Scheduling jobs with the AT command

In my day-to-day job of managing a large number of servers, quite often

I run into a situation where I must schedule a job to run on a remote

server. By using the AT command, I can simply setup my scheduled job

and be on my way.

The syntax for the AT command is:

AT [\\computername] [ [id] [/DELETE] | /DELETE [/YES]]

AT [\\computername] time [/INTERACTIVE]

[ /EVERY:date[,...] | /NEXT:date[,...]] "command"

\\computername

Specifies a remote computer. Commands are scheduled on the local

computer if this parameter is omitted.

Id

Is an identification number assigned to a scheduled command.

/delete

Cancels a scheduled command. If id is omitted, all the scheduled

commands on the computer are canceled.

/yes

Used with cancel all jobs command when no further confirmation is

desired.

Time

Specifies the time when command is to run.

/interactive

Allows the job to interact with the desktop of the user who is logged on

at the time the job runs.

/every:date[,...]

Runs the command on each specified day(s) of the week or month. If date

is omitted, the current day of the month is assumed.

/next:date[,...]

Runs the specified command on the next occurrence of the day (for

example, next Thursday). If date is omitted, the current day of the

month is assumed.

"command"

Is the Windows NT command, or batch program to be run.

Most of the options that are available to the AT command are

self-explanatory, however, there are a couple of options that need some

explanation.

First, to see the jobs that have been successfully scheduled with the AT

command, all you need to do is type 'AT' at the command prompt.

Now let's look at some of the options that need further explanation.

The 'time' option is based upon the 24-hour clock, not the 12-hour

clock. This means that if you want something to run at 8:00PM, then you

need to specify time as 20:00.

For the 'date' portion of the '/every' and '/next' options, you need to

use the following abbreviations for the days of the week:

M,T,W,Th,F,S,Su

Last, the 'command' option, which is the most important, has a few

caveats. First, if there are spaces in the command path, you need to

make sure that the command is surrounded by double quotes. If the

command is a local path on the remote machine, you need to include the

absolute path name, including the drive letter. Additionally, if the

command is being run from another machine, then you must use the UNC

path name in the form \\server\sharename. Last, if the command is not

an executable (i.e. a batch file or VBScript), then you must precede the

command with "cmd /c". For example, let's assume that I want the target

server called 'serverName' to run a batch file on the C-drive called

test.bat every Monday at 8PM. The AT command I would use is:

AT \\servername 20:00 /EVERY:M "cmd /c c:\test.bat"

As you can see, I had to precede my non-executable (.exe) batch file

with 'cmd /c' in addition to including the full absolute path name to

the batch file.

One last thing to note is that the Task Scheduler can see the jobs that

you scheduled with the AT command, however, if you modify any of your AT

jobs using the Task Scheduler GUI, you will no longer be able to see

your AT jobs when you type 'AT' at the command prompt.

Using the AT command is easy once you know the above potential gotchas.

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