For the past few months, I’ve been bedeviled with a strange phenomenon. Every now and then, several times a day, a command line window (cmd.exe) pops up on my desktop, runs a batch file, then disappears. The whole thing usually takes less than a second to complete, so I’ve only been able to catch the file in action once. Now that I know that TaskSchedulerView IDs cmd.exe popups, this is what that windows looks like:
The one time I caught this window, I didn’t copy nor read carefully enough to determine the source.
It’s been driving me nuts, because I wasn’t sure how to identify the batch file that had to be responsible. Then, this weekend, in helping out users at TenForums.com, I got lucky. I learned that Nir Sofer’s TaskSchedulerView utility allows its users to search the strings used to define actions in scheduled tasks. Actions like running programs (the source of the original user’s problems) or batch files (like the popups on my PC). In fact, there’s a Find command built into the tool. It searches the text data it compiles from all of your scheduled tasks. (Note: these can number anywhere from hundreds to thousands on any Windows PC.) As it turns out, that’s exactly how TaskSchedulerView IDs cmd.exe popups.
The detail info for the ACC task identified the culprit: FUB_send.bat!
Using Find So That TaskSchedulerView IDs Cmd.exe Popups
Once I realized a batch file must be responsible for the popups, I used the tool to search for *.bat. The only item it found in my entire library of scheduled tasks was named FUB_Send.bat. As soon as I edited that file to keep it from closing upon completion, I ran it. I recognized it immediately as the elusive popup I’d been chasing. Upon reading its output and realizing it wasn’t working, I simply renamed the file with a .tab (bat is short for batch, so I turned it backwards). If I ever need it, I can rename the file easily and restore it to working order in a jiffy. But right now it can’t run, so it won’t be popping up any more.
Turns out it’s a part of the self-updating capability of my current device driver update program, SlimWare Utilities’ DriverUpdate. I confirmed my diagnosis when a search of their user forums turned up a handful of other posters with the same symptoms. The title of the thread was the clincher “Strange command prompt box opens.” Because I’m perfectly capable of running my own updates, I had no problem killing this problem by rendering the batch file invalid.