Scheduled task disappears

I am XP SP2. I have set up a scheduled task (using an existing program on my PC), to perform daily backups at a convenient time. I have a password for my (admin) account.
This works for several days, and without warning, it doesn't. When I check 'Scheduled Tasks' it is missing.
This has now happened more than once, and is getting to be a considerable nuisance.
Can anyone explain what is happening, and how to get the system behaving normally?
normanallenAsked:
Who is Participating?
 
moduloConnect With a Mentor Commented:
PAQed with points refunded (500)

modulo
Community Support Moderator
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normanallenAuthor Commented:
No answer after one day - points go up!
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Asta CuCommented:
How To Troubleshoot Scheduled Tasks in Windows XP
This step-by-step article describes how to troubleshoot scheduled tasks in Windows XP. If scheduled tasks do not run, you can use several methods to determine the source of the problem. NOTE : Administrators or users with administrator permissions...
http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;308558
The Security Tab Is Missing from a Scheduled Task's Properties
If you are using the Scheduled Tasks tool, the Security tab may not appear when you view the properties or advanced properties of a new task. The online Help states that this tab should appear. This problem is caused by an incorrect modification...
http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;328628

I hope this helps you, if more is needed, please advise.

Asta

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Asta CuCommented:
http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;308558  this item is quite extensive and gives step-by-step instructions that I believe will resolve the issue in terms of settings and validating the Services info.

Also unclear about how current you are with WindowsUpdate, since service pack 2 fixes some known problems with the Scheduled Task issue as noted here:
List of fixes included in Windows XP Service Pack 2
http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;811113
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normanallenAuthor Commented:
I am sorry, but you are both on the WRONG track.

Scheduled Task services are "Started" (automatically). I am up to date with ALL the latest fixes from SP2.

The problem (AGAIN) is not that my task does not run, but IT DISAPPEARS FROM THE LIST OF SCHEDULED TASKS, which is why it does not run. It works for two or three days, then is suddenly not there any more.
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Asta CuCommented:
Is your timezone/region correct?  System clock ok?
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normanallenAuthor Commented:
I am correctly set on GMT, and I check my system clock every so often with one of the Atomic clock utilities - have never been more than a second or so out. Why should that make any difference?
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Asta CuCommented:
Thought it 'could' be a synchronization issue, thus the time-related question .... Does F5 refresh or CTRL+F5 server refresh populate the information?  This is a strange one, to say the least.

Any information that might add clues from the Event Logs?
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normanallenAuthor Commented:
I haven't tried the F5 yet. I have just reinstated the task (again), and it has just run. There is nothing on the Application Event Viewer log, but there is on the Security log - a Privilege Use (576) and an Account Logon (680) at the exact time the backup program ran, which seems reasonable. Now I suppose I have to wait for it to disappear again?
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normanallenAuthor Commented:
After less than 24 hours, the scheduled task has disappeared from the list (again). F5 and Ctrl-F5 do nothing. I cannot see anything obvious in the Event logs - but they aren't exactly the easiest ofthings to read.
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andymsmith18Commented:
are you running any any anti spyware programs or any thing that stops programs from setting themselves to run at startup ?
as a test try booting to safemoad and setup the task reboot and see if it stays for moor than 3 days
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sirbountyCommented:
Hi normanallen - how are you creating these tasks?
There's at least 3 different ways of doing so under XP: Scheduled Tass in Control Panel, and the command line AT.EXE and SCHTasks.exe

Can you also post what you are using for the scheduled task?

Additionally - you mentioned that you are doing some time sync - have you tried disabling the Windows Time service?
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normanallenAuthor Commented:
I create the scheduled tasks using the 'Add Scheduled Task' option only. The commands are set to run at a specific time, e.g. 22:00 or 22:30, not at system startup. Yesterday, I tried setting up two tasks, one is a freebie backup program called 'FBBackup' that I have been using for a VERY long time indeed. The other was Ad-Aware (SE Personal). Both ran at the correct scheduled times. Today, when I look, both tasks have disappeared.

