How do I schedule commands?

A. Windows NT has a built in scheduler service which enables applications to be started at specified times. To schedule events the schedule service must be started:

  1. From the Control Panel (Start - Settings - Control Panel) start Services
  2. Click Scheduler (or Task Scheduler on Workstation) and click Startup
  3. Select Automatic and click OK
  4. You can now reboot, or just click Start which will start the Scheduler service.
  5. Close the Services Control Applet

The scheduler service only needs to be started on the target machine, not the issuing machine. If the scheduler service is not started on the target machine the error
The service has not been started
will be displayed.

To schedule a command you use the AT utility. AT is used with the following syntax:

at \[<computername>\] <time> \[/interactive\] \[/every:date/day..\] \[/next:date/day..\] <command>
e.g. at \\savmain 22:00 /interactive /every:M,T,W,Th,F sol.exe

The example would start the solitaire game on the SAVMAIN machine at 10:00 p.m. every weekday. The /interactive means the application can interact with the desktop, i.e. the currently logged on user. If /interactive is omitted and the application requires user interaction it will just start and finish instantly.

When a command is submitted it will be given an ID. To delete a scheduled command use:

at \[<computername>\] <id> /delete /yes
e.g. at \\savmain 3 /delete /yes - The /yes skips confirmation of the delete

The above may seem quite a lot to take in if all you want to do is a backup (see Q. How do I schedule a backup? for an example of using AT with a backup), so a utility called WINAT is shipped with the NT Resource Kit that puts a graphical interface to the AT command which you may find easier, however the functionality is the same. The advantage with WINAT is that it automatically starts the Schedule service on the target machine.

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