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How to Schedule Maintenance Tasks in Windows 7

Every computer requires regular maintenance, just like every car does. The best way to ensure that everything gets done when it should is to schedule maintenance tasks ahead of time so that Windows 7 can do the work for you. You can use the Windows Task Scheduler to keep your PC running at its best by scheduling it to defragment ("defrag") your computer, run backups, and more.

  1. Choose Start→Control Panel→System and Security and then click Schedule Tasks in the Administrative Tools.

    The Task Scheduler dialog box appears.

  2. Choose Action→Create Task.

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    The Task Scheduler dialog box opens.

  3. Enter a task name and description. Choose when to run the task.

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    You can choose to have the task performed when you’re logged on, or whether you’re logged in or not. You can choose whatever name you want — it's only there so you can find it more quickly if you ever need to come back and alter your settings. The description is there to let you (and anyone else on the computer) know exactly what the task is supposed to do.

  4. Click the Triggers tab and then click New. Choose a criterion in the Begin the Task drop-down list. Click OK.

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    Use the settings to specify how often to perform the task as well as when and at what time of day to begin.

  5. Click the Actions tab and then click New. In the New Action dialog box, choose the action that will occur from the Action drop-down list.

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    These include starting a program, sending an e-mail, or displaying a message. An action-specific dialog box appears. For example, if you want to send an e-mail, you get an e-mail form to fill in.

  6. Fill in the necessary information on the context-specific dialog box and click OK.

  7. (Optional) Set specific conditions on the Conditions tab.

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    You can use these options to set conditions in addition to those that trigger the action. These options can, for example, help you conserve battery power or keep an action from slowing down your computer if you're actively using it.

  8. Click the Settings tab and adjust settings that control how the task runs.

  9. After you complete all settings, click OK to save the task.

    If you like a more wizard-like interface for building a new task, you can choose the Create Basic Task item from the Action menu.

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