Launch Applications & Display Messages with Task Scheduler

December 21, 2010, By Christian Cawley

Using Windows 7 Task Scheduler you can program your computer to behave in certain ways when certain conditions are met. For instance you can instruct it to send an email when someone logs in, or you can program an automatic shut down when the computer is idle and past a certain time of day.

These functions are just the tip of the iceberg of what is achievable with Task Scheduler. You might use it to launch a specific application at a pre-determined time of day or following a particular action, and you can also use Task Scheduler to display a message to you or any other user of your PC.

Schedule an automatic email with Windows 7 Task Scheduler

Launching Applications with Task Scheduler

One of the basic functions of Task Scheduler is to launch an application when certain triggers are activated. This might be to open your desktop calendar software at a certain time each day, for instance, and setting up this instruction is very straightforward.

To begin, open Task Scheduler; this is quickly done in Windows 7 by typing task in the Start > Search box, where the returned results will list Task Scheduler first and all you need to do is click the link to open the utility.

In Task Scheduler, on the Actions pane, select Create Basic Task…. Give the task a name, such as “auto-calendar” (always choose something descriptive) and add a few lines about the task’s intended function.

Click Next to continue, and select a suitable time for running the application. If we stick with the idea of a calendar tool running at the same time daily, choose the Daily radio button; when you click Next you will be given the option to specify a time, such as 12 noon. Clicking Next again will take you to the Action options, so select Start a program and click Next where you can then Browse for the required application.

Finally, click Next once again to view the summary; further configuration choices can be made by ticking Open the Properties dialog for this task when I click Finish.

Display a Custom Message with Task Scheduler

You might have a need to display a message to users of the computer when they launch a certain application or login to Windows, and this can also be done with Task Scheduler.

Once again go to Actions > Create Basic Task… and give the task a name and description as appropriate. Click Next to proceed – the trigger tab is vital here as it allows you to specify when you want the message to appear. It might be Daily, Weekly or Monthly at the same time, once only, when the computer starts or someone logs on, or when a specific event occurs.

For instance you might want a message to display when Internet Explorer launches, so select When a specific event is logged and click Next. Against Log: use the drop-down menu to find Internet Explorer, and then click Next again to choose the action, which in this case is Display a message.

Add a title for the message, the message body and click Next. Whenever Internet Explorer is launched, the message will be displayed.

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