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Task scheduler password problem

sasllc asked
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2007-12-19
I've read the articles on E.E. explaining that you must set a password on the user account in order to make scheduled tasks work.  And, I've tried it and it works.

But I don't want to have to use a password in order to get this functionality, and I need to know to avoid it.  On my simple peer-to-peer lan, I have at least one XP Pro computer that runs the tasks just fine, even though the user has no password...and I can't figure out why.  I added the scheduled tasks on that computer before I knew it was supposed to require passwords.

And, even though my other XP computers won't run tasks I set up because I don't have a user password and corresponding task password, they DO run things such as the tasks that Norton set up when I installed anti-virus.  If you look at the properties of the Norton tasks, they don't have any password set, and yet they run, even though the user doesn't have a password, either.

How can this be?  Isn't there some way I can do what Norton is somehow doing--set up tasks on XP without having to have user passwords?
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Top Expert 2007
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You're right, it IS set to local system account.  But I don't really understand what that means...how SHOULD it be set to accomplish what I'm trying to do?
Top Expert 2007

Sorry - change it from LocalSystem to your Admin account and password (if using one)
Then recycle the service (there's a "stop/play" button on the toolbar to do this)


My XP was originally set up with a user name of Tim, and no password.  When I go to user accounts, I see "Tim" as a user, and it says it's an admin account.

So, I changed it from LocalSystem to my admin account, and a password of blanks.  It does let me Apply that selection.
However, note that no matter whether I type in Tim_IBM\Tim, or just Tim, or \Tim, after I apply, it changes what I just typed to: .\Tim

In any case, when I stop the service, and try to start it again, it says:

Could not start the task on local computer
Error 1079.  The account specified for this service is different from the account specified for other services running in the same process.

I'm not sure what that means...the dependency tab showed that the RPC is running, and I tried changing to it's name and password, but I got other errors.

Note that on the computer on my lan which DOES allow me to run scheduled tasks without all this password stuff, it's task scheduler log on is set to LocalSystem account, just like mine is (was).

And, on my other computers, the task scheduler service is set to LocalSystem, and while they have the password problem with tasks "I" set up, they have no problems at all with tasks Norton sets up, for example.  What's the secret?
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I'm afraid I need more details:

1) You said: Browse to the executeble you wish to run.
You need to make sure the security for that subdirectory ( and its files ) and any relevant directories above it have SYSTEM as a bonafide group on the security TAB as well as any other relevant security.

How do I do this?  I went to start, explore, and found the folder that has the executable.  I right clicked on the folder name, went to sharing and security, but the only tabs it has are general, sharing, and customize.  I don't see a security tab.

2) You said: Also check the local security policies ( under admin tools (control panel)) for who can do what.

Under local policies, I see groups of parameters such as user rights assignments, and security options.  But within those, I don't know what I'm looking for, specifically.

I've seen two Microsoft knowledge base articles about this, one saying the password is required by design, and the other saying it's an issue with XP.  Yet, like I said in my original mesage, I was able to successfully do it on one XP computer with no passwords on the users or the task.  And, on the XP computers that fail to run the tasks due to no password on the user or task, those same computers DO run the scheduled tasks automatically set up by Norton antivirus, even though the user has no password, and the norton task shows no password.  How can this be?  Specifically, how can I replicate the magic trick they are doing?

You will need to be logged in as an admin user to see security.

With the local polices you are not looking for anything specific, just getting an understanding of what is configurable.


With the local polices ( user rights assignment )  the areas of interest - in this case - are
(1) Deny log on as a service - make sure your not
(2) Log on as a service - make sure you are if using your name but as said I don't recommend this as the RPC service should not change from the local system account

ControlPanel Admin Services.
(3) Check that the Task Scheduler service is back to local system account and the interact with desktop is ticked.

Also I am not too sure what you are trying to run - you mention Norton as an example but I feel this is only an example.

If you are tring to run something else please give more details as there are security settings as to whether a program can run as a task, service etc. Also it means investigating the scheduled task vs the scheduler etc.

Thanks in advance


Ultimately, what I'm trying to run as a scheduled task is a pcanywhere remote setup that has an automated file transfer built into it; I want to be able to set this up for customers who need to automatically transfer files to us at night, unattended.  So first, I'm doing the experimenting on my computer.

