How to Videos: How To Schedule a Task

How To Schedule a Task

This lesson explains how to schedule a task in Windows XP. Being able to schedule a task in Windows gives you a lot of control over your machine. For example, you can set a schedule for backing up files, defragmenting your hard drive, or running anti-virus or anti-spyware scans. The best part is that you can set these tasks to run when you aren't using the computer (i.e., when you are asleep or at work). A scheduled task can be set to run every day, week, month, etc. and at any time of the day.

Tasks are scheduled a little differently on a Windows XP machine vs. a Windows Vista machine, but both are relatively easy to set up.

Windows XP:

  • Go to Start Menu —> Control Panel —> Scheduled Tasks
  • Add Scheduled Task
  • Click Next on the first screen
  • Browse for the application you want to run and select it
  • You can change the name of the task and how often (daily, weekly, monthly) you want to run it. Click Next
  • You can choose which day of the week and what time of day to run the task. If you leave the "Every 1 weeks" the task will run every week. Click Next
  • Enter the name of your computer in uppercase letters (see how to find your computer name), backslash, then the word 'Owner' with a capital 'O'. Then enter the password of the account that you are logged into Windows with currently. If you do not use a password to log into your Windows machine, then you should be able to leave this password area blank. Click Next
  • Click Finish, unless you have to add something to the run line (see the video tutorial)

Windows Vista:

  • Go to Start Menu —> Control Panel —> Administrative Tools —> Task Scheduler
  • On the right under 'Actions', choose "Create Basic Task"
  • Type in a name for the task. Click Next
  • Choose whether you want the task to run daily, weekly, monthly, etc. Click Next
  • If you chose weekly, then the page that next appears asks you to set the start date and time for the task. Then set if you want it to recur every week and on what day of the week it should run. Click Next
  • Choose what you want the task to perform
  • If you chose "Start a Program", then browse for it and select it. You can add arguments if you need to. Click Next
  • Click Finish

You can find your computer's name this way:

  • Right-click on the 'My Computer' or 'Computer' icon on your desktop and select 'Properties'
  • On Windows Vista: scroll down on the main page that appears until you see 'Computer Name'
  • On Windows XP: go to the 'Computer Name' tab and look for 'Full computer name'