Scheduled tasks are actually saved tasks that are configured to run at scheduled times. To schedule a task, select the target computers and then choose the command or report that you want to schedule. Configure the task dialog box appropriately and then click the schedule button. A schedule dialog box will be displayed, as seen in Figure 4. You can choose to set the date and time that the task will run and you can specify if it is a repeating task. For repeating tasks, you can specify the frequency of repetition in minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, and even years. Once you have entered the schedule for the task, click Done. You will then need to save the task by clicking Save in the task dialog box. As with saving an unscheduled task, you will be asked to name the task and decide where it will be stored. You will notice, however, that the task will have a clock icon next to its name in the sidebar of Remote Desktop’s main window.
Figure 4 Setting a schedule for a task
You can delete or move a scheduled task as you would any saved task. To change the schedule or to modify the task in any other way, double-click it and then make your changes. Then click Save to save your changes. If you do not have a task server specified in the Remote Desktop preferences, scheduled tasks will be run from the computer where you create them (however, the computer and Remote Desktop must be running for this to occur). If you have designed a task server for your computer, the task will be run from that task server.
Needless to say, scheduled tasks can be extremely helpful in any number of ways. They can be used to ensure that the trash is emptied from computers, ensure that users are logged out at the end of the day (or the end of a class period), and ensure that computers are put into sleep mode at the end of the day and awakened at the beginning of the next day. They can also be used to send regular messages to users, to copy items to computers every night to ensure the same configuration from one day to the next, or to run specified reports on a daily basis that can be used to ensure that hardware hasn’t been removed from computers without permission or to alert you to other acts of theft or sabotage. The variety of commands and reports available to Remote Desktop and the wide variety of ways that they can be used (as discussed in previous installments of this series) makes the combination of scheduled functions almost limitless.