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Chapter 27. System Utilities > Scheduled Tasks

Scheduled Tasks

Scheduled Tasks is found in the Control Panel and in the Start menu (All Programs, Accessories, System Tools, and Scheduled Tasks). Using the Scheduled Tasks, you can set up any program or script (or even open a document) to be run automatically at predetermined times. This utility is very useful for running system maintenance programs or your own scripts and programs when you can't be around to execute them manually.


You could even use the Scheduled Tasks to run a script that starts or stops a specific system service. The net command can be used to start and stop services using simple syntax:

net start "service name here"


net stop "service name here"

Most folks don't even need to think about this capability, but if you are a software developer and use a special debugging or testing service, this capability might be handy to start it up when you log in. Remember that there is no “when I log off” scheduler entry, so you can't automate shutting off the process when someone logs out.

You also can cause a specific script or program to run (1) when the system boots, (2) when a user (any user) logs on, or (3) when the system is idle. Why is this different from putting the script or program in the Startup group for All Users? Well, the Scheduled Tasks lets you specify the security context to use for this login task. For example, whenever a user logs on, you can have the Scheduled Tasks run a program with Administrative privileges to record information in a protected file. Using the Scheduled Tasks this way is similar to using the Run As option. (See Chapter 28, “Managing Users,” for more details about Run As.)



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