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TaskRunner Help
Written by WATYF on Wednesday, 21 December 2005 (4769 hits)
Category:

In addition to the TaskRunner Help Document below, you can also get help with TaskRunner by reading the FAQ's, posting a question on the TaskRunner Forum, or emailing WATYF.

 

TaskRunner Help Documentation

Table of Contents:

1) Getting Started...

2) Options Configuration....

3) Task Scheduler...

4) Email Monitor...

5) Web Search...

6) TaskRunner Logs...

 

Getting Started

Hi there. Welcome to the TaskRunner Help documentation. To get started, we'll explain a bit about how TaskRunner works and how to navigate around it. TaskRunner is a systray application. That means it does not have a main "screen", per-se. Instead, it shows up as an icon that sits next to the clock in the Windows Taskbar. Using this icon, you can navigate around the different modules in TaskRunner. To pull up the main TaskRunner menu, right-click on the TaskRunner icon in the systray. You should see the list of available modules (Task Scheduler, Email Monitor, and Web Search) as well as the TaskRunner "Options" menu item. You can click on any of these menu items to activate the corresponding module. Another way to open the modules is to double-click on the systray icon. This opens the default TaskRunner module. You can use the TaskRunner Options to choose which module you would like to be the default.

TaskRunner modules allow you to perform the same actions using many different methods (based on which you prefer). For example, you can add a New Task to the Task Scheduler by using the Main Menu, or a keystroke (Ctrl-N), or a right-click, or a toolbar button. Only one example of how to perform an action will be given in the following Help documentation, but feel free to explore the different ways that you can perform each action.

Options Configuration

The first step in using TaskRunner is to configure it using the main TaskRunner Options. To do this, right click on the TaskRunner icon in your Windows systray and select "Options".

1) The General Tab:

  • Default TaskRunner Module: Here you can choose which TaskRunner module will open when you double-click on the TaskRunner icon in the systray.

  • Run TaskRunner at Startup: Checking this will load TaskRunner whenever you log into Windows.

  • Ask for confirmation when running Tasks manually: Check this if you would like TaskRunner to prompt you for confirmation before running a Task manually.

  • Maintain a Log of all Scheduled Task activity: If this is checked, TaskRunner will keep a log of all Tasks that run, including when they started, what they did, when they ended, and how they ended (successful or failed). The log (TskSch.log) is created in the "logs" folder that resides in the directory where you installed TaskRunner. You can also choose how big the log can get before TaskRunner will back it up. The previous log is kept in a separate file (TskSch.old).

  • When deleting files, move them to the Recycle Bin: Checking this effects how Tasks will handle the deletion of files. File can either be deleted permanently, or moved to the Recycle Bin. PLEASE NOTE: Moving files to the Recycle Bin takes longer than deleting them permanently. So if you check this, your "Local Delete" Tasks, and Tasks where you choose to "Empty folder/Delete obsolete files" will take longer to run.

  • Tasks scheduled to run while TaskRunner was closed: When TaskRunner is closed, the scheduled run-times for some of your Tasks may come and go. When TaskRunner opens, it will look for Tasks that were scheduled to run while TaskRunner wasn't running. If it finds any, you have three options. a) Ask to run: This will prompt you, to see if you want to run the Tasks. b) Always run: This will always run any Tasks that would have run while TaskRunner was closed. c) Don't run: This will do nothing, even if there were Tasks scheduled to run.

2) The Email Tab:

  • If you plan to have TaskRunner send email for any reason (whether it be for Task notifications, or for a "Send an Email" task, etc), then you will have to setup an SMTP server that will be used to send outgoing mail.

  • The "ReplyTo Address" is the email address that will show up in the "From" field in the email that you send. Many SMTP servers require that this be a valid email address that you have rights to (if authentication is required).

  • If your SMTP server requires authentication, then you will have to check the "Use Authentication" box and enter a Username and Password.

  • Check for New Email every X minutes: This option determines how often the Email Monitor will poll your (POP or IMAP) email account to check for new messages.

