Windows includes a utility to offload all the boring maintenance jobs (such as loading startup programs, backing up data, running Disk Cleanup and Defragmenter, and scanning for viruses) that you do want to happen, just quietly and in the background. This utility is the Task Scheduler. New tasks can be created using the Scheduled Task Wizard, which walks you through the scheduling process.
Once tasks are created, you can access them from the Scheduled Tasks folder in the Control Panel. Using the Advanced menu and the Properties dialog box, you can change the applications that run and the various settings for the selected task. The Properties dialog box lets you set a task to repeat throughout the day, or to run when the system is idle.
For more specific control over the program's commands, you can add a parameter to the end of the program command. The available parameters for a program are displayed in the various program help files. You can enter these parameters into the Properties dialog box for a selected task, add them to the program execution command in the Run dialog box or in the Command Prompt interface, or save them as part of a batch file. Batch files can include textual program commands and DOS commands. You can then access saved batch files as scheduled tasks.