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  1. #1
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    Picking the right way to schedule Windows tasks




    LANGALIST PLUS

    Picking the right way to schedule Windows tasks


    By Fred Langa

    Windows' built-in Task Scheduler can automate almost any task, but it's overkill for some jobs. There are simpler alternatives. Plus: How to wash yes, actually wash your keyboards and mice clean, how to avoid a prevalent scam, and news from a reader about do-it-yourself tools to make software portable.


    The full text of this column is posted at windowssecrets.com/langalist-plus/picking-the-right-way-to-schedule-windows-tasks/ (paid content, opens in a new window/tab).

    Columnists typically cannot reply to comments here, but do incorporate the best tips into future columns.

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    Hey Fred, Here is a tip on an alternate use for the Task Scheduler in Vista, 7 and 8...

    There are a number of applications that will run fine on Windows XP or newer, however on Vista or newer, they will not autorun at boot time due to UAC issues. Task Scheduler can usually solve this issue.

    1- Find the path to the executable (if you have added something to the Startup menu folder that isn't working, just check the shortcut's properties before removing it).
    2- Hit your Windows key and type 'Schedule Task' to launch the Task Scheduler. Respond to UAC prompts as needed to gain access.
    3- Create a new Basic Task.
    4- Add a task name and description. Next.
    5- The Task Trigger will be 'When I log on'. Next.
    6- Action will be 'Start a program'. Next.
    7- Paste, Browse or key in the command line to start the program. Next.
    8- Check 'Open the Properties dialog for this task when I click Finish'. Finish.
    9- On the General Tab, check 'Run with highest privileges'. Okay.

    The program is typically failing because the OS isn't displaying the UAC prompt for autorun programs. This trick will be equivalent to clicking on the the UAC prompt to allow the application to run with administrator privileges.

    Second tip- if you want to autorun a program, but don't need it to start immediately, you can speed your boot process by using Task Scheduler to delay the startup for a couple minutes after the user has logged in.
    Jim Johnson
    Michigan's Lake Superior region
    How much snow do we have now?
    Visit Agate Reef

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    Fred,

    Would the practice of converting all/most apps to portable exes and using them on your computer help clean up and control the size of the registry? It definitely would compartmentalize apps and make it easier to uninstall and remove without leaving residuals. Please discuss pros and cons.

    Thank you.

    Rich Hulse
    Orlando, FL

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    Regarding Reveton....we've seen this bug a couple times a week for the last few months at my little shop. Booting to Safe mode doesn't get you past the bug...for a while we could boot into "Safe Mode with Command Prompt" then launch explorer.exe, but the latest version of Reveton (Justice Department) works there, too.

    So, the best resolution we've found is an offline scanner such as Windows Defender Offline or Kaspersky Rescue Disk. It's usually an easy bug to eradicate, but many of the systems we work on are also loaded with other malware. Sometimes lots of other malware.

    -John

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    2 Star Lounger
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    So where is Fred's email address anyway? I have looked all over the place and just don't see it.

  6. #6
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    I prefer a simple batch file which runs the sagerun cleaner then shuts the PC down with shutdown.exe. Either that or run sagerun from the Startup folder.

    I can't think of anything simpler than those.

  7. #7
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    Fred, my issue relates to the Task Scheduler, but in reverse. Every Sunday, between 1:55 pm & 4:00 pm, several icons referring to external drives, disappear if I'm not connected to my network at home. I have tried to identify which item is doing it, by looking back at the timeframe, but there is so much activity and no clue to what the tasks are doing.

    In the past, I've tried to remember to run restore point before 2:00 and then run a restore when the icons disappear. Easier said than done. I'm visiting grandkids in Roanoke this week, and naturally, I didn't think run the restore point, so now I have to wait until I get home, create shortcuts for them, and then change the icon to my desired viisuals. In the overall scheme of things, it's a small problem. But it's a real Pain in the you know where.

    I have a SONY Vaio laptop, running Windows 7 Home Premium x64 Service Pack 1.

    Thank you

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    Scheduling tasks that require admin privileges

    This is something that has bugged me since installing Windows 7 with separate admin and user accounts.

    As often recommended by Windows Secrets, I normally log on as a standard user. If I truly want to make a system change, update a program, etc., I am happy to get a prompt for an admin password.

    Where it first became annoying was with TrueCrypt. I wanted it to run at startup so I could (or not) enter a password to mount my favorite volumes. Windows 7 required me to enter an admin password first, just to start up the TrueCrypt program. I futzed and futzed, posted questions online, and one day TC started running as I'd hope. I no longer needed to enter an admin password. Unfortunately, I had tried so many different approaches that I have no idea which one solved the problem.

