Power Downloader's task master

Set tasks, create a schedule, and learn how to train your computer to obey in this week's Power Downloader.

When Power Downloader needs to set a schedule for his computer to do basic tasks when he's not around, he needs to rely on a robust scheduler that can handle not only shutting down the computer, but also launching programs, leave him reminder notes, and cleaning directories. For all that and--cliched as it sounds--more, Power D relies on the freeware Z-Cron.

Z-Cron's list of available tasks should make any power user take note. (Credit: CNET Networks)

Similar to the Unix Cron scheduler, and far more powerful than the native Windows task scheduler, Z-Cron is an aggressive sergeant-at-arms, able to tell your computer what to do and when to do it, leaving you to get on with your life when you're away from your machine. Besides the aforementioned tasks, Z-Cron also has the capability to schedule tasks to run daily, weekly, monthly, once, and at the system start-up.

The most interesting tool that Z-Cron possesses, and what makes it such an excellent utility, is that it comes with a database of Embedded Tools. These tools are the basis for everything it can do, and they include a range of tasks such as an alarm clock, the capability to shutdown a remote computer on your network, activating a USB peripheral, and connecting or disconnecting from the Internet.

Power Downloader notes that the installation is in German, although the program is in English. Still, that's not a cause for concern: getting the program going is about as simple as can be. The value of being able to have the computer do necessary tasks while you sleep or while you're away isn't lost on the globe-trotting Power Downloader, and leaving his computer in control of such capable code means never missing an important chore.