To help you automate this type of restart operation, Microsoft Windows XP comes with a command-line utility called Shutdown.exe, which can restart your system. To make this happen automatically, you can configure it to run at a specified time with the Scheduled Tasks tool. Here’s how:

  1. Go to Control Panel | Scheduled Tasks.
  2. Double-click Add Scheduled Task to launch the Scheduled Task Wizard.
  3. Click Next and then click the Browse button.
  4. Access the Windows\System32 folder, select Shutdown.exe, and click Open.
  5. Follow the wizard through the next two screens to give the task a name and choose a schedule.
  6. Enter your user account name and password and click Next.
  7. Select the Open Advanced Properties check box and click Finish.
  8. In the task’s Properties dialog box, add the /r parameter to the end of the command line in the Run text box and click OK. (Be sure to include a space between the last character in the command name and the first character in the parameter list.)
  9. Enter your user account name and password and click OK.

When the Shutdown utility runs, you’ll momentarily see a small dialog box on your screen before the system restarts.

Note: This tip applies to both Windows XP Home and Professional editions.

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