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Using Task Scheduler in Windows 8

The Task Scheduler inside of Windows 8 automates scheduling system tasks, which perform actions at a specific time or when a certain event occurs, such as checking for updates or running scripts. Task Scheduler provides an organized view of scheduled tasks and a convenient point of access for managing them.

The main screen for Task Scheduler inside of Windows 8
The main screen for Task Scheduler inside of Windows 8

If you use a specific program on a regular basis, you can use the Create Basic Task Wizard to create a task that opens the program for you automatically according to the schedule you choose. For example, if you use a financial program on a certain day each month, you can schedule a task that opens the program automatically so you don't risk forgetting to open it yourself.

Running Task Scheduler in Windows 8

  1. On the Start menu, swipe in from the right side of the screen or press the Windows logo key Windows logo key + C to bring up the Charm bar.
  2. Left-click on Settings button in Charm Bar.
  3. Left-click on Tiles in Settings.
  4. Drag the Show/hide administrative tools slider to the Yes position.
  5. Left-click on background of the Start menu, making the Charm bar disappear.
  6. Once the administrative tools appear, left-click on Task Scheduler.

or

  1. Swipe in from the right-side of the screen or press the Windows logo key Windows logo key + C to bring up the Charm bar
  2. Left-click on Search button in Charm Bar.
  3. Left-click on Apps in Search.
  4. Type Task Scheduler in the Search field on the Search pane
  5. In the results on the left hand side, left-click on Task Scheduler.

If you are prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

Click the Action menu, and then click Create Basic Task.

  • Type a name for the task and an optional description, and then click Next.

Select one of the following:

  • To select a schedule based on the calendar, click Daily, Weekly, Monthly, or One time, click Next, specify the schedule you want to use, and then click Next.
  • To select a schedule based on common recurring events, click When the computer starts, or When I log on, and then click Next.
  • To select a schedule based on specific events, click When a specific event is logged, click Next, specify the event log and other information using the drop-down lists, and then click Next.
  • To schedule a program to start automatically, click Start a program, and then click Next. Click Browse to find the program you want to start, and then click Next.

Click Finish.

Triggers and Actions

The two key concepts involved in scheduling a task are triggers and actions. A trigger causes a task to run and an action is the work that is performed when the task is run. The actions a task can perform include running a program, sending an e-mail message, and showing a message box. For example, you can send an e-mail when a certain event entry is logged in the event log or run a maintenance script when a user logs on to a computer. Occurrences that can trigger a task to run include: a computer starting up, a computer entering an idle state, or a user unlocking a workstation. In addition, you can schedule a task to run at a specified time.

Clean up your hard drive in Windows 8 with Disk Cleanup

During the normal use of your computer, you will accumulate a number of unnecessary files (temporary setup / internet files, recycle bin, etc.). You can remove these files with the built-in Disk Cleanup (cleanmgr.exe) utility inside of Windows 8. When it comes to computer repair, I use it all the time on my clients systems. And it can be run a couple of different ways and with different options.

Running Disk Cleanup on demand

There are a couple of different ways to run Disk Cleanup on demand. The following procedure cleans up files associated with your user account. You can also use Disk Cleanup to clean up all the files on your computer.

Windows 8 Disk Cleanup dialog box with standard options
Windows 8 Disk Cleanup dialog box with standard options

  1. On the Start menu, swipe in from the right side of the screen or press the Windows logo key Windows logo key + C to bring up the Charm bar.
  2. Left-click on Settings button in Charm Bar.
  3. Left-click on Tiles in Settings.
  4. Drag the Show/hide administrative tools slider to the Yes position.
  5. Left-click on background of the Start menu, making the Charm bar disappear.
  6. Once the administrative tools appear, left-click on Disk Cleanup.

or

  1. Swipe in from the right-side of the screen or press the Windows logo key Windows logo key + C to bring up the Charm bar.
  2. Left-click on Search button in Charm Bar.
  3. Left-click on Apps in Search.
  4. Type Disk Cleanup in the Search field on the Search pane.
  5. In the results on the left hand side, left-click on Disk Cleanup.

After you select the drive you want to clean, Disk Cleanup scans it for possible files to delete. It then allows you to select which files to delete. When you click the Clean up system files button it restarts with a More Options tab. This tab includes two additional ways to free even more disk space:

Windows 8 Disk Cleanup dialog box with more options
Windows 8 Disk Cleanup dialog box with more options

  • Programs and Features. This option opens Programs and Features in Control Panel, where you can uninstall programs that you no longer use. The Size column in Programs and Features shows how much disk space each program uses.
  • System Restore and Shadow Copies. With this option, you can delete all but the most recent restore point on the disk.
    System Restore uses restore points to return your system files to an earlier point in time. If your computer is running normally, you can save disk space by deleting the earlier restore points.
    In some editions of Windows 8, restore points can include previous versions of files, known as shadow copies, and backup images created with Windows Complete PC Backup. These files and images will also be deleted.

