PowerShell Reminder Jobs

timerThis is something that might be better suited to one of my Friday Fun columns, but I’m enjoying this so much I couldn’t wait to share it. I don’t know about you but I spend much of my day in PowerShell or at least with a PowerShell session running. I have an ongoing quest to do as much as I can from PowerShell. This includes just about any sort of task that might be automated.

In the past I’ve blogged about my tickle system that run when I start PowerShell. But often I have short term tickler or reminder needs. For example, since I work at home I may need to remember to switch over the laundry or that I have a phone call at 2:00PM. Sure, I could set up calendar alerts in an email client but I’d rather have something as quick and easy as a PowerShell command. So I wrote this script, New-Reminderjob.ps1.

In short, the script creates a background job that will use the MSG.EXE command line tool to display a message to myself. The job action sleeps the specified number of seconds and then runs my MSG.EXE command. I could have used a variety of ways to display the message, but MSG.EXE is built in and I didn’t see any reason to re-invent the wheel.

The script, which you could revise into a function if you want, requires the reminder text and then when to “deliver” the reminder. You can specify a number of minutes, the default is 1, or a date and/or time. If you specify a time like “9:00AM” the script will assume you mean 9AM today. The script converts your start time into a number of seconds it has to wait and builds that into the job scriptblock.

When the time comes I get a popup message like this.
The message will automatically dismiss after about 1 minute. Or I’ve configure my script to allow you to require that you acknowledge the message through the -Wait parameter. This is useful for important reminders you want to make sure you don’t miss.

Because I might have several daily reminders, I wanted an easy way to identify them. One thing I did with my script is to give all of my reminder jobs a custom name that starts with ‘Reminder’. I use a regular expression to find the number from the most recent reminder job and increment it by one. The other useful step is that I added some custom properties to the job object itself. These properties embed values from the script into the job object. Now I can do interesting commands like this:


The custom properties have no effect on any other job objects. If I find myself using these properties a lot, I might create some additional functions to save some typing.

This system is meant for ad-hoc, daily reminders to myself which is why I didn’t use scheduled jobs. I didn’t want to have to deal with cleaning up a bunch of one time jobs. These reminder jobs only last for as long as my PowerShell session is open. But be aware, that each running reminder will start a new PowerShell process so I wouldn’t recommend setting this up with dozens of reminders. Actually, if you need that many reminders you either need to get a new job or an assistant!

I hope you’ll try it out and let me know what you think or where you think it can be improved. Enjoy!

One thought on “PowerShell Reminder Jobs”

I'd love to know what you think