If you need to run the same programs on a regular basis, you may want to check out Window XP’s Scheduled Tasks feature. With Scheduled Tasks, you can run a script, program, or even open a document automatically. You can set it to run every day, weekly or on the days you specify. For example, I need to check our discussion forum every morning, so I wanted to see if I could get Windows to open up all our Web sites for me.
To run Task Scheduler, click Start|Settings|Control Panel and double-click the Scheduled Task icon. In the window that appears, double click Scheduled Task to run the Wizard. Click Next to get started. Now find your browser in the list of applications, such as Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox.
Click the program name select it and now click Next. In the next screen you need to give your task a name and tell Windows when you want it to run. In my case, I’m calling my task LE Sites and I want it to run when I log onto my computer. In the next screen you type your log on password. In the final screen, you see an overview of what Windows plans to do. Make sure you click the box that says, “Open advanced properties for this task when I click Finish” and click the Finish button.
In the advanced properties, you need to add the sites you want to open on the Run line. Right now, it says:
After that, you put in a list of the web sites you want to open. For example, in my case the line looks like this:
C:PROGRA~1MOZILL~1firefox.exe www.logicalexpressions.com forum.logicalexpressions.com blog.logicalexpressions.com
Make sure there is a space in between each site URL. When you finish the Wizard, you are returned to the Scheduled Task screen. If you want to check and make sure your task works, right click it in the list and choose Run. I tried it out and each site magically opened in a new Firefox tab.
Scheduled Tasks can be used for basic computer maintenance as well. For example, if you aren’t very good about remembering to defragment your hard disk, set up a Scheduled Task. You won’t find the Defragmenter program in the list, so you need to click the Browse button and go to C:WINDOWSsystem32defrag.exe. Once you have figured out how to use Scheduled Tasks, you might think of all types of things it can do for you, such as open documents automatically or even back up your hard disk. If it’s a program on your computer, you can probably make it run automatically.