Sometimes our computers simply die due to unexpected hardware problems that are not our fault, so how do you locate and transfer ‘rare’ or hard to recreate files like scheduled tasks from the old hard-drive? Today’s SuperUser Q&A post has the solution to help a reader track down the file he needs.

Today’s Question & Answer session comes to us courtesy of SuperUser—a subdivision of Stack Exchange, a community-driven grouping of Q&A web sites.

Photo courtesy of photosteve101 (Flickr).

The Question

SuperUser reader Kjell Rilbe wants to know how to copy a scheduled task from a dead Windows installation to a new one:

My old computer died (hardware problems) and I had to reinstall everything on a new machine. All the hard-drives are intact and the old system disk is available as F: in my new computer.

On the old system I had a scheduled task that would run a simple batch file on system start up (or possibly on login). I have no detailed notes on how I set it up, so I would prefer to copy it from the old (dead) Windows installation to the new one.

Is there any way that this can be done? I cannot boot up the old Windows installation to export the task or anything, but as I mentioned, I do have access to the entire disk where it resides. Both installations are Windows 7 Ultimate x64.

Is there a way for Kjell to copy the scheduled task from his old Windows installation to his new one?

The Answer

SuperUser contributor Frank Thomas has the answer for us:

There are two directories within Windows where you might find a scheduled task definition or log:

  • C:\Windows\Tasks
  • C:\Windows\System32\Tasks

That said, depending on the task, you may or may not have difficulties using the configured task on another computer. Some tasks may contain system-specific information, and others may be in formats that cannot be opened for editing (third party programs often ship .job files). Carefully review the definition before attempting to run the imported tasks.

Have something to add to the explanation? Sound off in the comments. Want to read more answers from other tech-savvy Stack Exchange users? Check out the full discussion thread here.

Akemi Iwaya
Akemi Iwaya has been part of the How-To Geek/LifeSavvy Media team since 2009. She has previously written under the pen name "Asian Angel" and was a Lifehacker intern before joining How-To Geek/LifeSavvy Media. She has been quoted as an authoritative source by ZDNet Worldwide.
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