One of the most powerful, overlooked and unrealized tools
in windows is the task scheduler.
I will be going over some points and info of the latest version of the task scheduler starting with Windows Vista & newer.
The task scheduler is more powerful that people realize. I will be using screen shots of the config of my cleanmem tool.
The first section we see here is the general tab. As you
can see we can choose what account to run the program under,
if we want to have it only run when logged in or not, run with highest privileges and to run it hidden.
All of these settings are self explanatory. But what is great is if you are running a server such as 2008 and need to have a program run
without logging in during startup, but that program doesn't have a run as a service option this Task scheduler is your answer.
The next 2 screens is the triggers screen. These screens allow us to set all the triggers we need. Which as you can see gives us a lot of options!
Now that we have the triggers set now we can choose what
action to take when a trigger is set off.
In this case we are going to start a program, but we have 2 other options, sending an email or displaying a message.
The other 2 options can be a great resource for a admin in a network environment.
The conditions tab gives us even more control, some good
options for when running on batteries such as laptops or if the power is out
and the computer is running on battery backup, if your opening a cpu
intensive program and on battery it will such the juice dry!
Extra options such as when the computer is idle and when a network connection is active.
The settings tab now gives us some more control over
the program we are running. what is the nicest part is the last option.
Do not start a new instance of the program if it is already running. This handy little option will allow you to make a scheduled task for a program and try to run it every 1 min or so, if the program is running it skips it, this is a great way for admin's and such who need to make sure a program is always running. Not to shabby!
And finally the history tab, a nice look at how things have been going and keep an eye for any errors. A technicians dream when wanting to make sure everything is running right.
As you can see the Windows task scheduler is
surprisingly powerful, and gives you the kind of automated control you need.
You can run anything you like, defrags, system scans, anything you require. And when the programs have command line options like my cleanmem does where -5 means for it to wait 5 sec before it runs gives you even more automated control.
For the standard home user this may seem like a tool you don't need, but that's not true, you can schedule all your system maintenance to run automatically at night while your asleep, and then once its all done to shutdown your system.
And of course for a tech or admin's point of view this little tool can be a life saver when needing to keep things running smooth on anywhere from 1 to 1000's of systems.
If you need any help or have any questions drop a
post in the forums.