The windows time service is Started/Automatic. I haven't seen any specific messages saying that it is resetting the time (unless it does so at boot up, and doesn't say). I have one utility running called 'Say the Time' that extends the system clock to any format you like, and also speaks the time. It has a Time Syncronisation feature I just used, and it adjusted the time by 0.47 secs. It doesn't seem that the windows service is interfering.

I have a program called WinPatrol that checks on all kinds of things, including Scheduled Tasks. I have to approve changes, and did yesterday, but that hasn't stopped the tasks from vanishing.

Any more information needed?

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Asta CuCommented:
Personally, I'd test the issues by disabling these 3rd party products and trying just the XP processes; then rebooting and only enabling one at a time to see which is the cause of interference.
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normanallenAuthor Commented:
I will try that, but I'm VERY sceptical that they are the cause. Everything worked just fine under SP1. Incidentally there are four scheduled tasks in the list that don't seem to get deleted, and they are the Symantec ones -

Symantec NetDetect - Every 4 hours
Symantec Drmc - 2200 every day
Norton SystemWorks One Button Checkup - 2000 every Monday,Thursday
Norton AntiVirus - Scan my Computer - 2000 every Tuesday, Thursday

Any suggestions why they don't disappear, or are you going to suggest the Symantec products are part of the problem?

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sirbountyCommented:
Question for you.
Please report which tasks appear from the following:

Start->Run->CMD /K AT <Enter>
vs.
Start->Run->CMD /K SCHTasks /Query
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normanallenAuthor Commented:
1. There are no entries in the list
2. 'SCHTasks' is not recognized as an internal or external command, operable program or batch file.

Oops.
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sirbountyCommented:
You need to put a space before the /Query
Try Start->Run->CMD
Schtasks /? (space before the /) and you should get back a list of the parameters to use - use the /query and it should display your scheduled tasks from CP.

Although, that answers my question anyway.  I was suspecting that the mysteriously disappearing tasks were stored in the first one and the steadfast were in the latter...

Any status on the limited startup process?
Also - could you post the disappearing task info like you did with the ones that remain? (or did I miss it?)
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normanallenAuthor Commented:
I'm sorry, there is a space before the query, Whatever I try gives the same (invalid) response as shown above.

No luck with the limited startup processes, it still happens.

The added tasks are:

Ad-Aware SE Personal - 2200 every day.
Freebyte Backup - 2230 every day.

They work the day they are set up, but beyond that........................

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sirbountyCommented:
Was this XP Home by any chance?
Have you tried Start->Run->SFC /Scannow
??

Schtasks.exe should be found in C:\Windows\System32
I don't recall if Home edition has it - but I know Pro does...
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Asta CuCommented:
It looks like sirbounty has you on the right track here.  A friend runs XP Home and uses the task scheduler without problems, also upgraded to SP2.  I do recall that the logs can become huge and that he had some issues in that regard.  In the event that applies to you, this:
How to Limit the Maximum Size of the Scheduled Tasks Log File
http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;169443

Having worked with him on related issues, these links also helped him, so including...
Tasks that are scheduled to run when you log on to a Windows XP-based computer do not run after you apply security update MS04-022
Fixes a problem where tasks that are scheduled to run when you log on to a Windows XP-based computer do not run after you apply security update MS04-022.
http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;873345
How To Modify Scheduled Tasks in Windows XP
This article describes how to modify a scheduled task in Windows XP. After you create a scheduled task in Windows XP, you can modify the task's settings, stop or pause the task, or remove the task from the schedule. Opening Scheduled Tasks to...
http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;308671
Scheduled tasks may not run in Microsoft Windows XP
Describes a fix for a problem that occurs when your scheduled tasks do not run, and you may have to restart the Task Scheduler service in Microsoft Windows XP.
http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;329769
HOW TO: Work with Scheduled Tasks on Remote Computers in Windows XP
This article describes how to configure scheduled tasks on remote computers. With administrative rights on a remote computer, you can view and manipulate the scheduled tasks on that computer. For example, it may be useful to create a scheduled...
http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;310424
Cannot Configure Scheduled Tasks to Use System Account
When you create or modify a task in the Scheduled Tasks tool to use the System account, the task does not run as scheduled. When you view the Scheduled Tasks log file, you receive the following error message: The attempt to log on to the account...
http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;223375

