Our final topic - Task Schedule Tips - is about automation.
In the last topic, we looked at some routine maintenance tasks - Disk Cleanup, Disk Defragmenter, and Check Disk.
Windows has a built-in scheduler, which you can find at;
Start Menu/Programs/ Accessories/System Tools.
When you run it, a Wizard will walk your through the setup process.
The Wizard announces itself with an introductory statement, and invites you to press Next, which you do and then you wait. After a long, l-o-n-g pause, a new screen pops up inviting you to choose the program you wish to automate. You can automate any program, in the sense of getting it to run at an appointed time. Disk Clean and Disk Defragmenter are popular choices. Choose one.
Lets say you choose Disk Cleanup. Having chosen, click Next. Now give the scheduled task a name. In the case of Disk Clean, you will presumably be creating two separate scheduled tasks, one for CDrive, and a second one for DataDrive. (Disk Cleanup cannot handle both drives at once.) For now, lets create one for CDrive, and so we shall call the scheduled task Cleanup_C.
Next, choose a frequency. With this task, once a day or once a week it hardly matters. All that matters is whether your computer is switched on when the task is supposed to run! So lets think about this for a moment.
There are two popular ways of scheduling automated tasks. Choose one.
In addition to, or instead of scheduling tasks at some pre-set time, you can createbatch files to automate complex procedures, and then create shortcuts to make the procedures one-click operations.
So what is a batch file? It is a script (a very small program) that you write using Notepad. To create a batch file, open Notepad, and Save As, giving it a name with a .bat extension. In the file, you type commands that tell Windows what to do.
For our present purposes, lets suppose we want a batch file that will run Disk Cleanup. So we start with the name of the file that runs Disk Cleanup, which is CleanMgr. How do we know this? Simple: we consult Help and Support.
You can also do a search on batch file, and find a useful article which explains lots about creating and using batch files.
Meanwhile, back to our batch file. Having created it using Notepad, typed in a script (the one word cleanmgr - without the inverted commas), and saved it, our next job is to run it, which we can do by either:
In all cases, the Disk Cleanup program will run.
By themselves, there is not all that much you can do with batch files. Combine them with the Task Scheduler and the ability to create shortcuts, and you can create some really useful magic. For instance, between them all, you can set your computer to automatically run CheckDisk on each of your hard disk drives at an appointed time, shutting down and restarting your computer as needed. In combination with suitable software, you can get it to check automatically your computer clock, run some Internet security programs, delete unwanted files, clean your hard disk, and perform a host of other housekeeping chores, all without you ever having to lift a finger!
Project 1: Create a scheduled task to set your Disk Cleanup to run at a time of your choosing. Then wait until it has run, and check that it has doneits work.
Project 2: Create a batch file to shut down and restart your computer. (Hint: The program that shuts down your computer is shutdown.exe, and the command to find out about it is shutdown /?.)
That completes this course on systems administration
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