Schedule tasks to run at designated time in Vista

Admins will often want to schedule a backup program to run in the middle of the night when they're away from their computer. For instance, many admins prefer to run a disk-optimizing program such as Disk Cleanup or Defragmentation every week or two to keep the system running smoothly.

Windows Vista includes Task Scheduler, which will run the programs you want at a designated time. You can set up recurring program executions such as scheduling a daily backup of your data files or a monthly backup of your entire system.

To do this in Vista:

  1. Go to Start menu.
  2. Click on Accessories. Select System Tools folder.
  3. Open Task Scheduler. (Task Scheduler can also be opened from Control Panel's System and Maintenance group.)

    In Task status, you will see the system tasks running that Vista has scheduled to run automatically, at various times, depending on the system settings.

  4. Now select the Create Basic Task entry in the Actions pane. Task Scheduler will open the Task Scheduler Wizard dialog box.
  5. Enter a name and optional description for the task you want to set up. Click Next. A window will open where you can designate the frequency of the task you are scheduling. You can also enter the time you want the program to start and designate the day of the week for the program to begin. Select

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  1. Next.
  2. Task Scheduler will now ask if you want a program to run, an email to be sent, or a message to be displayed.

Which window you see next will depend on the action you selected above. If you select a program to run, Task Scheduler will ask you the location of that program. Provide the proper location and click OK.

Vista also provides various options like running the scheduled tasks even if you are not logged on to the system but the system is switched on. Another feature not available in the previous verison of Task Scheduler in Vista include the ability to schedule the sending of email.

About the author: Rahul Shah currently works at a software firm in India, where he is a systems administrator maintaining Windows servers. He has also worked for various software firms in testing and analytics, and also has experiences deploying client/server applications in different Windows configurations.

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This was first published in January 2007

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