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Running "Scheduled Tasks" in Windows XP

With Scheduled Tasks, you can schedule any script, program, or document to run at a time that is most convenient for you. Scheduled Tasks starts every time that you start Windows XP and runs in the background, and it starts each task that you schedule at the time that you specify when you create the task. Scheduled Tasks can be especially helpful in running rountine maintenace programs such as Disk Cleanup and Disk Defragmenter on a regular schedule.

Using Scheduled Tasks

To open Scheduled Tasks, click Start, click All Programs, point to Accessories, point to System Tools, and then click Scheduled Tasks.

To schedule a new task:

1. Double-click Add Scheduled Task to start the Scheduled Task Wizard, and then click Next in the first dialog box.

2. The next dialog box displays a list of programs that are installed on your computer, either as part of the Windows XP operating system, or as a result of software installation.

Use one of the following procedures:
  • If the program that you want to run is listed, click the program, and then click Next.
  • If you want to run a program, script, or document that is not listed, click Browse, click the folder and file that you want to schedule, and then click Open. (for example, Disk Defragmenter is located at C:\windows\system32\dfrag.exe)
3. Type a name for the task, and then choose one of the following options:
  • Daily
  • Weekly
  • Monthly
  • One Time Only
  • When my computer starts (before a user logs on)
  • When I log on (only after current user logs on)
4. Click Next, specify the information about the day and time to run the task, and then click Next.

Note that the information about the day and time to run the task vary depending on the selection that you made in the previous wizard dialog box. For example, if you chose Weekly, you must indicate the day of the week, the time, and if the task should run every week, every 2 weeks, every 3 weeks, and so on.

5. Type the name and password of the user who is associated with this task (in both cases, the name will typically be user). Make sure that you choose a user with sufficient permissions to run the program. By default, the wizard selects the name of the user who is currently logged on.

6. Click Next, and then click Finish after you verify the choices that you have made.

Using Advanced Options in Scheduled Tasks

If you want to change the configuration of the task, click Open in the advanced properties for the task before you click Finish. After you click Finish, the Properties dialog box opens for the task.

On the Schedule tab, you can change any of the scheduling options that you chose in the wizard, and you can also change the task configuration so that the task does not run too long, does not run if the computer is running on batteries (for laptops), and to specify whether or not the computer should be idle for the task to run.

NOTE: You can open the Properties dialog box for the task at any time if you open Scheduled Tasks, right-click the task, and then click Properties.

You cannot schedule a task so that it repeats in an interval less than one day; however, you can do this in the Properties dialog box:
  1. Click the Schedule tab, and then click Advanced.
  2. Click to select the Repeat task check box, and then specify the number of minutes or hours in which you want the task to be repeated.


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