What's the Windows equivalent to cron, or for those of you unfamiliar with Unix, how does one schedule a program to run at regular intervals?

  • Compare this question . Sep 7, 2011 at 13:21
  • @hstoerr, I asked mine first. The other question was asked in December 2009, this one was asked in July 2009. Sep 7, 2011 at 13:31
  • That's fine. The link is for the benefit of people like me, who arrive at this question by search. Sep 7, 2011 at 14:22

5 Answers 5


Scheduled Tasks:

With Scheduled Tasks, you can schedule any script, program, or document to run at a time that is most convenient for you. Scheduled Tasks starts every time that you start Windows XP and runs in the background, and it starts each task that you schedule at the time that you specify when you create the task.

Also, you should check out this article from Lifehacker on using Scheduled Tasks. It gives examples for Defragging your computer, restarting your computer, and opening Firefox when at startup with a set of websites

  • Try having a program execute every half an hour. 8-{ No way. Sep 7, 2011 at 13:13
  • Both links are dead.
    – Oskar Skog
    Nov 17, 2023 at 16:31

Another idea is to use Cygwin and use VixieCron. You can even install cron as a service so it will run your cronjobs without having Cygwin open. Its perfect for the Unix geek who doesn't have the time or want to learn the Windows way.

Here is a link that should help you get started. Running cygwin cron from windows as a service.


The AT command does the same job, I am guessing it is still supported on vista ... checking ... yes it is still on W7 RC 1, just type "at /?" for how to use it.

  • at is just the command-line command to create scheduled tasks. It's still the Task Scheduler Service running in background :)
    – Joey
    Jul 17, 2009 at 0:36
  • Sure, but for a unix head (like me) I tend to think in terms of the command line utility, rather than the background service. I think of windows scheduler (incorrectly) as a scheduling wizard gui interface. Jul 17, 2009 at 0:59

Windows task scheduler. Support article for scheduling tasks on XP.


Use the Windows task scheduler that's installed already

The Task Scheduler enables you to automatically perform routine tasks on a chosen computer. The Task Scheduler does so by monitoring whatever criteria you choose (referred to as triggers) and then executing the tasks when those criteria are met.

Creating a new answer as most of the other ones have broken links and I cannot comment.

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    – Community Bot
    Nov 17, 2023 at 16:14
  • I think you should be able to edit other answers to update the links.
    – Oskar Skog
    Nov 17, 2023 at 20:08
  • This is true, but I merely wanted to warn authors / readers that the links are broken. I do not pretend to speak in place of someone regarding a link that they did not get the chance to consult. Nov 20, 2023 at 15:56

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