Running Disk Cleanup with predefined options

You can also run Disk Cleanup from a command prompt. This gives you the option of predefined settings for running Disk Cleanup as scheduled task in Task Scheduler or a shortcut on your Desktop or Start menu. Click here for more information on how to open a Command Prompt with Administrator privileges in Windows 8.

Windows 8 Disk Cleanup run at a command prompt with sageset option
Windows 8 Disk Cleanup run at a Command Prompt with sageset option

You can start the Disk Cleanup tool by running cleanmgr.exe. Disk Cleanup supports the following command-line switches:

  • cleanmgr /d driveletter: - This switch selects the drive that you want Disk Cleanup to clean. Note that the /d switch is not used with /sagerun:n.
  • cleanmgr /sageset:n - This switch displays the Disk Cleanup Settings dialog box and creates a registry key to store the settings you select. The n value is stored in the registry and allows you to specify different tasks for Disk Cleanup to run. The n value can be any integer value from 0 to 65535. To get all the available options when you are using the /sageset switch, you may need to specify the drive letter that contains the Windows installation.
  • cleanmgr /sagerun:n - This switch runs the specified tasks that are assigned to the n value by using the /sageset switch. All drives in the computer will be enumerated, and the selected profile will be run against each drive.

To run Disk Cleanup with the /sagerun:n switch in Task Scheduler or in a Desktop or Start menu shortcut, you would use something similar to the following:

C:\Windows\System32\cleanmgr.exe /sagerun:n

Using Task Scheduler in Windows 7

You must be logged on as an administrator to perform these steps. If you are not logged on as an administrator, you can only change settings that apply to your user account.

If you use a specific program on a regular basis, you can use the Task Scheduler Wizard to create a task that opens the program for you automatically according to the schedule you choose. For example, if you use a financial program on a certain day each month, you can schedule a task that opens the program automatically so you don't risk forgetting to open it yourself.

To run Task Scheduler.

  1. Click the Start button.
  2. Click Control Panel.
  3. Click System and security.
  4. Click Administrative Tools.
  5. Double-click Task Scheduler.

If you are prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

Click the Action menu, and then click Create Basic Task.

Type a name for the task and an optional description, and then click Next.

Do one of the following:

To select a schedule based on the calendar, click Daily, Weekly, Monthly, or One time, click Next, specify the schedule you want to use, and then click Next.

To select a schedule based on common recurring events, click When the computer starts, or When I log on, and then click Next.

To select a schedule based on specific events, click When a specific event is logged, click Next, specify the event log and other information using the drop-down lists, and then click Next.

To schedule a program to start automatically, click Start a program, and then click Next.

Click Browse to find the program you want to start, and then click Next.

Click Finish.

Triggers and Actions

The two key concepts involved in scheduling a task are triggers and actions. A trigger causes a task to run and an action is the work that is performed when the task is run. The actions a task can perform include running a program, sending an e-mail message, and showing a message box. For example, you can send an e-mail when a certain event entry is logged in the event log or run a maintenance script when a user logs on to a computer. Occurrences that can trigger a task to run include: a computer starting up, a computer entering an idle state, or a user unlocking a workstation. In addition, you can schedule a task to run at a specified time.

Using 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 each time you start Windows XP and runs in the background.

With Scheduled Tasks, you can also:

  • Schedule a task to run daily, weekly, monthly, or at certain times (such as system startup).
  • Change the schedule for a task.
  • Stop a scheduled task.
  • Customize how a task will run at a scheduled time.

Common tasks

Some of the tasks you may want to schedule is Disk Defragmenter or Backup.

Create a scheduled task

Before a task can be scheduled to run, one or more tasks must be created.

To schedule a new task

  1. Open Scheduled Tasks.
  2. Double-click Add Scheduled Task.
  3. Follow the instructions in the Scheduled Task Wizard.

Notes:

  • To open Scheduled Tasks, click Start, point to Programs, point to Accessories, point to System Tools, and then click Scheduled Tasks.
  • If you want to configure advanced settings for the task, select the Open advanced properties for this task when I click Finish check box on the final page of the wizard.
  • Confirm that the system date and time on your computer are accurate, because Scheduled Tasks relies on this information to run scheduled tasks. To verify or change this information, double-click the time indicator on the taskbar.
  • If you leave the password blank and you want the task to run when you are logged on, open the task. On the Task tab, select the Run only if logged on check box. The task will run at its scheduled time when the user who created the task is logged on to the computer.

Modify a scheduled task

Created scheduled tasks can be modified. You can modify the program, the schedule, or the specifics of a particular task.

