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Maintaining Desktop Health : Using Task Scheduler (part 3) - Creating New Tasks

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4/22/2013 5:44:07 PM

6. Creating New Tasks

Before you create a task, you should create a new folder under the Task Scheduler Library to store the new task. To create a new Scheduled Tasks folder, follow these steps:

1.
Select the Task Scheduler Library and either right-click and then select New Folder or click New Folder in the Actions pane.

2.
Enter the name of the new folder and click OK to complete creation of the new subnode.

3.
Select the new folder to start creating a new task.

You can create tasks by using the Create Basic Task Wizard, or by manually using the Create Task interface. To create a new task using the Create Basic Task Wizard, follow these steps:

1.
Right-click the folder you created to store your tasks and select Create Basic Task to display the Create Basic Task Wizard, or select Create Basic Task in the Actions pane.

2.
Enter the name of the task, provide an optional description, and then click Next.

3.
On the Task Trigger page, specify when you want the task to start and then click Next. Some choices may require additional information to further define the trigger.

4.
On the Task Action page, specify an action for your task to perform and then click Next to specify action details.

5.
Options displayed on the next page depend on the action you selected on the previous page.

6.
After specifying the appropriate action details, click Finish to create the task and close the wizard.

To create a new task manually, follow these steps:

1.
Select the folder that the task will reside in and either right-click the folder and select Create Task or select Create Task in the Actions pane. Either action will display the Task Properties dialog with several tabs for the different task details. The General tab defines general information about the task:

2.
In the Name text box, enter a name for the task.

3.
In the Description text box, you can enter an optional task description or leave the box entry blank.

4.
Under Security options, select the appropriate options for the task:

  • By default, the task will run under the security context of the currently logged-on user. To select a different security context, click Change User Or Group.

  • Select either Run Only When User Is Logged On or Run Whether User Is Logged On Or Not. If you select Run Whether User Is Logged On Or Not and check the box Do Not Store Password, the task will use S4U and will not be able to access any resources outside the local computer.

  • Select Run With Highest Privileges if the task must run with the highest privileges that the specified user account can obtain. If left unchecked, and if the user account is an administrative account, the task will run under User Account Control (UAC) with partial privileges.

5.
To hide the task from view by default, select the Hidden check box. You can still view hidden tasks by opening the View menu and selecting Show Hidden Tasks.

6.
By default, tasks are configured for Windows Vista, Task Scheduler compatibility. For backward compatibility, the list allows you to select Windows Server 2003, Windows XP, or Windows 2000 to define a task that is compatible with Task Scheduler v1.0.


Defining Triggers

The Triggers tab shown in Figure 3 allows users to view and configure one or more triggers that will launch the task. To define a new trigger, click the New button. To edit an existing trigger, select the trigger in the list and click Edit. To delete an existing trigger, select the trigger and click Delete.

Figure 3. Create New Trigger user interface.

In the New Trigger dialog, the Begin The Task drop-down list allows you to configure a task to begin based on the following trigger types:

The following sections explain trigger types and their corresponding settings in detail.

On A Schedule Trigger

The On A Schedule trigger configures the task to start on a defined schedule. Selecting the On A Schedule trigger type in the Begin The Task list displays the controls in the Settings group box to configure schedule parameters. Table 2 describes these controls.

Table 2. On A Schedule Trigger Settings
SettingDescription
One timeConfigures the task to run once at the specified date and time
DailyConfigures the task to run on a schedule based on days
WeeklyConfigures the task to run on a schedule based on weeks
MonthlyConfigures the task to run on a schedule based on months
Universal TimeConfigures the task to run using UTC instead of the local time

At Log On Trigger

The At Log On trigger allows you to define a task to run when someone logs on to the computer. Selecting the At Log On trigger type in the Begin The Task list displays the controls in the Settings group box to configure schedule parameters. Table 3 describes these controls.

Table 3. At Logon Trigger Settings
SettingDescription
Any UserConfigures the task to .start at logon of any user
Specific User Or GroupConfigures the task to start at logon of the specified user or group.
<domain\user>Read-only display of the currently selected user or group.
Change User Or GroupLaunches the standard Windows Select User Or Group dialog box to allow the user to change the selected user or group. If the user makes a different selection in the dialog and clicks OK to accept, the <domain\user> read-only text box should change to display the new selection.

At Startup Trigger

This trigger causes the task to run when the computer starts up. The only settings for this trigger are the advanced settings described in the Advanced Settings section later in this section.

On Idle Trigger

The On Idle trigger configures the task to run when the computer becomes idle.

