A task scheduler has to interface with Windows and have the ability to control start-up files so that it can help users manage start-up, shutdowns, program permissions and more. The native Windows Task Manager unfortunately is limited in functionality and only lets users close or end processes. These freeware task managers however do much more such as scheduling one year ahead, setting up impromptu scans, reminders and alarms. They may be free but are definitely more useful than what Windows currently offers as stock edition.
1. Freebyte Task Scheduler
With the Freebyte Task Scheduler, you can automatically start programs at particular periods or pre-defined times or you can schedule programs to run periodically. It is a simple application to use and allows users to set monthly, weekly and also daily start-up applications. Simply choose the application to be run and set the date with time to begin the start-up procedure. It even lets users perform auxiliary tasks such as defragmentation, cleanup and schedule full system scans for the future or even on a periodic basis.
2. System Scheduler FREE Version
The System Scheduler Free Edition lets you close and start programs immediately as well as provide quick reminders as pop-ups. One can choose what keystrokes activate certain apps and at what time. You can even schedule programs sporadically to start for the next one year or schedule programs to close, minimize through automatic key functions. It even lets users include WAV audio alert files for events and allows snoozing for a few minutes. The best feature of this easy to use app is that it is free.
The Z-Cron is a free and robust scheduler capable of handling program start-ups and shutdowns as well as leaving reminders, directory cleaning and shutting down of the computer. Quite similar in design and functionality to the Unix Cron, it is however much more powerful than the Task Scheduler native to Windows. You can even control daily, weekly, monthly and more start-up options but what really makes this an excellent tool is the host of Embedded tools that do everything including setting up alarms, shutting down computer remotely and disconnecting at specified times from the net.
4. Ka Firetask
The Ka Firetask can do many things at once such as automating windows applications, displaying messages through DNM scripts, copy folders and files. It is easy to trigger using hotkeys or by interfacing with the scheduler directly. Hotkeys work for starting applications and monitoring the system. Some other features include popup menus, message boxes, delete, copy and move folders or files.
A no-frills Windows 98 style interface, the Scheduler lets you perform specific tasks at given times of the day. The tasks can range from opening files in default programs to starting a URL in a web browser or restarting and shutting down the computer. The main window remains in the system tray at all times for easy access and lets one alter settings as well as set reminders or the alarm clock.