The only reason I mentioned norton is because it is an example of a task that shows up in the list of scheduled tasks, and it runs virus scan automatically every friday night, just as I asked it to when I installed norton.  Obviously norton somehow created that task, even though the task properties show no password, nor does my user name (Tim) have any passwords.  I am set up as an administrator.

So, I keep coming back to this norton example to ask how it is possible that they can set up a task that works with no passwords, but I can't.

But you asked specifically what I'm trying to run...pcanywhere is my goal, but to keep things easy, I've just been experimenting with trying to run a simple batch file that copies files from one folder to another on my hard drive...just to try to get past this crazy password restriction.  As I mentioned early in this thread, I have just such a thing running on another xp computer, with the same setup: one admin user with no password.  Yet I was able to set up a scheduled task that runs every night--a batch file that copies files.  I can't tell what the difference is between that xp computer and mine.

In desperation, I got on a microsoft user group and asked my question.  One guy suggested I set up another user, with a password, for the sole purpose of running my scheduled task.  So, I did; I set up a user name called Back1, with a password of back2, and while logged in as Tim, I created a task that runs a simple batch file that copies files, under the user name Back1, password back2.  The good news is that that works.  The bad news is that I never get to see it run while logged in as Tim, because I guess it's running in the background somehow under the Back1 user.  Of course, if all goes well during my unattended pcanywhere routine at night, it's fine that I can't 'see' it.  But if did not run right, I would want to be able to see the problem the next morning while logged in as Tim, as usual.

I have simple users; they don't log in when they turn on their computer, and they don't use passwords; I just set them up with one simple user name that does not require log in.  Of course, I realize that if I set up an extra user name (such as Back1 in the example above), then they will have to pick a user anytime they turn on the computer.

But I really want to avoid all that.  I'd like to let them just turn on their computer, not have to log in or use a password, like they're used to doing, and me be able to set up a scheduled task to do anything they want--pcanywhere, or run a batch file, or whatever, even though they don't use passwords.  Just like that other xp computer I keep talking about that does just that.  And just like Norton somehow does when they run antivirus scan at night on my computer--it's a task set up with no passwords, and it runs.  That's "all" I'm trying to do.

If you need specifics on what I'm trying to run today, during my test, it is this:  I want to run a batch file in C:\WORK named TC.BAT (for 'test copy') that copies one file from C:\PICT to C:\WORK.  Even that simple thing won't run when I try to create the task using my login name and no password.  It errors out, either telling me 'no user account password was entered'.


I guess it's time to give up.  I'll split out points for effort.

This first jsiinc link looked encouraging, until I read it real close, where it appears that all they are telling me is how to assign a password from the command prompt!  Of course, I may be reading it wrong, but I don't see anything on this link that's telling me how to run the task on a user with no password.  Every one of the steps appears to explain how to add a password to my 'run as' account, and then how to modify the task to match up with that 'run as' and password.

If that's what they're saying, that does me no good...I already knew I could add a password to my account, but that's exactly what I'm trying to avoid.  And the microsoft link is saying I must have a password.

Thanks to all for trying.  And, if anyone knows how to solve my problem with this info from jsiinc, please explain it to me!

Top Expert 2007

sasllc - I'm just sorry we couldn't come up with something useful for you here.
Most of the experts here learn by doing.  Since this technically, (realistically so, since MS "says so") is an un-reproducable scenario - that greatly limits our ability to come up with something, except if a solution is found amongst our many tools.
Typically, I have a lab set up for this, but unfortuantely, it's being migrated to Windows 2003, so I can't do a lot of testing with XP right now...

Sorry it didn't work out for you...

Has anyone come up with a solution?  I would like to create a setup program that schedules a task for my users, but all thier passwords are different.  How can I create a task to run under the username and password of the current user that ran my schtasks install script?
Top Expert 2007

rsstewart - open a new question...this one's been closed out.
I know this question is closed, but still I found a way to deal with the problem.
You don't want to use a password, because you don't want to have to logon to the computer at startup.
But without a password you cannot perform scheduled tasks.

It's all in redefining the problem: If you cannot use the scheduler without a password, you have to find a way to start the computer without having to state the password.
And that is indeed possible: use TweakUI to make an automatic Logon. In TweakUI you can tell what password to use, so your clients don't need to know about it.

Bet yes... I agree, it's a bit stupid doing this, when you know Norton knows the solution to the problem...
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