On An Event Trigger

The On An Event trigger type allows a user to define a task to execute on a specified Event Log event. To define the event trigger, the Settings group box provides two options : the Basic option allows for simple selection of a single event to be used as a trigger (by choosing the log, source and event ID identifiers for the event). The Custom option allows defining a more complex event filter by providing the New Event Filter button. Click the button to launch the Event Filter dialog (same as in Event Viewer) and define a more detailed event filter by time, level, source and so on.

At Task Creation/Modification Trigger

Selecting the At Task Creation/Modification trigger type in the Begin The Task list configures the task to start immediately when it is created or modified. No other condition is required and no further settings are displayed for this trigger.

On Connection To or Disconnect From User Session Triggers

The user session triggers cause a task to run when a user session is connected to or disconnected from the local computer or from a remote desktop connection. For example, when you connect to a user session on the local computer by switching users on the computer, this trigger will cause the task to run. Another example that can trigger a task to run is when a user connects to a user session by using the Remote Desktop Connection program from a remote computer. The trigger’s settings allow you to specify that the task should be triggered when any user connects or disconnects to a user session or when a specific user or user group member connects or disconnects.

Selecting the On Connection To User Session or the On Disconnect From User Session trigger types in the Begin The Task list displays the controls listed in Table 4 in the Settings group box.

Table 4. On Connection To or Disconnect From User Session Trigger Settings
SettingDescription
Any UserConfigures the task to start when any user makes a connection to a user session.
Specific User Or GroupConfigures the task to start when the specified user or group makes a connection to a user session.
<domain\user>Read-only display of the currently selected user or group.
Change User Or GroupLaunches the standard Windows Select User Or Group dialog box to allow the user to change the selected user or group. If the user makes a different selection in the dialog and clicks OK to accept, the <domain\user> read-only text box should change to display the new selection.
Connection From Local ComputerConfigures the task to start when the specified user connects locally.
Connection From Remote ComputerConfigures the task to start when the specified user connects remotely.

On Workstation Lock or Unlock Triggers

Selecting the On Workstation Lock or the On Workstation Unlock trigger type in the Begin The Task list displays the controls listed in Table 5 in the Settings group box.

Table 5. On Workstation Lock and Unlock Trigger Settings
SettingDescription
Any UserConfigures the task to start when any user locks or unlocks the workstation.
Specific User Or GroupConfigures the task to start when the specified user or member of the specified group locks or unlocks the workstation.
<domain\user>Read-only display of the currently selected user or group.
Change User Or GroupLaunches the standard Windows Select User Or Group dialog box to allow the user to change the selected user or group. If the user makes a different selection in the dialog and clicks OK to accept, the <domain\user> read-only text box should change to display the new selection.

Defining Actions

When you create a task, you must configure one or more actions to run a program, script, or batch file, send an email or pop up a message when your task starts. The Actions tab allows you to define, view or modify actions for this task. To configure actions, click the Actions tab and then click New to display the New Action dialog, as shown in Figure 4.

Figure 4. Create New Action – Start a Program.


To configure an action to start a program, script, or batch file, follow these steps:

1.
Open the Action list and then select Start A Program to display configuration options shown in Figure 4.

2.
In the Settings group box, under Program/Script, provide the path to the program or script or select Browse to choose a program, script, or batch file on the local computer.

3.
If the directory that contains the program, script, or batch file is not included in the local computer path, enter the starting directory in the Start In text box.

4.
If the program, script, or batch file requires additional arguments to be passed to it at launch, enter these arguments in the Add Arguments (Optional) text box.

To configure an action to send e-mail, follow these steps:

Open the Action list and select Send An E-mail to display the configuration options:

In the Settings group box, enter the required information listed in Table 6.

Table 6. Send E-Mail Settings
SettingDescription
FromSpecifies the e-mail address of the sender.
ToSpecifies one or more e-mail addresses for recipients. When you enter multiple addresses, separate each address with a semicolon (;).
SubjectSpecifies a subject for the e-mail.
TextAllows the user to enter a formatted message to be included in the content of the e-mail.
AttachmentDisplays a File Open dialog that allows the user to select one or more files to attach to the e-mail.
SMTP ServerAllows the user to enter the DNS or NETBIOS name for the SMTP server to be used to send the e-mail.

Note

To configure the task to pop up a message, choose Display A Message in the Action drop-down list, then enter a title and a message to be displayed when the task runs.


Defining Conditions

The Conditions tab displays different conditions for running tasks and allows you to define settings for these conditions. If you do not specify condition settings, designated defaults will be applied to the task. Conditions on this page are optional unless you have selected the On Idle trigger type. If you have selected this trigger type, you must configure Idle settings as described in this section.

