Batch File to Open a Webpage or Run a Program on a Particular Day

I found an webpage listing places where I could eat for free on my birthday.  I did feel that the world owed me at least a reminder that such places existed.  In other words, I wanted that webpage to pop up on my birthday.  (Of course, this could also be used to do things on other days of the year, e.g., New Year’s Day.)

I had long used batch files to do various things.  In particular, I had already set up a DAILY.BAT file that would run programs, open folders, and start specified webpages in Firefox (or, if desired, some other browser).  So all I needed to do now was to add a couple of lines to DAILY.BAT for this particular purpose.

But before stating those lines, I thought it might be helpful to clarify some of the settings in Task Scheduler.  Here is a screenshot of some settings for a batch file called DAILY-RH.BAT.  (Click on the image to enlarge it.)


To get there, I clicked on Task Scheduler Library > double-click on DAILY-RH > choose Actions tab > Edit.  I put the name of DAILY-RH.BAT in the Program/script box, and pasted the path to DAILY-RH.BAT in the “Start in (optional)” space.  I had to adjust some other settings to set the 8 AM daily run time etc.

OK, so once I had created DAILY.BAT, I had to add the necessary lines.  Here were the lines I used:

:: Things to Do on Special Days
:: For future reference
:: set FullDate=%date:~10,4%_%date:~4,2%_%date:~7,2%
set MoDay=%date:~4,2%-%date:~7,2%

if %MoDay% == 02-14 start Firefox “

(I have added a space before the final line to emphasize that it is just one line, beginning with “if %MoDay% and ending with “Birthday.htm.”  Weird line breaks are usually not a problem if you copy and paste rather than retyping from examples like this; the copying usually succeeds in capturing the desired line end.)

The two colons (::) indicate the beginning of comment lines.  Those don’t execute.  I devoted two of those to the reminder that I could include the year in the calculation if I wanted to do something on exactly one date, and never see it again.  That wasn’t the case here.  I wanted to see that webpage every time my birthday came around.  So, using 02-14 (i.e., Valentine’s Day) as my birthday, I programmed the calculation of the MoDay variable so that it would extract only the month and the day from today’s date (i.e., the “date” variable) and would compare those against a preset number (i.e., February 14).  So, for example, %date:~4,2% would produce the part of the total date string (e.g., “Thu 02/14/2013”) that began at the fourth character (not counting spaces) and continued for two characters (i.e., 02).

I tested those lines using today’s date, and they worked.  If all went well, my DAILY.BAT file (scheduled to run at 8 AM every day) would open one additional webpage, next time my birthday came around, and I’d find out if there was no such thing as a free lunch.

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