To modify a scheduled task

  1. Open Scheduled Tasks.
  2. Right-click the task you want to modify, and then click Properties.
  3. Do one or more of the following:
    • To change a program being run, in Run, type the path for the new program.
    • To change the schedule for the task, click the Schedule tab.
    • To customize the settings for the task, such as maximum run time, idle time requirements, and power management options, click the Settings tab.
    • To set security for the task, click the Security tab.

Notes:

  • To open Scheduled Tasks, click Start, point to Programs, point to Accessories, point to System Tools, and then click Scheduled Tasks.
  • If you change the user account or the program that is being run, you must supply the password for the user account.
  • If the task program requires command-line options, type them in Run, after the task path.
  • If the path to the task program includes spaces, type double quotation marks ("") around the entire task path. For example:
    "C:\Program Files\Windows Media Player\Mplayer2.exe"
  • Confirm that the system date and time on your computer are accurate, because Scheduled Tasks relies on this information to run scheduled tasks. To verify or change this information, double-click the time indicator on the taskbar.

Remove a scheduled task

For scheduled tasks that are no longer needed, you can remove them entirely.

To remove a scheduled task

  1. Open Scheduled Tasks
  2. Right-click the task that you want to remove, and then click Delete.

Notes:

  • To open Scheduled Tasks, click Start, point to Programs, point to Accessories, point to System Tools, and then click Scheduled Tasks.
  • Removing a scheduled task only removes the task from the schedule. The program file the task runs is not removed from the hard disk.
  • You can also remove a scheduled task by selecting it and then pressing DELETE.

Stop a scheduled task that is running

In the event that a task starts while you are using your computer, you can stop the task and then restart it later.

To stop a scheduled task that is running

  1. Open Scheduled Tasks.
  2. Right-click the task that you want to stop, and then click End Task.

Notes:

  • To open Scheduled Tasks, click Start, point to Programs, point to Accessories, point to System Tools, and then click Scheduled Tasks.
  • If a scheduled task is started and then stopped, End Task does not stop all other programs that the scheduled task might have started.
  • If you stop a scheduled task that is currently running, you might experience a delay (up to three minutes) before the task shuts down.
  • To restart a stopped task, right-click the task, and then click Run.

Temporarily turn off all scheduled tasks

You can temporarily turn off or pause all scheduled tasks from running, and then turn on the tasks at a later point.

To pause Scheduled Tasks

  1. Open Scheduled Tasks.
  2. On the Advanced menu, click Pause Task Scheduler.

Notes:

  • To open Scheduled Tasks, click Start, point to Programs, point to Accessories, point to System Tools, and then click Scheduled Tasks.
  • The Pause Task Scheduler command is useful if you do not want scheduled tasks to run at the same time as you are installing software or running another program (such as a game).
  • Tasks that are scheduled to run while Scheduled Tasks is paused are not run until their next scheduled time.
  • To resume the schedules for all tasks, on the Advanced menu, click Continue Task Scheduler.

Using Task Scheduler in Windows Vista

You must be logged on as an administrator to perform these steps. If you are not logged on as an administrator, you can only change settings that apply to your user account.

If you use a specific program on a regular basis, you can use the Task Scheduler Wizard to create a task that opens the program for you automatically according to the schedule you choose. For example, if you use a financial program on a certain day each month, you can schedule a task that opens the program automatically so you don't risk forgetting to open it yourself.

Triggers and Actions

The two key concepts involved in scheduling a task are triggers and actions. A trigger causes a task to run and an action is the work that is performed when the task is run. The actions a task can perform include running a program, sending an e-mail message, and showing a message box. For example, you can send an e-mail when a certain event entry is logged in the event log or run a maintenance script when a user logs on to a computer. Occurrences that can trigger a task to run include: a computer starting up, a computer entering an idle state, or a user unlocking a workstation. In addition, you can schedule a task to run at a specified time.

To run Task Scheduler.

  1. Click the Start button.
  2. Click Control Panel.
  3. Click System and Maintenance.
  4. Click Administrative Tools.
  5. Double-click Task Scheduler.

If you are prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

Click the Action menu, and then click Create Basic Task.

Type a name for the task and an optional description, and then click Next.

Do one of the following:

To select a schedule based on the calendar, click Daily, Weekly, Monthly, or One time, click Next, specify the schedule you want to use, and then click Next.

To select a schedule based on common recurring events, click When the computer starts, or When I log on, and then click Next.

To select a schedule based on specific events, click When a specific event is logged, click Next, specify the event log and other information using the drop-down lists, and then click Next.

To schedule a program to start automatically, click Start a program, and then click Next.

Click Browse to find the program you want to start, and then click Next.

Click Finish.

For more information, open Task Scheduler, click the Help menu, and then click Help Topics.

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Geeks in Phoenix is an IT consulting company specializing in all aspects of Computer Repair / PC Repair / Laptop Repair. Since 2008, our expert computer repair technicians have been providing outstanding Computer Repair, Virus Removal, Data Recovery, Photo Manipulation and Website Support.

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