VolumeTouch: control system volume with the mouse (or hotkeys)

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VolumeTouch gives quick control over your PC’s volume by using a combination of hotkeys and the mouse or arrow keys.

The first thing I will say about this program is that, aside from performing a very useful function, it scores high marks in terms of the user experience it provides. Once you start experimenting with the combination of hotkey/mouse controls for volume you will find that these are very intuitive and well conceived.

The program also uses a system tray icon to display volume levels as a bar gauge or a percentage numeric, which also turned out to be a much more useful that I would have initially thought. More notes on this program:

volumetouch-screenshot1

  • How it works: you can either control the volume with the mouse scroll wheel, through your mouse’s vertical or horizontal movements (but you’ll have to pick one method). Once you specify which method you like in the settings, you can press the default hotkey (CTRL+Shift) and move the scroll wheel up and down (or the mouse up and down, or left and right) in order to control the volume. If you prefer you can use the UP/DOWN arrow keys instead, and CTRL+Shift+0 will mute/unmute.
  • Skins: the VolumeTouch icon in the system tray functions as a volume gauge that displays the volume level. Five “skins” are included, including my favorite “percent” which displays the volume as a percentage (See screenshot). You might want to remove the Windows native volume icon from the system tray (right click on it, click adjust audio properties, then uncheck “place volume icon in the taskbar”).
  • Memory consumption: a rather large 12-15 megs. However, this is probably inflated because this program requires Microsoft .NET framework and, in my experience, real memory consumption for .NET framework apps is difficult to determine for sure.

VolumeTouch vs. Volumouse: I’d previously reviewed Volumouse, a very similar program that performs the same function. Below is a quick comparison of both programs.

  • Reasons to use VolumeTouch: it provides both mouse and arrow key volume control, and allows you to change the volume without needing a mouse wheel (perfect for a laptop, which is my primary computer). VolumeTouch also scores higher on both the simplicity and coolness scales, in my opinion, and the interactive volume gauge in the system tray is a neat feature.
  • Reasons to use Volumouse: offers up to five different user-defined hotkey-activated functions. Highly customizable: can control different channels and specific volume components rather than the general volume. Takes up only 3 megs of memory, and does not require .NET framework.

The verdict: overall this is a great program and very intuitive to use. If you are sensitive to .NET and/or memory consumption you might want to try Volumouse instead; however when it comes to simplicity of design and providing a good user experience VolumeTouch definitely delivers.

Version Tested: 1.1

Compatibility: Windows 2000, XP; no info on Vista. Requires Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0

The program page no longer exists, but you can download ver. 1.1 of the program here.