Asta
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normanallenAuthor Commented:
Yes, quite correct. It was XP Home before SP2 anonomizes the startup screen.
Interestingly, the Scheduler log file SchedLgU.txt was 32Kb, which is the default size. I have increased this according to the first link and today both of the tasks are still there, and have run at the correct time. This looks like the solution, but it will take a couple of days to be certain. Curiously the content of the log file looks like a circular process (it contains a line that says 'most recent entry is above this line', about half way though the file, rather than an entry at the beginning or end of the file. Does anyone know anything about this method of logging activity?
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sirbountyCommented:
Good call Asta. ;)
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Asta CuCommented:
Thank you, sirbounty ;) ...  Happy to see we're making headway here, normanallen.  Checked my log and although I wouldn't set up that type of history scenario, someone  did.  My log looks quite like others I've checked; history appears to be in two parts the first group (above the line) is from 5/8 through 5/16/2005 whereas the group below that was from 5/1 through 5/7/2005.  Prior entries truncated due to set size of 32kb, which appears to be the default size.
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normanallenAuthor Commented:
After three days, all is working well, so I think the problem is solved.
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Asta CuCommented:
Thank you for the good news, normanallen, I'm so pleased.

I'd be so happy if I could request that the points here be split between sirbounty and myself, since sirbounty opened the door to the specific route initially and we collaborated to get the ultimate results.  No work for you, just something I'd request, if it's OK with you.  It feels most fair.

Best wishes, listening further when time permits.

":0) Asta
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normanallenAuthor Commented:
I was considering a points split, but I couldn't decide how to do it. Maybe 50/450, if that's OK with you.
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Asta CuCommented:
Whatever sounds fair to you, sounds great to me.  Just note whom to award what and I'll request that modification from a Moderator.  Community Support is very responsive, the link below gets us there directly.
http://www.experts-exchange.com/Community_Support/askQuestion.jsp

Thanks a bunch,
":0) Asta
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normanallenAuthor Commented:
I thought that was obvious - 450 astaec, 50 sirbounty
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Asta CuCommented:
I will make this split request.
Thank you,
":0) Asta
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Asta CuCommented:
http://www.experts-exchange.com/Community_Support/Q_21427707.html is my request to modify.
Thank you again and best wishes to all.
":0) Asta
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sirbountyCommented:
Thanx to you both. :)
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normanallenAuthor Commented:
Guess what, it's happened again, after 3 days. Maybe I should take the points back (joking).
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Asta CuCommented:
Thanks for reopening, PashaMod.

Not sure which is the 'joke' vs. reality.  Problem back?  Tried doing basic cleanup to see if that helps using the cleanup routine and clearing cache again and rechecking the log contents?

Listening further when time permits.

Asta

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normanallenAuthor Commented:
Curious developments. I added two tasks, one the backup (FBBackup) program causing all the problems, and the other a windows utility to change the windows appearance (called DisplaySet).

DisplaySet is still there after a week, but the backup program is still disappearing, sometimes after one day, sometimes longer. The longest it's stayed there is three days.

Weird?
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sirbountyCommented:
Hi normanallen - how's it going?
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andymsmith18Commented:
hi all just thinking is the backup program reporting any errors with the backup ie cant copy file or file in use as that will sometimes deactivate its self from running as a scheduled task ?
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normanallenAuthor Commented:
Well, I've run the backup program manually many times and never had any kind of error report.
BUT, just to make things interesting, it isn't just the backup program that disappears. I've tried a variety of programs all aimed at running between 2100 and 2230, and they ALL disappear. And the strangest thing of all is that the DisplaySet program (mentioned above) is still there, and still working at 2220 each day. That I don't understand!
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andymsmith18Commented:
hi mate have you dryad another task scheduler this one runs with your backup prog http://www.freebyte.com/fbtaskscheduler/
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normanallenAuthor Commented:
Funny, I'd forgotten that they also did a scheduler. I've downloaded it, and we'll see if it works (it does, but I think it has to be added to startup, otherwise if it isn't running, it won't do anything). I suppose that's a workaround, but I'd still like to know just where those tasks get to, or what deletes them?
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Asta CuCommented:
It is very strange, indeed.  I'm one who steers clear of many 3rd party applications until I've had a chance to test them on a backup system for the very reason you appear to be deluged with; but that's a personal choice, having been in troubleshooting mode for too many years.  It has not been unusual in the past to introduce new applications, especially system-geared items to then experience anomolies and working for months to zero in on all the changes that introduction made to my standard environment, thus these comments.

