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Automate Windows Functions with Scheduled Tasks

The Scheduled Tasks feature of XP and Vista often seems to be overlooked.  This is a great tool to use for Automating Maintenance tasks for the OS.  There are a lot of things you can do with this handy utility.  In the following shots I demonstrate scheduling a Disk Cleanup in Windows XP.  Later this week I will feature the extra settings and features included in Task Scheduler in Vista.

Click on Start Programs Accessories System Tools Scheduled Tasks

1

The Scheduled Tasks Window opens.  Just Double Click “Add Scheduled Task”/

2

The wizard opens telling you what it does.  Click Next.

3

Since the task we are scheduling is a Windows feature just scroll down until you find the built in utility.  Click Next.

4

Now we can type in a name for our task and schedule how often we would like it execute.  For Disk Cleanup I chose Monthly.

5 

Now we choose the specific time to start the task.  Since I don’t want Disk Cleanup to run while I am on the computer I choose a time I know I won’t be on it.  Yes, 2AM … not all geeks drink Red Bull!

6

If needed you need to enter in your administrator user name and password. 

7

You’re done!  Click Finish. 

8

This is a very simple example of how Scheduled Tasks can be utilized.  If done right, you can really have a lot of automated processes occur while away from your PC.  In an IT environment at work I use Scheduled Tasks to run macros and other scripts on our network.  As I mentioned I will go more in depth with using this feature including Vista.  You can even create your own batch files to run on a scheduled basis.  This is a great way to take a lot of control over what Windows does to benefit your efficient system!   

Brian Burgess worked in IT for 10 years before pursuing his passion for writing. He's been a tech blogger and journalist for the past seven years, and can be found on his about me page or Google+

  • Published 08/25/07

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