3) The FTP Tab:

  • Here you should enter the default FTP settings that you would like to use when accessing an FTP server from any of your Tasks. Each individual Task can be setup to access a separate FTP server, but entering a default will allow you to setup the FTP options in your Tasks with a single click. So if there is an FTP server that you will use most (or all) of the time, you can enter it here, and then you won't have to type it in for each Task you create.

  • If your FTP server is anonymous, you can just leave the password blank.

  • For data integrity on different kinds of FTP servers, certain files need to be transferred in ASCII mode, instead of Binary mode. A standard list of ASCII file extensions already exists, but if you have a specific file extension that you would like to have transferred in ASCII mode, then you can add it to the list using the "Add" button. If there is a type that is already on the list that you would like to have transferred in Binary mode, then you can use the "Remove" button to remove it from the list.

4) The Other Tab:

  • Use Windows HotKey shortcuts: These options allow you to setup a keystroke that can be used to open each TaskRunner module (Task Scheduler, Email Monitor, Web Search). These keystrokes will work from anywhere within Windows, even if you don't have any TR modules opened at the time. This option can be disabled, in case it interferes with keystrokes from other applications.

  • Web Search Options: This allows you to set a few options for the Web Search module.

 

Task Scheduler

To open the Task Scheduler, right-click on the TaskRunner icon in your Windows systray and select "Task Scheduler"

1) Working with Tasks: Various Task functions can be performed using the "File" menu or by right-clicking anywhere in the Task list and using the Task context menu. These functions include:

  • Add New Task: Opens a new task window.

  • Delete Task: Deletes the selected Task(s).

  • Clone Task: Opens a new task window which is populated with all the settings of the Task that you are cloning.

  • Task Properties: Opens the properties window for the selected Task.

  • Run Task: Manually starts the selected Task(s) regardless of its schedule or whatever or not it is activated.

  • Abort Task: Immediately cancels the selected Task (if it is running). If the Task is running an executable or opening a file, then that executable or file will also end/exit.

  • Deactivate/Activate Task: This will deactivate a Task so that it will not run according to its schedule. The task will only run if you start it manually, or if you re-activate it.

2) General Task Configuration: The following steps can be configured using the "General" tab of the Task Properties: 

  • Give your Task a name. This can not be the same name as any preexisting Tasks.

  • Select the action that you would like the Task to perform from the "Action" dropdown box.

  • Select a Schedule Type:

    1. Daily: The Task will run at some kind of Daily interval. This includes Tasks run by Hours or Minutes.
    2. Weekly: The Task will run every specified amount of weeks, on the days of the week that you select.
    3. Monthly: The Task will run at a specified time every month.
    4. One-Time: The Task will run at a single specified Date and Time and then will not be scheduled to run again in the future.
    5. On Demand: The Task will have no scheduled run-time at all. It will only run if you manually start it.
    6. ScreenSaver: The Task will run when the screensaver has been on for a specified amount of minutes.

  • Select a Run-Time (if applicable). This is the time of day that the Task will run (or the Date and Time it will run, if you chose a "One-Time" Task)

  • Check the "Also Run At:" boxes if you would like to have the Task run every time TaskRunner starts or exits.

  • Set the Schedule options for your Task (if applicable). This will be Daily, Weekly or Monthly (depending on which Schedule Type you chose). Schedule options include basic settings for running the Task every x Days/Weeks/Months, as well as days of the week you can choose to include (for Weekly) or exclude (for Daily), and "Schedule Windows" which are times during the Day/Week/Month that you can limit the Task to run within.

3) Action Options: The Action Options vary depending on which Action you chose. The following actions are available for configuration:

  • Run Executable/Open File: This Action runs an executable file or opens any other kind of file (using the default application associated with that file).