    Now I have the same problem with a VPN loader program. I want this to run at startup or logon, before my email and browsers in my Startup group load. I am getting that damn prompt for an admin pw before the VPN program will run.

    I have "start at logon" checked within the program. I tried putting the program into my Startup group. I tried logging on as an admin and using Scheduler to start it at logon. Nothing has gotten me out of the admin pw prompt. The publisher says it knows of no workaround.

    Anyone know how to do this? The program is PIA_manager from Private Internet Access, but I think the issue is more generalized than just this program.

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    Cleaning Keyboards

    While I've known guys to fill bathtubs with water and do 30 keyboards at a time, I'm a bit leery unless I know the keyboard guts. One keyboard had a plastic sheet on top of the board underneath the keys that trapped water- I had to find a way to dry out between the two before the kb would work again. Some other thoughts:I turn keyboards upside down and spray a mild cleaning solution up toward the keys. I then use a paintbrush to work it in and around keys, and then rinse with water from a spray bottle. That way, not so much water gets in the keyboard. And if the keys are exceptionally dirty, I take a picture of the layout, then pop the keys off. It's easy to clean inside, and I wash the keys individually. Setting the keyboard upside down on a food can in front of a forced air heat/cool vent works really well to speed drying. A box fan can work, too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Harris Guilmette View Post
    Fred, my issue relates to the Task Scheduler, but in reverse. Every Sunday, between 1:55 pm & 4:00 pm, several icons referring to external drives, disappear if I'm not connected to my network at home. I have tried to identify which item is doing it, by looking back at the timeframe, but there is so much activity and no clue to what the tasks are doing.

    In the past, I've tried to remember to run restore point before 2:00 and then run a restore when the icons disappear. Easier said than done. I'm visiting grandkids in Roanoke this week, and naturally, I didn't think run the restore point, so now I have to wait until I get home, create shortcuts for them, and then change the icon to my desired viisuals. In the overall scheme of things, it's a small problem. But it's a real Pain in the you know where.

    I have a SONY Vaio laptop, running Windows 7 Home Premium x64 Service Pack 1.

    Thank you
    The newsletter authors seldom post in the fourms. You'll get a much better response if you post in the Windows 7 forum.

    Joe

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    Harris Guilmette (2013-02-15)

  12. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by RandySea View Post
    This is something that has bugged me since installing Windows 7 with separate admin and user accounts.

    As often recommended by Windows Secrets, I normally log on as a standard user. If I truly want to make a system change, update a program, etc., I am happy to get a prompt for an admin password.

    Where it first became annoying was with TrueCrypt. I wanted it to run at startup so I could (or not) enter a password to mount my favorite volumes. Windows 7 required me to enter an admin password first, just to start up the TrueCrypt program. I futzed and futzed, posted questions online, and one day TC started running as I'd hope. I no longer needed to enter an admin password. Unfortunately, I had tried so many different approaches that I have no idea which one solved the problem.

    Now I have the same problem with a VPN loader program. I want this to run at startup or logon, before my email and browsers in my Startup group load. I am getting that damn prompt for an admin pw before the VPN program will run.

    I have "start at logon" checked within the program. I tried putting the program into my Startup group. I tried logging on as an admin and using Scheduler to start it at logon. Nothing has gotten me out of the admin pw prompt. The publisher says it knows of no workaround.

    Anyone know how to do this? The program is PIA_manager from Private Internet Access, but I think the issue is more generalized than just this program.
    The newsletter authors seldom post in the fourms. You'll get a much better response if you post in the Windows 7 forum.

    Joe

  13. #12
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    Group Policy Editor for Scheduling Tasks

    Group Policy Editor is not available in Home Editions of Vista and Windows 7. Without the snap-in, how does one access the GPE? I only ask this rhetorically. Fortunately, there are three or more other ways, the easiest of which for CCleaner is within the program.

    Unfortunately, it is desirable to clean on shutdown in my opinion, as anything which may be trying to make unwanted changes to Windows, but which is still not installed, may become embedded during shutdown. (This process is similar to how Windows Updates install during the reboot phase of running the updater.) Hence the advantage of cleaning up all the junk before shutting down Windows. I do this manually, but the methods to automate the procedure look attractive.
    Last edited by bobprimak; 2013-03-01 at 03:35.
    -- Bob Primak --

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    Scheduling tasks that require admin privileges - SOLVED

    JoeP517, thanks for reminding me to check the Windows Seven forums. I got several answers to my question. The discussion there links to an article Elevated Program Shortcut - Create for a Standard User.

    It requires a series of steps but only once. You end up with a shortcut to your program that will run while logged in as a User without reentering an admin password. You can use it manually, or put it into your Startup group.

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