Automating Windows: ITworld's quick guide

How to save time by automating every task on your PC.

By , ITworld |  Software, automation software

WinAutomation allows for some pretty nifty tasks, such as automatically downloading files from an FTP, synchronizing files, hibernating your PC at a certain time and automatically sending out e-mail. For this example, however, I'm going to use the macro recorder and create my own specific workflow. The recorder saves your actions and replays them at a pre-determined time.

Click on the "+" button to open the Job Designer. Go to "Open Macro Recorder...".

Let's say I wanted to do a daily export of all critical system events in Windows Event Viewer, save it as an XML file and mail it to my own e-mail address (yeah, I know there are other ways and tools to do that, but this is one easy and effortlessly to create such a workflow).

First, I set "C:\Windows\system32\eventvwr.msc" as the application path and have it run "Maximized".

Then, I check "Record Mouse Moves" and select "Active (Foreground) Window" in order for the recorder to reproduce my exact steps in Event Viewer. Let's start the recording!

I immediately start going into Event Viewer, go to "Custom Views\Administrative" and export all errors and critical system events using the "Export Custom View" entry. I save it to the desktop, fire up Outlook and send an e-mail with the attached event log to myself. Done! I hit "CTRG+ALT+S" to stop the recording -- WinAutomation then puts my mouse movements, clicks and keyboard strokes into reproducible actions:

To test drive and save my job recording, I hit the "Play" button. By right-clicking on my job and going to the "Edit triggers" entry, I can set a specific time when I want this export job to run.

You get the idea. In under an hour and with just these three tools, I was able to schedule a disk cleanup, create an executable for photo resizing and then record a script for Event Viewer exports. Obviously, these are just fairly simple examples, but they should give you a glimpse of the usefulness and power of these tools once you've mastered them.

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