    1. Chose the "Method" you'd like to use, either "Run Executable" or "Open File".
    2. Enter the full path and filename of the file you'd like to run/open. You can click the "Browse" button to search for files, if you don't know the full path.
    3. For executables, enter the Arguments that you'd like to pass to the executable. You can enter them exactly as you would at a command prompt.
    4. For executables, you can choose whether or not it is a "Web-based" executable. For example, you can use this to trigger a php script that you have on your server. In this case, you would enter a URL in the "File:" field. You can also choose how long to wait before it times-out when trying to trigger the executable. Note: For web-based executables, TaskRunner can not be configured to "wait" for the executable to complete. It simply triggers the executable and the Task ends.

  • Backup/Download/Delete:

    1. Select the Function Type you'd like to perform:

      • Local Backup: This function copies local files or folders into a specified local folder. These files/folders can be on internal or external harddrives, or on any machine that you have access to on your network (if you're on a network). Note: For this type of function, the backup is incremental. That is, files are only backed-up if the file being copied is newer than the file that is already in the backup folder. This avoids unnecessary processing time.
      • FTP Backup: This function copies local files or folders into a specified folder on an FTP server. The files/folders being copied can be on internal or external harddrives, or on any machine that you have access to on your network (if you're on a network).
      • Local Delete: This function deletes local files or folders. These files/folders can be on internal or external harddrives, or on any machine that you have access to on your network (if you're on a network).
      • FTP Delete: This function deletes files/folders on an FTP server.
      • Web Download: This function downloads files from an http (web) server into a local folder. This folder can be on an internal or external harddrive, or on any machine that you have access to on your network (if you're on a network).
      • FTP Download: This function downloads files/folders from an FTP server into a local folder. The target folder can be on an internal or external harddrive, or on any machine that you have access to on your network (if you're on a network).

    2. Use the buttons at the top-right to add or remove files/folders to the list. When adding folders, you can choose to include all of that folder's subfolders, if desired.
      Note: For Web Downloads, when adding files, the URLs must be typed in. When adding a URL, you can use "smart text" to include today's date in the URL. To do this, surround the date syntax with a "\" on each side. Then use the following syntax to include today's date. "M" = 1-digit month. "MM" = 2-digit month. "d" = 1-digit day. "dd" = 2-digit day. "yy" = 2-digit year. "yyyy" = 4-digit year. For example, to download a file from www.test.com/files/ where the filename is "sitebackup-12-20-05.zip", you would enter the following for the Web Download URL: http://www.test.com/files/sitebackup-\MM-dd-yy\.zip This allows you to download date sensitive filenames, usually used when creating website backups.
    3. Choose a "Copy To" folder (if applicable). This is where files will get backed-up/downloaded to. You can click the "Browse" button to search for folders either on your machine, or on the FTP server (depending on the type of function you chose).
    4. "Delete obsolete backup files..." (only for Local Backup): Determines if obsolete files in the target ("Copy To:") folder will be deleted during the backup. This means that only files which no longer exist in the source files/folders will be deleted.
    5. "Empty destination folder before..." (only for FTP Backup and Web/FTP Download): Determines if all the files in the target ("Copy To:") folder will be deleted before the backup starts. This allows you to make sure that obsolete files (that no longer exist in the source files/folders) can be deleted.
    6. "Delete folders (if empty) after clearing files..." (only for Local/FTP Delete): Determines if folders that are empty will be deleted after all files have been cleared from them. This allows you to get rid of subfolders that may be obsolete.
    7. "Apply a filter..." (not available for Web Download): This allows you to apply filters to the function so that only certain kinds of files are included. To add a filter, check the "Apply a filter" box and click the "Add" button. Here you can set what kind of filter it will be ("Inclusive" or "Exclusive") and choose how to determine if the file will be included/excluded: Either by File Name, File Extension, Modified Date, or Created Date (not available for FTP). You can then choose the operator to use: "Equals", "Contains", "Ends With", etc. For text comparisons, enter the text you would like to filter using. For date comparisons, choose the date range you would like to compare against (Today, This Month, 6 Months Ago, etc). Once you have chosen the desired options, click the "Add" button to add the filter to the filter list. If you want to add additional features, chose a logical operator ("AND" or "OR") and setup the next filter. When you are finished adding filters, click the "Done" button.
    8. Check the "Compress files into a zip file..." box if you would like the backed-up/downloaded files to be stored in a zip file. You can add a date-stamp to the zip file if desired, and set the zip compression level.
    9. Check the "Archive the previous X versions" box if you would like to save an archived version of previously backed-up/downloaded files (not available for FTP Backup). This will create archived subfolders in the target folder.
    10. . For FTP functions, enter the FTP information needed to connect to the FTP server. If you have filled in the default FTP settings in the TaskRunner Options, you can just click the "Use Default FTP Authentication" box and these fields will be filled in for you. For anonymous FTP connections, leave the password blank.

