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Automate your computer's routine tasks

Q. I'm confused about all the routine maintenance I have to do on my computer's software. I don't know how anyone remembers to do all of this stuff! Is there any way I can have my computer do this automatically so I don't have to think about it?
-Rose, from Salt Lake City, UT, listens to my national radio show on KNRS 105.7 FM/570 AM

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A. Remembering essential computer tasks isn't easy. Between defragmenting, updating programs and checking for errors, sometimes you just forget.

This stuff is important, though! That's why Microsoft buried an awesome feature into Windows Vista and 7. It could be exactly what you need to keep your computer running like a champ.

I'm talking about Task Scheduler. Task Scheduler can automatically run programs, send email or make a message appear on screen. That's just the beginning.

To access it, open your Start menu, type "task scheduler" (minus quotes) into the search bar and hit Enter. You'll be taken to a menu showing your active tasks and the status of your tasks.

You'll see that there are a number of active tasks Windows creates by default. This includes disk defragmenting, so you don't have to do that yourself.

Warning: Some of these default tasks are vital to Windows working correctly. Don't delete or modify them.

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