Growl for Windows - Online Help

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Growl lets you know when things happen. Files finished downloading, friends came online, new email has arrived - Growl can let you know when any event occurs with a subtle notification. The rest of the time, Growl stays out of your way.

Along with letting you know when things happen, Growl also gives you full control over how you are notified and what action (if any) you want to take in response to the notification. You can choose to be alerted with a visual indicator or an audible alert, both, or neither. You can choose the type of display that is shown, whether the display remains on the screen, the importance of the notification, and even if the notification should be forwarded to another computer. You can have notifications that trigger an email, run a script, launch a program, or are read out loud.

Installing Growl for Windows

To install Growl for Windows, download the application from the Growl for Windows home page. The installation files are packaged in a .zip file and must be extracted after downloading. Once extracted, run the 'setup.exe' file to begin the installation wizard.

Growl Installation Wizard

Once installation is complete, run Growl for Windows. A small icon will appear in your system tray. You can double-click or right-click on this icon to access Growl's settings. Growl can also be configured to start automatically when your computer starts up so you don't have to remember to turn it on each time.

No Applications Registered

When Growl is first installed, the Applications tab will not contain any applications. Installing Growl does not automatically cause applications to begin sending notifications. Applications must register to send notifications with Growl and once registered, they will appear in the left pane.

Growl Screens



On/Off button

On/Off button - Allows you to start or stop Growl.

Automatically start Growl at login

When checked, Growl will launch automatically when you log into your computer.

Sound Settings

The sound to play when a notification is received for any notifications or applications that are set to use the '[Default]' value.

Idle Settings

Controls how Growl collects missed notifications while you are away from your computer. Choose 'Never consider me idle or away' if you don't want Growl to display a summary of notifications you missed while inactive.



To configure preferences for an individual application, click on its name in the left pane. A list of all notification types that the application has registered to send will be displayed in the center pane. Each notification type can be configured individually, or the '[All notifications]' item allows you to set preferences for all notifications associated with a single application that don't have a more specific preference set. Notification-specific preferences always take priority, followed by the '[All notifications]' preferences, followed by the Growl 'General' preferences, finally falling back to the values passed via the individual notification.


If set to 'True', notifications will be processed as usual. If set to 'False', notifications will be not be displayed and will not be saved to History.


Determines how the notification will be displayed (if at all). Setting this value to 'None' will suppress display of the notification, but the notification will still appear in any Missed Notifications summary and the History. For help on configuring individual displays, see the 'Displays' section.


Determines how long the notification will stay on screen. The '[Default]' setting will use the built-in duration for the display selected. If the notification is stickied, this setting has no effect.


Determines if notifications automatically time out and disappear or not. Setting this to 'Never' will cause all notifications to time out, regardless of what the sending application requested. 'Never' will cause all notifications to remain onscreen indefinitely. 'When Idle' will normally use the sending application's request value unless the user is away from their computer, in which case the notifications will be made sticky.


Controls how notifications are forwarded to other computers. The '[Default]' value causes notifications to be forwarded to all of the computers listed in the 'Forwarding' section of the 'Network' screen. Choosing 'Dont Forward' will prevent the notifications from ever being forwarded to any other computers. Alternatively, you can choose which computers you would like to forward notifications to be selecting the 'Choose...' option.

Choose which computers to forward to


Sets the relative priority of the notification. The '[Default]' value lets the sending application dictate the priority. All other settings override the requested priority. Some displays may change their look or behavior based on the priority of the notification (ex: display flashing red text for an Emergency notification)


Sets the sound to be played when the notification is received. If set to '[Default]', the sound set in the 'General' tab's Default Sound setting will be used. The sound options are read from the system Media folder (usually c:\WINDOWS\Media).

Right-clicking on any of the applications listed in the left pane offers the ability to 'Remove Application'. When an application is removed, it is unregistered and no longer allowed to send Growl notifications unless it re-registers.



Growl comes with several displays built-in, but can be extended with additional custom displays. Most displays show a visual indicator when a notification arrives, but some displays are non-visual and may handle the notification by forwarding it to an email address, posting to a website, or reading the notification aloud. Visit the Growl Display Gallery to find additional custom displays.

To configure a display, click on its name in the left pane. The right pane will show any available configuration options. Note that the configuration options available are determined by the display developer and not all displays have user-configurable preferences.

To set the display that is used for all notifications that do not specify a more specific value, select the display from the list and then click the 'Set Default' button or double-click the name of the display in the list. The current default display name will be bolded.



Growl for Windows allows two different ways of sharing notifications over the network. 'Forwarding' notifications resends the notification from the original computer to other computers. Forwarding is configured on the computer where the notification originates. 'Subscriptions' allow Growl to ask another computer to forward its notifications to the local computer.

Forward notifications to other computers

When checked, any notifications received will be forwarded to the computers in the list below. (Individual notifications can be configured to only forward to a subset of this list - see the 'Applications' section). When unchecked, no notifications will be forwarded to any computers, regardless of individual notification settings.

By clicking the + icon, you can configure a destination for the forwarded notifications.

Automatically detected Growl instances

If Bonjour services are available and running on the local computer, Growl will detect any other Growl instances on the local network. Alternatively, you can add a computer by manually providing the IP address.

