Windows To-do list manager?

Hi Guys,
I am looking for a program to manage my To-do lists at work on a Windows machine.

I use “The Hit List” on the Mac, and am basically looking for something almost identical to that (or “Things”, etc) for Windows. As long as it is easy to use and not completely ugly, I am happy.

I would like the ability to nest tasks under other tasks, and I need the ability to create different lists for different projects.

Edited to add: It is going to be installed on a computer with no network connection, so it needs to be able to install in that environment, and I don’t care about syncing etc.


Of course the task features of Outlook aren’t perfect, but I imagine they’re what most people on Windows use if they use a to-do list (oops, another example of ‘false consensus’, sorry Martin… :wink: ). When I used Windows I found My Life Organized useful, and I think an upgrade has just been released. It certainly has task nesting and separate project lists. isn’t bad if you don’t mind the whole online storage thing and using a website. You don’t even have to always be online as it has an offline client. As far as websites go, it’s pretty slick, actually. It’s even quite keyboard friendly, which I would imagine be something important if you like Hit List. You can sign in via your Google account too.

Yes, if you don’t mind online storage, there’s a whole world of to-do list/project managers available. Somewhere there’s a list of them - yes, here are 164 (not all online, by any means).

Toodledo, the first on that list, is also OK, with lots of tools, flexibility and connectivity. It’s also free, up to a certain level of use. I’ve used it as a cloud-syncing hub. But it’s ugly. And it has a silly name. :confused:

If a cross-platform option appeals to you, you might take a look at Organize:Pro

There is also the free application, Task Coach:

Online and cloud-storage don’t work.

My computer at work is on an internal network that has literally no connection to the outside world and cannot even be connected to the Internet temporarily (security reasons).

So it needs to be fully self-contained and not even require a dial-home for activation/registration.

I want to avoid anything bulky like Outlook - I just want a list I can keep open at all times while coding to make lists of what to return to or fix up later.

I’ll take a look at those suggested, but any other suggestions are welcome.


I’ve taken a look at some of the suggestions and realised I am really shallow.

It seems look and feel is important to me.

I don’t want anything complicated enough to need a toolbar along the top, or worse, a ribbon. Just a list of projects on the left, nested lists of tasks on the right, and a clean pretty interface.

Double click to add a task, and the option to show or hide completed tasks and that is all I need. No horrible inspectors, or add task buttons, and anything to do with tagging or contexts or other stuff I don’t use keeping out of the way… If it takes more than 30 seconds to learn how to use it, then it is too complicated.

Basically, The Hit List, or Things. Has my Mac spoiled me for choice again here? I’m assuming there must be a Windows equivalent… But I may have to download all 100 on Hugh’s list to find it!


I promise I’m not trying to be flippant here, but…

Having tried a few online / app task programs, and found them all to be a little lacking in the looks / UI department, I have reverted to a small notebook and a pen.

Always with you / not reliant on connectivity
Set up the tasks / lists anyway you like
Maintains a record of completed tasks
very quick to add new tasks
very quick to tick / cross off items (which becomes hugely satisfying)

I’ve used this method with some pretty large project management tasks and found it works well for me.

Often I would agree with you, but I have never made the pen and paper list work well.

I have a notebook, but Ouse it for everything - sketching diagrams etc - and that means my to-do list ends up 10 pages back, or spread over different pages, and I end up losing threads.

Plus, the ability to go back and revise tasks - especially to break them up - is only really possible on the compter. My to-do list ends up a very fluid thing - some tasks remain for weeks, others last about 5 minutes while I finish one other task then come back to it.

The computer helps, and frees my notebooks for diagrams and sketches etc.

I will only ever work on one computer with no connectivity - so the “always with me” part doesn’t matter. This is just for coding, not my full to-do list.


I use the back pages for the todo lists, that way they are all together. Personally, I let lists go for 4 pages and then spend 5 minutes consolidating the remaining uncompleted tasks onto the next page (which are usually the longer, multi-week tasks and therefore before long I have a nice easy way of identifying what tasks I’ve put off / need to man up on… they’re the ones grouped together at the top).

In any case, it sounds like you have similar needs to mine. If you find a great software solution let me know, I’d love to use it.

This may sound ridiculous, but you could try a plain text editor. Recently I’ve been making a lot of my lists using plain text and Markdown. It’s surprisingly effective, and very portable. I do something like this:

[code]#Really urgent

  • a task @atag
    • a sub-task

#Another heading

  • a task @2013-03-01
    • a sub-task
      And so forth. It can be imported into TaskPaper, or FoldingText on the Mac – in fact I think one could import it into virtually anything with relative ease.

As I say, probably ridiculous, but it depends how heavyweight your needs are.


  • Chandler is definitely on the edge of your stated complexity threshold, but it is a good 3-platform tool.
  • If the TaskPaper approach appeals to you, TodoPaper might. It’s a clone that uses the same format.
  • I have never tried it, but it looks a bit like The Hit List, so I might as well link to Conqu as it has a bit of a following.


I know I keep harping on about it, but it really is fascinating to me how often it makes an appearance – especially in the Wish List. A classic example of bolstering your request by putting forward the idea that everyone wants the same as you. It’s a relation of the well-known debating device “of course, everybody knows that…” and “I’m sure we can all agree…”

Cheers, Martin.

An extension of Martin’s plain text idea (which I like)… Sticky Note? It’s probably already on your machine.