Scheduling tasks when Win 2K computer is inactive

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CarolinaBill

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How can I schedule maintenance jobs for periods when a Win2K computer is inactive or "userless" (i.e. between periods when one user logs off and another user logs on at Ctrl-Alt-Del logon window)?

Two other men and I are responsible for administering and maintaining a network of public use Win2K computers in a retirement community. We have five computers available for use by residents of the community who have been specificially authorized by the issuing of a username and a password by the administrators. These resident-use computers are linked to a large central server that stores all their settings, e-mail messages, and other documents but each individual computer stores the programs and data needed to operate that computer. We would like to be able to schedule routine operations such as defragmentation (we use Diskeeper Pro for this), Microsoft's Spyware scan, etc. at a convenient time and with a minimum of direct action by the administrators. While 5 computers make a small network, these tasks all involve action on each of the separate computers and it is time-consuming and cumbersome if we have to go manually from each computer to the next and run the maintenance jobs. On the otherhand, when we try to use, for example, Diskeeper's schedule for automatic defragmentation at night when no one is using the computers, we run into the problem that it doesn't run when the computer is without a user.

Is there some way of activating or waking the computers in off hours to do these jobs? We can't start a job at the end of a day logging on as "Administrator" and then depend upon the next user logging off from that the next morning and logging on under their own name. All of our users are senior citizens and many of them are quite elderly and are barely computer literate enough to enter a username and password and open Outlook Express to read and send their e-mail. We ask users to log out as user and then leave the computers on in standby condition to avoid the long delay of rebooting whenever someone wants to use them.

Any suggestions of settings or software packages will be appreciated.
 

JohnWill

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Oct 19, 2002
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If you schedule the jobs using an account with a non-blank password, I'm pretty sure they'll run, even with nobody logged on. The scheduled task doesn't need to run under the same account as is logged on. Scheduler will also wake a computer from standby as an option. What have you tried with these machines?
 

CarolinaBill

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Jan 1, 2006
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196
Thanks to your suggestion to look further in the Scheduling Tasks application in Control Panel I noticed for the first time the setting to Wake the computer to start the task and I have now checked that. I have been able to start a virus scan while the computer is in Standby condition, but have not yet been able to defragment using Diskeeper. I am not too concerned about that just yet, since it may be just a matter of fine-tuning the choice of actions to take when it is start. I still have not been able to start a task when there is no user logged on. I have tried setting the AT Service Account configuration at the Advanced menu at System Account and using the account of an authorized user to no avail. However, as I re-read your message, I note that you suggest using a non-blank password. I have been trouble-shooting on my home computer where I don't normally require the use of a password, and so my AT Service Account configuration was correspondingly set at a blank password. I will try setting a specific non-blank password for this purpose and report back.
 

JohnWill

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Oct 19, 2002
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106,429
You must use a password or the scheduler gets annoyed with you. :) Of course, since the account can be one just to run tasks, the password shouldn't annoy you much. :)

FWIW, all my machines in the lab have passwords, but I configure them to logon without any intervention, it's not difficult to set them up to do that.
 

CarolinaBill

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Jan 1, 2006
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196
Our community computers all require passwords so using one to schedule is no problem. I was just checking out the scheduliing on a home computer that required no password. Adding a password took care of me nicely. I just have to tweak a couple programs to operate the way I want them to when they start up on schedule.

Thanks and goodby
 
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