Use Scheduled Tasks to identify programs and batch files you want to run once, at regular intervals, or at specific times. You can schedule any script, program, or document to start at a specified time and interval or when certain operating system events occur. This feature can complete many administrative tasks for you.
Windows XP Professional saves scheduled tasks in the Scheduled Tasks folder, which can be accessed through the Control Panel under Performance And Maintenance. In addition, you can access Scheduled Tasks on another computer by browsing that computer's resources using My Network Places. This allows you to move tasks from one computer to another. For example, you can create task files for maintenance and then add them to a user's computer as needed.
Use Scheduled Tasks to perform the following tasks:
Use the Scheduled Task Wizard to schedule tasks. You access the wizard in the Scheduled Tasks folder by double-clicking Add Scheduled Task. Table 15.6 describes the options that you can configure in the Scheduled Task Wizard.
Table 15.6 Scheduled Task Wizard Options
The applications to schedule. Select from a list of applications that are registered with Windows XP Professional, or click Browse to specify any program or batch file.
A descriptive name for the task.
Perform This Task
How often Windows XP Professional will perform the task. You can select daily, weekly, monthly, one time only, when the computer starts, or when you log on.
The start time for the task to occur.
The start date for the task.
Name And Password
A user name and password. You can enter your user name and password or another user name and password to have the application run under the security settings for that user account. If the user account that you used to log on does not have the rights required by the scheduled task, you can use another user account that does have the required rights. For example, you can run a scheduled backup by using a user account that has the required rights to back up data but does not have other administrative privileges.
Select this check box if you want the wizard to display the Advanced Properties dialog box so that you can configure additional properties after you click Finish.
In addition to the options that are available in the Scheduled Task Wizard, you can set several additional options for tasks. You can change options that you set with the Scheduled Task Wizard or set additional advanced options by configuring advanced properties for the task.
Table 15.7 describes the tabs in the Advanced Properties dialog box for the scheduled task.
Table 15.7 Scheduled Task Wizard Advanced Options
Change the scheduled task or change the user account that is used to run the task. You can also turn the task on and off.
Set and display multiple schedules for the same task. You can set the date, time, and number of repeat occurrences for the task. For example, you can set up a task to run every Friday at 10:00 p.m.
Set options that affect when a task starts or stops, such as how long a backup can take, if the computer can be in use, or if the computer can be running on batteries when it runs the task.
Change the list of users and groups that have permission to perform the task, or change the permissions for a specific user or group.
In general, troubleshooting the Scheduled Tasks involves checking the parameters that you have set up. However, the Advanced menu provides a few options to help you with troubleshooting. When you open Scheduled Tasks and click Advanced, the first option on the Advanced menu allows you to stop and start the Task Scheduler Service, and the selection is either Stop Using The Task Scheduler or Start Using The Task Scheduler. If your scheduled tasks are not starting, you can check this option to be sure that the Task Scheduler Service is running and if it is not, you can start it. The second option is similar to the first, only it pauses and continues the service. If the service is paused, scheduled tasks do not start.
The third option on the Advanced menu is Notify Me Of Missed Tasks. This option causes the system to send you a message when a scheduled task does not occur. The next option on the Advanced menu is the AT Service Account, which allows you to change the account being used from the System account. The final option, View Log, allows you to view a log of when the Task Scheduler Service started, stopped, paused, and continued. It also logs the name of each scheduled task, the application or task that started, and the time and date the task was started.
In this practice, you schedule Address Book to start at a predetermined time. You can use this as a reminder to review address information. You also configure Task Scheduler options.
Run the TaskScheduler file in the Demos folder on the CD-ROM accompanying this book for a demonstration of using Task Scheduler.
Windows XP Professional opens the Scheduled Tasks folder.
The Scheduled Task Wizard appears.
Windows XP Professional displays a list of currently installed programs. To schedule a program that is not registered with Windows XP Professional, click Browse to locate the program.
Windows XP Professional displays the Select Program To Schedule page.
The Type A Name For This Task text box allows you to enter a description that is more intuitive than the program name. Windows XP Professional displays this name in the Scheduled Tasks folder when you finish the wizard.
To confirm the current system time, look at the Windows taskbar. Do not change the entry in the Start Date text box.
The wizard requires you to enter the name and password of a user account. When Task Scheduler runs the scheduled task, the program receives all of the rights and permissions of the user account that you enter here. The program is also bound by any restrictions on the user account. Notice that the user name you are currently using is already filled in as the default. You must type the correct password for the user account in both password boxes before you can continue.
You will schedule the console to run with your administrative privileges.
Do not select the Open Advanced Properties For This Task When I Click Finish check box. You will review the Advanced properties in the next procedure.
Notice that the wizard added the task to the list of scheduled tasks.
Windows XP Professional displays the Launch WordPad dialog box. Notice the tabs and review the options in the tabs. These are the same options that are available if you select the check box for setting advanced options on the last page of the Scheduled Task Wizard. Do not change any of the settings.
Make a note of this time.
To confirm that you scheduled the task successfully, wait for the time that you set in step 4 of this procedure. WordPad will start.
Notice that the scheduled event is no longer in the Scheduled Tasks folder. The option of automatically deleting a task after it finishes is useful for cleaning up after tasks that only need to run once.
The following questions will help you determine whether you have learned enough to move on to the next lesson. If you have difficulty answering these questions, review the material in this lesson before beginning the next lesson. The answers are in Appendix A, "Questions and Answers."