Scheduling Jobs

In order to schedule jobs to run at specific dates and times you must first ensure that the schedule service is running. The schedule service runs automatically with the default Windows NT configuration so unless you (or someone else) has previously disabled this service it should already be running on your system. If it isn't already running then you can start it for this session only by typing net start schedule at a command prompt while logged on with administrator access.

To change the configuration to ensure that the schedule service runs automatically every session, log on with administrator access and click start, settings, Control Panel, and services then find Task Scheduler in the list of services and check that the status and startup options read "started" and "automatic" respectively. Use the startup to change the startup option to "automatic" and the start button to start the service for the current session.

The Schedule service is initially configured to run in the system account on the local computer. When the service runs using this account, there are no restrictions on the jobs that can be executed by the service. These jobs will however have limited network access, because the system account on a local computer is not recognized by other computers. To overcome network access limitations, you can configure the service to run in a user's account. Jobs executed by the service will then be governed by network access of the user's account. To configure the service to run in a user's account log on with administrator access and click start, programs, Administrative Tools (common), and User Manager then give this user's account the "Log on as a service" right on the local computer then log on as the specified user and configure the schedule service to start under this user's account.


To schedule the specific commands and programs to be run on the computer at specified times and dates, you then use the at command. The format of the at command is as follows:

 at [\\computername] [[id] [/delete [/yes]]    or
at [\\computername] time [/interactive] [/every:date[,...] | /next:date[,...]] "command"

Note: If you change the system time at a computer after scheduling a command to run with at, synchronize the at scheduler with the revised time by typing at without options. Scheduled commands are stored in the registry, so scheduled tasks are not lost if you have to restart the Schedule service. The at command requires you be a member of the local Administrator group.


This article written by Stephen Chapman, Felgall Pty Ltd.

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