The Windows Task Scheduler It is a tool that has existed in the Windows operating system for many years. It’s not exactly popular though, and it would be quite surprising if you know at least one person who uses it on a regular basis.
This function of scheduling tasks can be very useful if you decide that there are things you would like your computer to always do for youespecially when it comes to the most repetitive tasks. The application lets you choose exact times or circumstances in which a process must be carried out, and using it is not complicated at all, so we explain how.
Set reminders, decide when the computer shuts down and when it goes to sleep, schedule a time for the system to wake up automatically, start applications automatically when you log in, delete all files in a folder, send emails automatically, etc. Are all things you can do with Task Scheduler in almost any modern version of Windows.
Task Scheduler in Windows 10
Even if practically nothing has changed and in Windows Vista it looks exactly the same as in Windows 10, in the latest version of Microsoft’s system, the Task Scheduler does not execute some commands if the new battery saving mode is active. It is basically the only difference between Windows 10 and the other versions of Windows.
For that reason you should bear in mind that when the battery mode is active, a scheduled task will not be carried out whether to start when the computer is idle or performing automatic maintenance, or whether the task is not scheduled to run when the user is logged in.
How to schedule tasks
Press the start button and type “schedule tasks“or” task scheduler “, although the results seem different, they both open the same main window of the tool. The first thing you will notice for sure is how retro, boring and apparently complicated the interface of this program looks, but it is not so complicated.
The Task Scheduler has three columns of information. On the left panel there is a list of folders where the scheduled tasks are organized, in the middle is the summary of the Task Scheduler with all those currently active, and on the right is the Actions panel that gives you access fast to frequent items.
To create a new task you must click on Action and then in Create basic task. The “Create task” option is a bit more advanced, it has no wizard and lets you create the task directly from the properties panel. So, to start we will use the wizard. Assign a name and description to your task and click next.
Now you must choose when you want the task to start. It can be daily, every week, every month, only once, when the equipment is turned on, when a user logs in, or when a specific event is recorded. This is the trigger.
Now you must choose the action, which in my case is start a program. The options to send an email or display a message can be chosen, but being deprecated in Windows 10, the task scheduling will not be successful. Yes, it doesn’t make sense for them to appear there.
The next is examine the folders on your computer in search of the path to the program you want to run. You can do it easily if you have a shortcut on the desktop, just look for the icon of your program, right click on it, then on properties and copy the Destination path.
Finally you will see a summary message about your task, if you check the box “Open the Properties dialog for this task when clicking Finish” you will have access to many more options. It’s the same panel that would appear if you created a task without using the wizard.
Your task will now appear in the Active Tasks list. If you double click on it you will be able to access its properties but you will not be able to change anything. In order to edit the properties of an already scheduled task you must select it and then in the actions panel on the right, click on that same option.
From the properties you can add more triggers and actions to the same task, you can change the group or user that will execute the task, you can give administrator privileges to a task, you can change certain conditions regarding the inactivity of the equipment, the current level, or the network connection, you can activate a history and several things more.
Schedule a task using a script
Just as you can schedule the start of a specific program that is installed in Windows, you can schedule the execution of a command through the use of a script. To give you an example we will use this idea from How to Geek that lets us program the automatic deletion of all the files in a folder every so often.
This might come in handy for a folder like Downloads. If you accumulate a lot of things there that you have no use for later, schedule a task to clean it maybe once a week, it could come in handy.
Open Windows Notepad or a text editor like Notepad ++ (if you have it installed) and paste the following code into a new document:
REM Remove files older than 30 days
forfiles /p "C:UsersTuNombreDeUsuarioDescargas" /s /m . /c "cmd /c Del @path" /d -30
The first line is just a description of the task “Remove files older than 30 days”, you can change this if you wish. In the path of the folder you must replace the text with your Windows username and the folder you want to clean, we have put the Downloads, but you you can change the route for whatever you want.
The number 30 refers to the days that must pass before a file can be deleted. You can change the number for whatever you want too. Now save the document with the following name: CleanArchives.bat. Or whatever comes to mind, as long as the extension is .bat.
Open the Task Scheduler, create a new basic task and give it a name and description, choose the frequency you prefer to trigger the task, select the Action Start a program, and when you click on browse find the .bat file you just created. Click next, and then finish.
As you can see, the Task Scheduler can be very useful, and if you find its possibilities interesting, you can learn about other things to automate with it. You can also take advantage of and review all the tasks that the applications you use have programmed on your computer, and if you find something you don’t need, you can always disable it so it doesn’t consume resources. However, it is not recommended that you play with the tasks that Windows itself schedules if you do not know what you are doing, so be careful.