Today, i came across an article on lifehacker.com (see link below) that reminded me of this little utility that comes with Windows - Windows Task Scheduler. It has always been sitting in your Control Panel. To find it go to Start > Settings > Control Panel > Scheduled Tasks. See screenshot on the right.
The task scheduler allows you to run tasks (i.e. programs) to be run at specific times of the day. It also allows you to specify a frequency (eg. just once, daily, every 3 days, once a year and so on) and some additional criteria like waking up your computer if required (ignore this if you haven't discovered "sleep" and "wakeup" yet).
But a word of warning. If you havent done this before, make sure you understand the process well. I would specifically advise against starting with things like deleting temporary files, etc. You could end up deleting half your hard disk if you make a mistake. I would advise starting with simple tasks like defragment your harddisk, automating your spyware scan or something similiar. For exact steps, please refer to the articles mentioned at the bottom of this post.
With a bit of practice, i was able to automate about 50% of my routine tasks within the first hour. At the end of yesterday, i was able to automate the following:
- Defragmenting my harddisk(s) with PowerDefragmenter.
- Deleting Firefox Cache (nope, havent forgotten IE. Just stopped using it)
- Running the Windows Diskcleanup utility.
- Scanning for spywares (or Anti-spyware scan)
- Virus scan (but my Antivirus does this for me automatically these days)
- Download a few standard files from standard locations
- and so on..
And finally, for fellow UNIX-lovers, at and cron have been doing this for years!
- Microsoft - How to schedule tasks in Windows XP
- Lifehacker.com - Using Windows Scheduled tasks
- Microsoft - How to Automate the Disk Cleanup Tool in Windows XP
- WinXPtutor.com - Using the task scheduler to schedule the computer to shutdown and restart at specific times.
- codeproject.com (For Programmers) - Harnessing the Windows Task scheduler