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Postponing the launch of a program

Actuality : demonstration of a shopping cart component, at 


Tested on Windows XP

This page was previously named "Delayed launch of a program". The statistics showed that this tended to be deceiving, as the search for delayed running of a program includes considerations for bad running programs or operating system, which is not the topic here. This program delays the start of a program, but with a delay that the user requested.

It can happen you have to launch a program after a delay. Alerting you when the eggs are cooked is an example, but you can also consider programs enter in conflict when starting Windows. In this case, delaying the start of one of them can be a solution. I did that for TclockEx.

The Retard program aims this.

ATTENTION : as is, this program is NOT compatible with the SP3 pack for Windows XP. 

I noticed that on May 25th. The two following weeks were very buisy with things that have nothing to do with data processing. After that, I notice that explorer, the program that manages Windows's task bar, does not fall down any more, and coexists harmoniously with TclockEx, that as a results can start with the session directly. This will have to be verified after each security update of Windows. 

Those considerations make the Retard program get down in my priorities list. Please do not hesitate to contact me (see the link in the top left corner of the page) to solve any particular problem. 

Basic syntax

The "Retard" program must receive, on its command line, a characters string representing a time, followed by a command line that is supposed to be launched after that time.

For example  :


This line will open, two minutes after it is executed, the Windows notepad, with the input.log file that is located under the root of C:

Remarks about the time argument

A time is expressed under the form of two numbers, separated by a semi-column (:).

If only one number is received, the time is not recognized to the presence of the semi-column, and the program raises an error.

If more than two numbers are received, only the last two ones are taken in account.

Command line

What comes after the delay on the command line is constituent of a command that has to be executed after the delay is over.

This command will be splitted into two parts :

  • the program, with its path
  • the list of arguments, that are passed to the program

The separation between both is done at the first space. 

If the path to the program contains one or several space(s), there are two solutions  :

  • either you place the path to the program, including its name, between quotes
  • or you use its short name ; defining the short name is beyond the object of this page, the Retard program has been tested with quotes.

So, you can type  :

RETARD 00:02 "C:\Program Files\Notepad2\Notepad2.exe" C:\INPUT.LOG

Everything that comes after the second quote, in case quotes are used, or after the first space otherwise (this is counted from the beginning of the path to the program) will be passed to the program. In the example above, Notepad2 receives "C:\INPUT.LOG" (without the quotes, as they were not typed).

Name of the task

The Retard program calls the Windows planified tasks manager. A created planified task must have a name. By default, the tasks that are created by the Retard program are called Retard. A name can be worn only by one task. A task that is created by the Retard program automatically cancels (without any request of confirmation) any task that could have been created before, under the same name, except if you place /A at before the command line.

For example  :

RETARD /A 00:02 C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\Notepad.exe C:\input.log

If a planified task called "Retard" already existed before, it will be left unchanged, and the program exits after displaying an alert box.

If you wish to create with the Retard program several planified tasks that co-exist, you will have to give them different names.

If the command line contains /N (the N must be capital),  the following argument will be considered as the name of the planified task to create, and the rest of the line (path to the program and arguments) are read after it. What comes before /Nwill be ignored (except /A).

Taking the example at the beginning of this page again (basic syntax), the same results can be obtained through a planified task called Notepad, rather than through a planified task called Retard, as above.

RETARD /N Notepad 00:02 C:\Windows\System32\Notepad.exe C:\Input.log

If you want to be alerted in case a Notepad planified task already exists :

RETARD /A /N Notepad 00:02 C:\Windows\System32\Notepad.exe C:\Input.log

Please note that, as the path to Retard is not specified, it is supposed that Retard.exe is in the default path. This one can be precised in the properties of the shortcut that launches the program. Alternately, another default path can be indicated in the properties of the shortcut, it will be passed to the program that will be launched. In this case, the path to Retard must be indicated at the beginning of the command line, if it is different.

Nota : this program presents no graphical interface, this is its reason to exist.  Thanks to it you can launch a program with a shortcut,  after a given time, without the memory being sollicited during that time. This shortcut can for example be placed in the starting group of the Start menu of Windows. The planified tasks manager of Windows presents an own graphical interface that is sufficient to itself (see in the configuration panel). Apart from this, another graphical interface is proposed  with GestTaches, that also allows a listing.

In case of doubt, you can open either of these two graphical interfaces, to verify the task names that already exist. 

The planified tasks that are created by the Retard program are deleted after execution

Amongst the causes that can prevent a planified task to be executed, and thus to be automatically deleted, is the fact that you terminate the session during the delay. If the task is created when starting the session, it will be renewed at next session start. : please extract the three files to a temporary directory, and execute Setup.exe with the administrator rights

More details about extraction from a Zip file on Windows XP

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