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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.

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