VisualCron is raffling three licenses for 4sysops readers. The winner will receive a 5-Server license worth 717 US dollars and the two runners-up will each receive a 1-Server license worth 197 US dollars. More information about the contest can be found at the end of the article.
VisualCron is the most sophisticated task scheduling tool I have ever tried. I was already quite impressed with the Task Scheduler in Vista and Server 2008, but VisualCron comes with far more advanced features. The ability to manage task scheduling on multiple machines from a central location, in particular, makes the tool an interesting alternative for large organizations. VisualCron targets task scheduling for server environments, but you can also use the tool on desktops.
In the first post of this series I will give you a general overview of VisualCron’s advantages over the Windows Task Scheduler.
One task scheduler for all Windows machines
First of all, if you have different Windows versions in your network, then you also have to work with different task schedulers. As you probably know, the differences between Task Scheduler in Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2008 are huge. With VisualCron, you only have to deal with one tool for all your servers regardless of the Windows version.
Secondly, and this could be even more important in some environments, VisualCron provides one central management console for all Windows machines. Although you can connect to a remote computer with the Windows Task Scheduler, you can only manage one remote server at a time. VisualCron can display multiple machines in its modern and well-thought-out interface. It is even possible to drag and drop scheduled jobs from computer to computer. Since VisualCron uses SSL to connect to remote machines, you can also use the tool to centrally manage servers through unsecured Internet connections.
Thirdly, VisualCron has an interesting feature regarding the execution context. In the Windows Task Scheduler you can run tasks in the context of a certain user or without user context in the background. The latter means that user session-specific information, such environment variables or mapped network drives, is not available. VisualCron also makes this distinction but offers quite a few additional options. VisualCron distinguishes between user credentials and user context, which allows you to run a task in the standard user context with admin privileges. You can also target a specific session if the user is logged on multiple times, and you can even target all desktop sessions. The latter feature is most interesting in Terminal Server environments.
Sophisticated scheduling features
And last but not least, VisualCron has even more task scheduling options than the powerful Server 2008/Vista Task Scheduler offers. The term “task scheduler” seems to imply that you can use the tool to only run tasks at a certain time. However, VisualCron supports numerous triggers and conditions that can be used to launch a task. Moreover, VisualCron knows many different task types and has a sophisticated notification system. I will tell you more about these features in my next post.
If you want to take part in this raffle, just send an email to:
with the subject line
Please, add your name and the name of your organization for which you want to use the license. The deadline of this contest is December 4, 2009.