FORCEdraft: a text editor which won’t let you quit…


Twitter, Facebook, emails, eBay -- any web-enabled PC has a pile of distractions to prevent you doing real work.

FORCEdraft is a free text editor which offers an unusually strict solution: it just won’t let you access any other programs until you’ve finished the job.

The program is tiny -- under 1MB -- and portable. On launch you can tell it to block everything on your PC until you’ve typed a certain number of words, or a defined number of minutes has passed.

Make your choice and FORCEdraft opens full-screen. There are no menus, no toolbars, not even copy/ paste support (that could let you cheat by more quickly hitting your word count). As a text editor it’s even less sophisticated than a web text box: all you can do is type.

The sole gimmick here is you can’t switch away to anything else. We pressed the Win key: nothing happened. Ctrl+Shift+Esc to launch Task Manager? No. Alt+Tab displays running applications and allows you to choose one, but when you release the key, FORCEdraft runs full screen again.

(We initially wondered if the program might apply some dangerous system-level trickery to make this work. The author doesn’t explain how it works, but it seems to us that it’s just repeatedly setting itself to run full-screen over everything else, and therefore should be very safe to use. As long as you don’t accidentally tell it to block your PC until you’ve typed 50,000 words, anyway.)

Once you’re into the editor, all you have to do is get on with creating your document. FORCEdraft saves it in the background every 20 seconds.

Clicking the FORCEdraft logo at any time displays the number of minutes/ words to go. Or, when you’ve finished, a "Save and exit" prompt appears: click this and the program will close.

FORCEdraft is a horribly basic text editor. We also quickly found one way you might be able to escape the program’s clutches. But if you need to make sure a non-technical user concentrates on some real work then the program might be effective, and it’s entirely free and safe to try.

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