Automate Mundane Tasks With WinAutomation

WinAutomation logoDo you often repeat the same tasks over and over on a Windows machine? You can avoid many of the steps and save time if you save your actions for later replay using WinAutomation. The application is ideal for power users and can even take care of complex remote tasks.

If you’d like to automate computer activities when you’re not near the desktop you’ll find many options in WinAutomation to help you. It can handle jobs ranging from running command line tasks to managing FTP activities and executing SQL statements.

The hardest part about getting started, for me anyway, was figuring out what to automate. This huge list of predefined actions contains plenty of ideas. I chose a simple task for my first test and converted a graphics and color-intensive email newsletter into a plain one. This took two macros to handle the job: one took out all of the graphics while the other removed all the formatting.

WinAutomation also succeeded in backing up my local drive to an external drive using Synctoy. While Scheduled Tasks, a Windows built-in system accessory, could run the backup, it had stopped working for me. WinAutomation is now running the job on a regular basis without fail.

You can also check out the list of ideas to see what you can do with the software. The easier example macros run applications and open specific folders. I already have a programmable keyboard that can do these things, but not everyone has programmable keyboard buttons. You can make can assign shortcuts or a hotkey to your macros.

Triggers fire macros in different ways. “Schedule triggers” run a macro on a certain date and time; they can also handle recurring tasks. “Event log monitor triggers” run when a certain event happens. The application can go to work to complete whatever activities you need done as soon as a specific process starts or ends. For example, if a job fails, you can set up a macro that will send you an email to let you know.

WinAutomation Main Window

The support pages include macros you can import into WinAutomation, complete with instructions on how they work for easy customization. The export and import feature allows you to share macros with others. When I ran into a problem with one of my macros, I simply exported it to send to tech support, and received a response on how to fix it.

I imported the macro to automate Twitter updates from the web site, tweaked a few things and put WinAutomation to the test. It works well if you want to post a new tweet at the same time daily; all you need to do is update the text file with new tweets. While there are Twitter automation services like Tweetlater, using WinAutomation means just updating a text file rather than having to log into a site each time.

WinAutomation macros can use programming concepts such as variables, flow control, conditionals, loops and exception handling, and so can become quite powerful and complex. Power users and above-average users will benefit most from the software. Beginners and users not familiar with FTP, HTML and that sort of thing might feel a little overwhelmed, and probably wouldn’t have much use for automation software, anyway. Even I had to spend time debugging some macros that didn’t work the way I wanted. However, I found creating macros with WinAutomation took less effort than macros in Microsoft Office.

You can test WinAutomation free for 30 days to see how it works for you. The Standard Edition sells for $129 and the Professional Edition for $199. Volume discounts are available.

How do you handle repeatable computing tasks?

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