How to automate Windows programs and processes

If you want to automate some of the more repetitive Windows processes, When Then is a straightforward program to check out. CNET shows you how to use it.

We often repeat ourselves when working or playing with our computers. Maybe I want to start my media player when I close my BitTorrent client, or maybe I want to shut down my computer once I exit Word. It'd be nice to automate at least some of that repetition, and Windows users have a neat, free option to do just that. When Then is a lightweight, free app that acts kind of like a PC-based IfThisThenThat, letting you direct and automate Windows processes to make life easier going forward. Here's how to use it: 

  1. Download and install When Then. 
  2. When you run it, it bashfully informs you that it is "woefully incomplete," but it works as advertised. Click the "[this event occurs]" link to bring up a few options for triggering events. You can select an open window, a process ,or a time. I picked Outlook closing as my trigger. 
    Step 2: Start up When Then.
    Step 2: Start up When Then.
  3. Now click the second link in the main window to bring up your options for actions. I decided to run my Steam client when Outlook closes, as that's when I'm done working for the day. 
    Step 3: Select event.
    Step 3: Select event.
  4. Click the "Enable" box and you're done. 

That's it! It's small and it's simple, but it works.

Tech Culture
About the author

    Rob Lightner is a tech and gaming writer based in Seattle. He has reviewed games, gadgets, and technical manuals, written copy for space travel gear, and composed horoscopes for cats.


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