install extensions, add-on or plug-ins for each program you’re interested in.

Growl was designed with an orderly, simple layout that groups all of its settings under relevant categories. The General tab includes some global settings for the program such as auto-start with Windows, default sound, idle and fullscreen settings.

The Applications tab is where you should see those apps for which you have extensions or add-ons installed. These allow you to configure their notifications via Growl. There are plenty of Growl plug-ins available on Growl for Windows official website. With these you will be able to receive and configure notifications for some of the most popular programs and services such as Gmail, Google Reader, Facebook, Twitter, iTunes, Skype, Songbird, MediaMonkey, Winamp, uTorrent, Vuze and even to replace the default Windows balloons.

Each listed app has various notification types which you can customize separately or assign the same settings for all of them. You can change how your notifications look, how long they appear on the screen, what sound they should be using or don’t use any sound at all, set up their priority and a few other tweaks.

Under the Displays tab you can choose from several types of notification displays with more available for download. This would be considered as the default display for all the notifications.

The Network tab lets you configure Growl to send notifications from your machine to other computers or receive notifications from other computers. To forward or receive notifications to/from another machine you’ll need to know its IP address, the port that Growl is running on the remote computer and the password that authorizes requests on the remote computer.

In the Security section you can enable password-protection for local and/or LAN apps and set permissions for network notifications, website notifications and client subscriptions.
Last but not least, the History tab can show all past notifications grouped per days or applications, but it also includes a filtering option.


– Easy, adware-free installation.
– Neat, simple interface with settings grouped into relevant categories.
– Expandable functionality using extensions, add-ons or plug-ins for the applications you’re interested in receiving notifications from.
– You can easily customize notifications for each application.
– Includes multiple notification display types.
– Lets you receive/send notifications from/to other computers.
– You can add password protection for local and/or LAN applications.
– Comprehensive online documentation.


– While Growl’s expandable functionality through add-ons keeps it bulk-free, it might be difficult for beginners to figure out how to install and use all needed plug-ins.


Growl is not just for seasoned users, anyone can learn how to use it, although it might take a bit of time spent to read its documentation and sifting through the available add-ons. Other than that, Growl is a highly customizable notification system that can keep you up to date with everything that interests you.