Creating Batch Files and Using them to Schedule Windows Maintenace Tasks

One of the most effective ways to use command line utilities on a Windows XP system is to add them to a batch file, and then schedule them to run automatically using the Scheduled Tasks tool in Control Panel. Going back to the days of MS-DOS, users have used simple batch files to automate everything from defragmenting a hard disk to doing backups with a utility like XXCOPY.

If you’re not familiar with how batch files work, the good news is that on a basic level, they couldn’t be easier. Think of a batch file as a text file that contains a series of command line statements, such as a command followed by switches. Each command is placed on its own line, and will execute according to the parameters you provide. For example, if you placed the command DEFRAG c: /F into a text file, and then saved the file with a .BAT extension, this command would execute every time you double-clicked on the file.

Scheduling a batch file to run automatically is as simple as walking through the Scheduled Task Wizard accessible in the Scheduled Tasks applet in Control Panel. Schedule your batch files to run automatically according to your needs, and then never worry about manually maintaining your system again!

Author: Dan DiNicolo

Dan DiNicolo is a freelance author, consultant, trainer, and the managing editor of He is the author of the CCNA Study Guide found on this site, as well as many books including the PC Magazine titles Windows XP Security Solutions and Windows Vista Security Solutions. Click here to contact Dan.