How to use the Task Manager in Windows 7 Professional
This is VERY troublesome. There are numerous comments and
suggestions in various forums by frustrated users unable successfully to fight their way through the myriad of options that
do not work seamlessly. What worked so easily under XP Professional seems hopelessly complex and difficult under Windows 7
Professional. However, after much experimentation I have finally got a Windows 7 machine to do what it is supposed to. I'd
like to share my findings with others in order to help (hopefully) reduce their time finding the solution...
running a machine to collect data from a weather station and marine thermal monitoring equipment every few minutes using RF
links with an Arduino board controlling transmitter and receiver. The data arrives in the computer via a serial/usb dongle on
the back of the radio. Every 20 minutes the incoming data is dumped into a file, the file is closed and then a new file
opened for the next load of data. At the end of each 24 hour cycle, a suite of 11 programs are run in sequence to massage all
the daily files, reformat them, carry out analysis at various levels, rewrite some html files, produce graphs, and then the
final task is to upload revised html files and images to a server for a web page. The system is designed to run 24 hours a
day and 365 days a year without interruption.
There are at least three things which do interrupt the machine, and
it is therefore advisable to disable these functions. They are:
1: Power outages. I live in an area where there
are frequent outages. Usually these only last a few minutes, but sometimes they last much longer. It is essential to have an
UPS to provide power in these cases. I use a 1000 VA/600 watt Dynamix, which in theory (specifications) could provide up to
100 minutes backup (unlikely).
2: Disable automatic windows updates, which occasionally reboots the system
without permission from the user.
Never Check for updates
3: Disable Power saving protocol, such as sleep, monitor off, etc.
(choose) High Performance
Change Plan settings
- On Battery Plugged in
Dim 5 minutes Never
Display Off 10 minutes Never
Sleep computer Never Never
4: Turn off the display when the PC is running to save
the screen from pixel damage.
5: Most of the problems with obtaining successful use of the Task Scheduler in
Windows 7 arise from the UAC (User Account Control) being a lot more strict than in XP-Professional, and in particular
security relating to blank passwords. In XP-Pro it is possible to undo this password requirement, which makes things a lot
simpler. The method for doing this in Windows-7 is similar to XP-Pro, and this is how it is done.
type regedit (click OK)
Open up the + for HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE
Open up the + for System
Open up the + for Current control set
Open up the + for Control
Double click LimitBlankPasswordUse
change the 1 to 0 (Hex)
6: Unfortunately, unlike with XP-Pro, undoing the blank password
requirement is not the end of the matter with Windows 7 passwords. It is necessary to provide a password for each task in the
task scheduler to function. This has a number of unfortunate implications, such as restricting access within your home
network. However, it must be done. Here is how:
Create a password for your account
***** (enter twice)
NB: One can also remove your password later which is kind of Windows 7.
7: Under XP-Pro when a
program, say TIDES.EXE, was entered into the task scheduler, the scheduler was clever enough to understand that any input
files that were required or output files produced would reside in the same folder as TIDES.EXE unless the code inside the EXE
file had specified otherwise. Not so, for Windows-7. It has been necessary for me to revise all my pascal code to specify
full pathnames for every file opened or closed by the software, and recompile the code. It is also necessary fully to specify
pathnames for any BAT files that you want the task scheduler to run. For example, a typical BAT file will have to look like
and inside the cfg file all input and output files will also require full pathnames. This seems extremely stupid.
8: Gaining adequate privilege for a task is the next problem. With windows explorer, navigate to the EXE file you want to
run by autopilot, and right click on it, and then click on properties.
One at a time allow "Full control" for each of
9:Finally, we have reached the point where one can install a task in the Task Scheduler.
Create a basic task
Name: enter something, eg : "Update Tidal Predictions", and click Next
Select Trigger daily, and click Next
Select a starting date, the regular time, and 1 day, and click Next
Start a program, and click Next
Browse to the exe file, eg D:SEAWATERTIDES.EXE, and click Open
10: Oh, No, not quite finished yet. It still wont run. You need now to:
Highlight your task "Update Tidal Predictions" and click Properties
Select Run whether user is logged on or not
Select Run with highest privileges
Select Configure for Windows 7
Enter password *****
Now at last you really are finished. If you have several tasks (I have 11, spaced every 3 minutes at 1am every day), you need
to repeat all of this for each task.