  • Perform System Cleanup:

    1. Select a browser you'd like to cleanup after (if desired). For Firefox, you'll need to select the profile to cleanup. Usually there is only one profile in the list, and this will be selected by default. Once you have chosen the browser, select the cleanup options to perform on the browser(s). (i.e. Clear History, Clear Cookies, Delete Temp Files, etc)
    2. Check the "Delete Desktop Shortcuts..." box if you'd like to clean up desktop icons that you haven't used in a certain period of time. Then set the amount of days old the shortcut has to be for it to be deleted.
    3. Check the "Cleanup Desktop Files..." box if you'd like to cleanup files on your desktop that you haven't used in a certain period of time. Set the amount of days old the file has to be for it to be cleaned-up, then choose the type of cleanup action to perform on the file (Delete or Move). If you select "Move files to:", then click the Browse button to select a folder that you'd like to have the files moved to.
    4. Check the "Empty Recycle Bin" if you'd like to have your Recycle Bin cleared when the Task runs.

  • Reminder Notification:

    1. For Reminder Notifications, the message fields will not be activated until you choose which kind of reminder you want to have sent (Email or Pop-up). Go to the "Advanced" tab, and check the "Send the reminder using the following methods" box, then choose which kinds of methods you'd like to send the reminder using. Once you have select Email or Pop-up, you can return to the Action Options tab and enter the messages that you'd like to have included in the Email and/or Pop-up. Note: The email reminder cannot be configured until you setup the SMTP outgoing email options in the TaskRunner Options.

  • Send an Email:

    1. File in the email fields accordingly (To, CC, Subject, ect).
    2. Set the email priority, if desired.
    3. Choose the format that the email will be delivered in. (Plain or HTML) If you choose HTML, then you can use HTML tags when typing your email. To view how your HTML will look, click the "Preview in Browser" button on the right.
    4. Enter the text of you email.
    5. If needed, use the "Add Attachment" button on the right to add attachments to the email.

  • Ping an IP:

    1. Enter the IP address or the host name that you would like to ping.
    2. Choose the amount of bytes to ping the host with.
    3. Set the timeout limit that determines when the ping has failed.
    4. You can use the settings on the Advanced tab to send yourself detailed notifications of successful or failed pings.

4) Advanced Task Configuration:

  • Notifications: There are two kinds of notifications that can be triggered by a Task: "Completed/Ran" or "Failed".

    1. Task Completed/Ran: To send this notification, check the first "Notify me..." box to enable the notification. Then select the type of notification you would like to receive: Email, Pop-up message, or sound. If you choose "Email", you will have to enter an email address. This notification is triggered when the Task ends. If it is a TaskRunner internal action (such as Backups, System Cleanup, etc) then this notification will let you know that the Task completed Successfully. If it is a Run Executable Task, then there is no way for TaskRunner to know if your executable ran into any errors (since the executable can be doing any of a million different things), so in those cases, this notification simply lets you know that TaskRunner was able to start the executable, and that the executable finished running.
    2. Task Failed: To send this notification, check the second "Notify me..." box to enable the notification. Then select the type of notification you would like to receive: Email, Pop-up message, or sound. If you choose "Email", you will have to enter an email address. This notification is triggered when the Task fails to either run, or encounters errors while it was running. For TaskRunner internal actions (such as Backups, System Cleanup, etc) this notification will let you know what errors the Task encountered. For Run Executable Tasks, this notification will simply let you know that TaskRunner was unable to start the executable.

