Run Maintenance Tasks while Logging On and Off Windows [How to]


It’s easy to ensure that scripts are run each time Windows logs on or off. You can schedule important procedures such as updates, backups, and can even run maintenance tasks on startup or shutdown. This is useful to speed up your computer and also to keep your windows system clean. The tool you need to use is the Group Policy editor of the Windows XPWindows Vista  and Windows 7.

In Windows XP, start  the Group Policy editor by clicking ‘Start > Run’ and entering  ‘gpedit.msc’. In Windows Vista and Windows 7 you can directly enter the command  ‘gpedit.msc’  in the search bar of the start menu. For that however, you must have administrator rights to the computer.

To  run a script when a user is logging on or of, Select ‘Local Computer Policy > User Configuration > Windows Settings > Scripts (logon / logoff)’ in the tree structure in the left pane of the Group Policy Editor. 

In the right pane, you will see icons for ‘Logon’ and ‘Logoff’. If you wish  to  run your own script when a user is logging of, double-click  ‘Logoff’, or double-click  ‘Logon’  to run a script at startup.

run maintenance tasks on startup and shutdown

The following steps are  the same  in both cases.

  • In the following dialog, click ‘Show Files’. Windows Explorer then shows a folder into which you can copy and paste the scripts to be run.
  • Scripts that are supposed  to be  run by  the operating system when a user logs off are in the folder  System32\GroupPolicy\User\Scripts\Logoff and logs on in System32\GroupPolicy\User\Scripts\Logon folder.

Check out How to Create, Save and Run your Own BASH Scripts

  • As soon as  the scripts are  in  the respective  folders, click  ‘Add’. Then select  the script file using  ‘Browse’. In ‘Script parameter’, enter any parameters that are  required. Confirm with  ‘OK’. The selected script now appears  in  the list  in  the  ‘Logoff properties’ or  ‘Logon properties’ dialog box.
  • To  run more  than one script, add all other needed files  to the list one after  the other using  ‘Add’. With  ‘Edit’, you can change an already listed script or delete files from  the  list using ‘Remove’.
  • The sequence each one is executed  in can be adjusted  ‘Upwards’ or  ‘Downwards’. Then click ‘OK’ and close  the Group Policy Editor.

Windows now automatically  runs  the specified scripts while  logging on or  logging of. Contrary  to  the  ‘Auto start’  folder  that exists separately  for every user account, the changes described here affect all users. Therefore, makes sure while programming  the scripts  that  they are  to be run for every user.

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December 22, 2009 by: Prasanth Chandra

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