Freebie Start My Day Helps You Get Ahead

Start My Day (free) allows for automatically scheduling tasks you regularly perform at set times, such as opening a certain Web page, starting a particular program or even playing a certain song. It easily schedules one batch of tasks, but it doesn't allow for performing different tasks at different times.

Start My Day screenshot
Start My Day's simple interface is easy to learn.

You won't need to install Start My Day; just extract the .zip file contents to a directory of your choice. Double-click the contained .exe to fire up the app.

You'll find one up-front option to run Start My Day every time Windows starts, which you'll probably want to select if you plan on scheduling tasks. The program's start page also allows for choosing an alarm time and which days of the week to run on.

After choosing an alarm time, you can pick which tasks to perform. Tasks are broken out by category, with sections for programs to start (Apps), Web pages to open (Web), and songs to play (Music). You can also pick videos to watch (Video) and documents to open (Docs).

Each section simply lists a program, file or URL that you browse for and select or, in the case of a URL, cut and paste from the browser address bar. You can also select items in each section to run manually, or click a button to run all the items in a section at once. After making your selections, hit the "Hide App" button (an eye icon in the lower-right) to send Start My Day to the systray.

Although Start My Day is simple to set up, it lacks the ability to schedule multiple tasks at different times. It's instead meant to kick off a single set routine. If you need to schedule more than one task, you can head to the more flexible, but also significantly more complex Windows Task Scheduler. Type "Task Scheduler" into the Start Menu search box in Vista or Windows 7 to bring up that built-in utility.

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