  • Other: Here you can set miscellaneous options pertaining to the Task:

    1. "Wait for Task to complete...": This option will put all other Tasks into a Queue until this Task has completed. Uncheck this option if you want to run other Tasks at the same time as this Task is running.
    2. "Run Task hidden...": This task is only available for Run Executable/Open File. This will cause the Executable to run hidden so that no user interface is visible to the user.
    3. Task Priority: This sets the priority of the Thread that runs the Task. This is used to determine the CPU usage and priority of the Task.

Email Monitor

To open the Email Monitor, right-click on the TaskRunner icon in your Windows systray and select "Email Monitor"

1) Working with Email Accounts: Various account functions can be performed using the "File" menu or by right-clicking anywhere in the Accounts list and using the Account context menu. These functions include:

  • Add New Account: Opens a new account window.

  • Delete Account: Deletes the selected Account(s).

  • Account Properties: Opens the properties window for the selected Account.

  • Read Email: Opens the email client (that you configured) for the selected Email Account.

  • Run Email Check: Manually starts an email check that checks each email account and reports whether or not any have new messages.

2) General Account Configuration: 

  • Give your Account a name. This can not be the same name as any preexisting Accounts. This is simply a display name used to identify the Account.
  • Select the type of mail server that you will be checking. (POP or IMAP) If you're using Gmail or Yahoo POP, then select the appropriate option here. Note: To use Gmail or Yahoo POP, the POP option must be enabled in your Gmail/Yahoo account.
  • Enter the incoming mail server address (i.e. mail.yourdomain.com).
  • Set the Port used to connect to the mail server. Note: This option is set by default to the most common settings. If you don't know your mail server's port, then leave the default value in this field. Only change the port if you know what you're doing.
  • Enter the Username and Password used to connect to your email account.
  • Check the SSL box if your mail server uses a secure connection. Most public ISP email accounts are not SSL. Only enable this option if you know that your mail server uses SSL.
  • Use the "Method" selection box to determine how your email account will be opened when you click the "Read Email" button for this account. You can set this to the default mail client, or a specific application, or to a specific website. If you choose to use a specific application, you can use the "Browse" button to search for the application's executable on your computer.
  • Set the notifications methods used to inform you that new mail has arrived. You can have a Pop-up displayed and/or play a particular sound when email arrived. Use the Browse button to search for sound files.

Web Search

  • To open the Web Search tool, right-click on the TaskRunner icon in your Windows systray and select "Web Search"
  • Select a Search Type from the options at the bottom of the form. This will determine which website the search will be performed on (i.e. Google, eBay, CNN, etc)
  • Enter the search text in the search field. Your last few searches are saved and can be retrieved from the search field by clicking on the dropdown arrow on the right of the field. The number of search that are saved con be configured in the TaskRunner Options.
  • When you've entered the search text, click the "Search" button or just hit the "Enter" key. This will open a new browser window displaying your search results.

TaskRunner Logs

1) A few different logs are kept to monitor the actions and/or errors that occur while TaskRunner is running. Most these logs are accessible from the "View" menu in the Task Scheduler and Email Monitor.

  • TaskRunner Log: This is a general error log kept for miscellaneous errors that might happen. These are non-specific to any particular part of TaskRunner.
  • Task Scheduler Log: This is a running log of all Tasks that run. It shows: 1) The time it started/ended. 2) The name of the Task 3) How it was started (either manually or by the Task Scheduler). 4) How it ended (successful or failed) and 5) Brief details of what kind of Task it was or what the error message was (if an error occurred).
  • Email Monitor Log: This is a general error log kept for any errors that occur in the Email Monitor.
  • ErrTace.log: This log is not visible in the "View" menu. If can be found in the "logs" folder in the directory where you installed TaskRunner (which is where all the other logs are). This is a complete dump of all error details for every error that occurs anywhere in TaskRunner. This file will be full of a bunch of technical jargon, so it won't be of any use to you, but in the event that you report an error, I will probably ask that you send me the ErrTrace.log to help me determine what went wrong.
 

 

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