1.
To configure task conditions, click the Conditions tab and configure the desired options as described in Table 7.



Table 7. Conditions Options
SettingDescription
IdleGroups all conditions related to idle that affect the starting of the task.
Start The Task Only If The Computer Is Idle ForConfigures the task to start only if the computer has been idle for a certain amount of time.
Wait For IdleEnabled only by selecting the Start Only If Computer Is Idle For option; configures how long to wait for the idle condition to be satisfied.

Options in the list include Indefinitely, 1 Minute, 5 Minutes, 10 Minutes, 15 Minutes, 30 Minutes, 1 Hour, and 2 Hours.

Default value: 30 Minutes

You can also enter other values using the following formats:

<ss> s[econds]

<mm>[:<ss>] m[inutes]

<hh>[:<mm>:<ss>] h[ours]
Stop If The Computer Ceases To Be IdleConfigures the task to stop if the computer ceases to be idle. Default value: Checked
Restart If The Idle State ResumesEnabled only by selecting the Stop If Computer Ceases To Be Idle option. Configures the task to restart if the computer re-enters the idle state. Default value: Unchecked
Start The Task Only If The Computer Is On AC PowerConfigures the task to start only if the computer is on AC power and not on battery power. Default value: Unchecked
Stop If The Computer Switches To Battery PowerConfigures the task to stop if the computer switches to battery power. Default value: Unchecked
Wake The Computer To Run This TaskSpecifies that the computer should be brought out of hibernation or standby to run this task. Default value: Unchecked
Start Only If The Following Network Connection Is AvailableSets a condition to run the task only if a specific named network connection is available or if any network connection is available when the task’s trigger is activated. Default value: Unchecked

Defining Settings

The Settings tab displays additional global settings for the task and allows you to define these settings. All settings on this page are optional. If you do not specify these settings, designated default values will be applied to the task.

1.
To configure global settings using the Settings tab, click the Settings tab and configure the desired settings as described in Table 8.

Table 8. Global Settings Defined on the Settings Tab
SettingDescription
Allow Task To Be Run On DemandDefines whether the task supports Run Now functionality that allows tasks to be run on demand from the user interface or command-line utilities. Default value: Checked
Run Task As Soon As Possible After A Scheduled Start Is MissedConfigures the task to run immediately if the service detects that a scheduled activation was missed. For example, the computer was turned off when the trigger condition occurred. Default value: Unchecked
If The Task Is Already Running, Then The Following Rule AppliesConfigures action to be taken if the trigger for a task fires, while an instance of that task is already running. Options include Do Not Start A New Instance, Stop The Existing Instance, Run A New Instance In Parallel, And Queue A New Instance. Default value: Do not start a new instance
If The Task FailsUse this setting to restart a task if the task fails to run. (The last run result of the task was not a success.) The user specifies the time interval that takes place between task restart attempts and the number of times to try to restart the task. Default value: Unchecked
Restart EveryEnabled only by selecting the If Task Fails option. Specifies how often a retry should be attempted.

Options in the list include Indefinitely, 1 Minute, 5 Minutes, 10 Minutes, 15 Minutes, 30 Minutes, and 1 Hour

Default value: 1 Minute

You can also enter other values using the following formats:

<ss> s[econds]

<mm>[:<ss>] m[inutes]

<hh>[:<mm>:<ss>] h[ours]
Attempt To Restart Up ToEnabled only if you select the If Task Fails option. Specifies the number of times to restart the task upon failure (number of retries).
Stop The Task If It Runs Longer ThanConfigures the task to stop if it has been running for longer than the specified time. Default value: Checked
<Execution Time Limit>Enabled only if you select the Stop The Task If It Runs Longer Than check box. Configures the task to be stopped after the specified amount of time specified by Execution Time Limit. Options include 1 Hour, 2 Hours, 4 Hours, 8 Hours, 12 Hours, 1 Day, and 3 Days

Default value: 3 Days

You can also enter other values using the following formats:

<ss> s[econds]

<mm>[:<ss>] m[inutes]

<hh>[:<mm>:<ss>] h[ours]
If The Running Task Does Not End When Requested, Force It To StopIf this setting is selected, the task will be forced to stop if the task does not respond to a request to stop. Default value: Checked
If The Task Is Not Scheduled To Run Again, Delete ItConfigures the task to be deleted if it is not scheduled to run again. Default value: Unchecked
AfterEnabled only if you select the Delete Task option. Specifies the amount of time to wait, after the task completes its last run, before deleting it. Options include Immediately, 30, 90 180, or 365 days.

Default value: 30 Days

You can also enter other values using the following formats:

<ss> s[econds]

<mm>[:<ss>] m[inutes]

<dd> d[ays]

<mm> months
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