Dumping Schedule Wizard for VisualCron

For several years I’ve used Schedule Wizard scheduler for Windows Server task scheduling.  For a long time I haven’t been totally happy with its stability (or lack of).  During any given year there has generally been a handful of incidents where I notice the tasks haven’t been running, and often the problem could be traced back to Schedule Wizard. For example, forgetting to close the tray icon and the clip-board manager (if running) before installing an upgrade will result in a broken installation. It won’t tell it to you – it just won’t run. And when a new version has been properly installed, there’re often issues about getting the service stable again (so that it’ll actually execute the tasks on schedule).

After the most recent upgrade I could not get the service running again so that the tasks would be run. The service starts ok, but then nothing happens. I reinstalled half a dozen times, tried to run the service as the Local System, admin, and as a special user with sufficient privileges, to no avail. Tasks run fine using the interactive scheduler, but on a server that won’t do.

So once again I started to review the other possible schedulers out there. I had done this several times before, always returning to Schedule Wizard as, for example, I found AutoMate 7 too heavy and too expensive (I’m always dubious of software packages that don’t tell their price on the web site upfront, but instead ask you to “request for a quote” — it usually means that the software is overpriced and the sales people want to be able to talk you in buying it).  Automize, on the other hand, uses Java (not JavaScript) for task coding, and I don’t write Java well. Then there’s Robotask, which looks cool, but it doesn’t run natively as a service on Windows Servers (one could try to run it under FireDaemon or AlwaysUp, but I really think a scheduler should have a native service mode).  There’s of course WinCron but while I use cron (or bcron) with Unix, for some reason it feels out of place in Windows.

But on different passes at finding the windows task schedulers out in the wild I had missed two products: VisualCron and Macro Scheduler Pro.  Both are very clean, stable, moderately priced, and they just work! For most operations VisualCron is just perfect (running programs, external scripts, etc.) while Macro Scheduler Pro reminds a bit of AutoMate in that it’s “more than a scheduler” – the scheduling function is part of it, but overall it’s a workflow automation software.

One thought on “Dumping Schedule Wizard for VisualCron”

  1. Great Report! Are any of the processes that you are scheduling Macros that pull data from an excel sheet and input it into a business application front end? If so I would like to recommend Foxtrot Software.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.