Adding a forwarded computer manually


A friendly name to identify the computer. This does not need to match the actual computer's name.


The actual name of the computer or its IP address. This name must be reachable over the network.


The port to use when forwarding notifications. Computers using the GNTP protocol should always use the default value of 23053.


The password used to authorize requests on the remote computer.


GNTP should be used for computers that support it. UDP can also be used for computers that only support the old Growl UDP protocol, but some features such as images and callbacks will not be supported.

For more detailed instructions on how to configure forwarding, including instructions on other forwarding options like Prowl, Twitter, and Email, check out 'How to set up forwarding'.

Subscribe to notifications from other computers

When checked, Growl will request that the computers in the list below forward their notifications to the local machine. When unchecked, no subscriptions will be processed.

Subscribing to another computer


A friendly name to identify the computer. This does not need to match the actual computer's name.


The actual name of the computer or its IP address. This name must be reachable over the network.


The port that Growl is running on on the remote computer. Computers using the GNTP protocol should always be using the default value of 23053.


The password used to authorize requests on the remote computer.



Require password for local apps

When checked, applications running on the local computer must supply a valid password in order to send notifications. When unchecked, local applications are not required to supply a password.

Allow network notifications

When checked Growl will allow notifications originating on computers other than the local computer. When unchecked, only locally installed applications will be able to send notifications to Growl. Enabling this setting requires that at least one password is set up in the Password Manager and that *all* incoming network notifications specify a valid password.

Allow notifications from websites

When checked Growl will allow notifications originating from websites. When unchecked, websites will not be able to send Growl notifications.

Allow clients to subscribe to notifications

When checked, Growl will allow other computers to subscribe to be forwarded notifications. When unchecked, clients will not be able to subscribe to notifications. (This setting does not affect the list of subscriptions on the 'Network' tab.)

Growl for Windows allows multiple passwords to be configured. When an application wants to register or send notifications, it must provide a valid password to prevent unwanted notifications from spamming the user (local applications may be exempted from this requirement). By allowing multiple passwords to be configured, the user can give unique passwords to different applications or different groups of applications, making it easy to revoke a password without requiring the user to give out a new password to all other existing applications.

Mouse over each password in the Password Manager to see a description of the password. To revoke a password, select it in the list and then click the - button. Note that revoking the password will result in any applications that are using that password being unable to send notifications. To add a new password, click the + button.

Password Manager


The password to add


A description to help you remember what the password is since it will never be displayed in clear text



Every notification that Growl receives is saved in the History. Notifications that are set to the 'None' display are still included in the History. The one exception is that notifications that are not Enabled are not saved in the History.


Type in part of an application name, notification title, or text to filter the History items

Group By

When grouped by Date, notifications from each day are grouped together. When grouped by Application, all notifications from a single application are grouped together.

Number of Days

The number of days worth of history to display.


Clicking the 'Clear' button removes all notifications from the History view and deletes the history permanently.

You can hover your mouse over each History item to get more information about the notification including the full text of the notification and the time it was received.

To see the History items as a detailed list, right-click in the History list and choose 'Details View'. In Details View, you can also sort by application name, notification title, text, date/time received, and origin.


Performing actions in response to a notification

Applications that send Growl notifications can request to be notified when the notification is clicked or closed. When you click on a notification, the original sending application is notified of the action and may take an action of its own. For example, if your email client notifies you that a new mail message has arrived, clicking on the notification could open the email message. The sending application is responsible for the action that is taken when the notification is clicked and this behavior is not customizable by the end user.

Dismissing notifications

There are several ways to dismiss notifications, depending on which action you would like to perform. Refer to the following table for a list of dismissal techniques and the behavior they cause.

Technique: The sending application: A visual notification will:
Do nothing (wait for notification to time out) will receive TIMEDOUT action Fade or animate away as designed
Click anywhere on the notification will receive CLICK action and
possibly trigger an action
Fade or animate away as designed
Right-click anywhere on the notification will receive CLOSE action close immediately
Alt-X will receive CLOSE action close immediately
Alt-Shift-X will receive CLOSE action close immediately
(closes all notifications on the screen)

While you are away from your computer

Growl can be configured to collect any notifications you miss while away from your computer and show a summary of those notifications when you return. On the 'General' tab, select the 'Consider me idle after X seconds' setting. When Growl detects inactivity, the missed notifications are saved and you will be presented with a list when activity is once again detected.

Missed Notifications

You can also pause Growl to manually force Growl to begin collecting notifications. This can be useful when you are using another full-screen application (Powerpoint, games, etc) and don't want Growl notifications to interrupt you.

Regardless of if Growl is paused manually or detects inactivity automatically, any missed notifications will also be saved to the History.

Individual applications or specific notification types can also be set to be 'Sticky' so that they never time out and fade away automatically. On the 'Applications' tab, set the Sticky preference to either 'Always' or 'When Idle' to cause notifications to remain on-screen until manually dismissed.

Frequently Asked Questions

Growl for Windows is still new, so no questions have been frequently asked. If you have a question that isn't answered here, please post your question to the Growl for Windows discussion group.

Growl for Windows Google Group >