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Windows 7 Wake Timers

The Task Scheduler and Wake Timers

Wake timers are a component of Windows 7 that you can use to wake up your PC from a power-saving state and perform a routine function.

Prior to Windows 7, users had no control over this, but it's now possible to disable or enable the Wake Timers.

To use Wake Timers you must put your computer into a power-saving state (i.e. sleep), which allows it to quickly resume full-power operation (typically within a few seconds). Putting your computer into this sleep state is somewhat like pausing a DVD player - the computer immediately stops what it's doing and is ready to start again when you want to resume working.

If you want to run a scheduled security scan at 2am in the morning you can use the Wake Timers to start the scan while you are peacefully sleeping.

To get control of Windows Wake Timers you have to make use Windows 7's Task Scheduler program, which can be a bit complicated thing to use. So here's an example of what can be done.

Let's say you want to run Microsoft's Security Essentials and fully scan your computer.

security essentials settingsFirst open Security Essentials and click on the Settings Tab. Now choose Full Scan as the Scan Type and daily, or a particular day, as the frequency of the scans and choose a time for the full scan to run at 02:00. Click save changes.

Complete a Task Form

Now open Windows 7's Task Scheduler by typing 'Task' into the 'Search programs and files search box' and select Task Scheduler from the top of the list.

Task Schedular

Create a Task

Under the Actions column on the right of the page select Create Task.

Creat a TaskWhen the Create Task form opens: The General Tab is where the name of your Task should be entered, such as NightlyScan or WeeklyScan.

Select the Triggers Tab and click the New button. Select a start date and a time slightly before 2am (1:50am or so) and then click Daily or whatever frequency you require.

The Actions Tab is where you tell the Wake Timer to perform an action so click the New button, select Start a Program and put this command into the Program/Script box:


Task Action

This wake timer will make sure Security Essentials is awake so that it can run its scheduled scan at 2am.

Select the Conditions Tab and tick the box 'Wake the computer to run this task'

Note: Just make sure you select sleep mode, rather than shutting down your PC, once you've finished using it for the day. Sleep mode will let your PC wake up so that it can run Security Essentials to perform a full system scan.

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