How to Schedule Programs to Run Automatically in Windows 7

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It is very convenient to be able to run certain computer tasks like backups on a regular schedule and Windows has a built-in app called "Task Scheduler" to do just that. This tip will describe how to use Task Scheduler in Windows 7.

Gizmo has written previously about using Task Scheduler in Windows XP and much of that discussion applies to Windows 7. However, the Windows 7 version is more versatile and has added options. Also, the interface is different and is shown in the figure below. It is now a snap-in for the Microsoft Management Console.

Windows 7 Task Scheduler

Here is how to schedule a basic task. Screenshots for the various steps can be found at this link.

  1. To open Task Scheduler, enter “sched” (without quotes) in the Start search box
  2. A three-pane console will open as shown in the figure above
  3. In the Actions pane on the right, click “Create Basic Task…”
  4. The Create Task Wizard will open
  5. Enter a name and description for the task
  6. Click “Next” to choose a trigger for the task
  7. The trigger dialog for choosing when the task will run opens
  8. Choose whether to run the task at specified times or when some event occurs
  9. Click “Next”
  10. If you chose a time interval, a dialog to configure the times will open. Make a choice and click “Next”
  11. The “Action” dialog will open. Generally, you will choose “Start a Program”
  12. Click “Next”
  13. The dialog for “Start a Program” will open. Enter or browse to the executable file or script you want to run
  14. If needed, add arguments for your program or script
  15. Click “Next”
  16. The “Summary” window will open where you can check to see if everything was entered as you wished. 
  17. Click “Finish”

And there you have your task, set up and ready to go.

In Windows 7, Task Scheduler supports more options for triggering and scheduling than in Windows XP. If you need to create a task with additional properties, click  “Create Task…’’ instead of “Create Basic Task…” More details are available at this guide or at this link.

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This tips section is maintained by Vic Laurie. Vic runs several websites with Windows how-to's, guides, and tutorials, including a site for learning about Windows and the Internet and another with Windows 7 tips.

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