I sure do hope you find the solution, and although a workaround may help, it is yet another introduction to the environmnet.  But, thank goodness, we're all unique and you may have better luck than I.

Best wishes, will stay tuned when time permits and do hope for a terrific solution.  My first inclination, as usual, is to uninstall newly introduced interfaces, reboot and test, but suspect you've already tried all that.

Asta
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normanallenAuthor Commented:
As I recall it only started happening after I installed SP2, as I been running on SP1 for several years without any problem!!!!!!!!! I can hardly uninstall SP2 ???? I had a couple of reinstalls over the past 6 months, but I had created a slipstream SP2 disk. Could what's on that be the problem, and if so how could I tell?
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Asta CuCommented:
That's a possibility, in my humble opinion, indeed.  Windows XP SP2 has had free support that I've used when hitting roadblocks and they've been most responsive either via Email and/or via their realtime chat interface with the MS Tech support team.  

http://support.microsoft.com/oas/default.aspx?&c1=509&gprid=6794&

Perhaps these will be of some help to you in the interim:
814847 - How to Slipstream Hotfixes That Replace Pre-Existing Driver Files
This article describes how to correctly slipstream a hotfixed version of a pre-existing file that is contained in the Driver.cab file of a Windows 2000 Service Pack 3 (SP3)-or-later distribution share, a Windows XP distribution share, or a Windows...
http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;814847

You receive an error message when you try to integrate Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2) files into an existing Windows XP distribution share
Discusses an issue where you receive an error message when you try to integrate Windows XP Service Pack 2 files into a network Windows XP distribution share.
http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;887412

Changes to Functionality in Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 2: Part 7: Other Technologies
Part 7 of 8: This section has detailed information about other features of Windows XP that have been updated in Windows XP Service Pack 2, such as NetScheduler and Task Scheduler APIs, and Tablet PC enhancements.
http://www.microsoft.com/technet/prodtechnol/winxppro/maintain/sp2otech.
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Asta CuCommented:
Slipstreaming the Service Pack into the Installation Media
If a manual installation is necessary, the most efficient approach is to integrate (or slipstream) Windows XP SP2 into the original Windows XP source files. To do this, you must first extract the files from the Service Pack distribution executable using the /x switch:

WindowsXP-KB835935-SP2-ENU.exe /x
You are prompted to enter a destination location for the extracted files. The extraction process creates a subfolder called Update in the destination folder containing the setup program Update.exe.

To create an integrated Windows XP and Windows XP SP2 source, use the following command:

Update.exe /integrate:<path>
For more information on How to integrate software updates into your Windows installation source files, see the Microsoft Web site at
 http://support.microsoft.com
/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;828930

Note: The <path> must contain the i386 folder for the Windows XP Source files. You do not need to include the i386 folder in the path. If the Windows XP installation source does not have the i386 folder in this path, the slipstream command fails.

One additional benefit of creating a bootable integrated CD is that you can use this CD for system recovery in the future. For more information on integrating service packs and hotfixes into a single source, see the Microsoft Windows XP Hotfix Installation and Deployment Guide at the Microsoft Web site at

http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/downloads
/updates/sp1/hfdeploy.mspx

Source for more:  http://www.microsoft.com/technet/prodtechnol/winxppro/deploy/appcom/apcdepmf.mspx

Sure hope this helps.

Back to work, good luck.

Asta
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