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Schedule Power Automate Desktop from within Windows 10

With Power Automate Desktop becoming available FREE w.e.f. 2nd March 2021 it would be a great feature if all personal automations built via this tool could be scheduled by a user using cmd line / powershell and/or scheduled tasks.  Currently if an end user wants to schedule a PAD they must use Desktop Flows via My Flows Power Automate Cloud Portal.  This requires an end user license and installation of On Premises Gateway.

 

It would be AMAZING if personal PAD Flows could be fully automated with currently logged on user from within Windows 10.

Status: New
Comments
Gareth064
New Member

As a veteran of WinAutomation in the past, I find the 'Free' PAD to be pretty pointless without the ability to locally schedule flows and the flows to run unattended ( second part not so important).

 

My partner mentioned she wanted something to clean up her download folders of all PDF's on a regular basis as she generates over 100 per day through label printing. Once I saw PAD become free for all Windows 10 users, I though, heck I can whip that up in with 3 actions. Simple. Went and built it in 30 seconds and then realised I couldn't schedule it to run for her. So I will be going back to my original plan of writing a quick windows service in C# to do it for her.

 

Yes you can build something that saves you time, but people aren't very good at remembering to do things, and you can have recurring tasks, emails alerts or what ever to remind you but it is still a no-brainer that you just set up a schedule to run said flow itself.

DamoBird365
Community Champion

@Gareth064 agreed, PAD won't always be your best option.  PowerShell or batch scripts can easily be scheduled as a task to delete files to be honest.  Ironically I had a thought about using WinAutomate to schedule a PAD as I have read you can schedule WinAutomations?  Not sure if that would be possible, if not a touch ironic.  Maybe the functionality will come if enough demand it.

Gareth064
New Member

@DamoBird365 totally agree that I can easily do it with PowerShell or BAT file. I just got a little excited that PAD was becoming free for all so thought it would be a great quick win using an old familiar friend 🙂

 

Ignoring the personal user scenario and looking at enterprise users. Allowing users in the enterprise to locally schedule their personal desktop flows, without having to pay extra licence fees (from what I can tell it seems expensive per user or per flow), is something that I think a lot of people are going to want.

RHoward83
New Member

I literally just joined the community to say this very thing. 

 

I work with authors and this is something that would make their lives so much easier...but they don't need power automate and all those features, just having the ability schedule out a flow or set up triggers would drastically increase the usefulness of the app.

 

Even if they included a scheduler version with the 15 bucks a month package, that would would still be better than shelling out 40 a month for a ton of online features they don't need and will never use. (And the same goes for myself)

burque505
Advocate III

Hi all, I'm new to the platform and this forum. I'm not new to Robin, though, the scripting language under the hood in Power Automate Desktop.

 

With Robin we run scripts as scheduled tasks or from the command line via 'robin.exe run YourScript.robin'. You will have noticed that PAD scripts also have the '.robin' extension. The names of 63 of the DLLs in the program directory start with "Robin". Some PAD scripts (apparently always called 'script.robin' and being located in  "C:\Users\YourUserName\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Power Automate Desktop\Console\Workspace\<guid_here>" folder) will run from 'robin.exe run', although it's necessary to remove lines like these from the script:

 

 

 

 

IMPORT 'C:\\Users\\YourUser\\AppData\\Local\\Microsoft\\Power Automate Desktop\\Console\\Workspace\\26816304-99aa-43d6-a56c-f96253797735\\controlRepo.appmask' AS appmask
IMPORT 'C:\\Users\\YourUser\\AppData\\Local\\Microsoft\\Power Automate Desktop\\Console\\Workspace\\26816304-99aa-43d6-a56c-f96253797735\\imageRepo.imgrepo' AS imgrepo

 

 

 

 

EDIT: Please disregard the comments struck through. I believe that MS will release a command line utility when it makes economic sense for them. I don't think it'll be the one I mentioned below, though.

 

I believe the executable that will probably someday let us run flows from the command line is 'PAD.Runtime.Robot.exe'. It needs some arguments supplied, including '--path' and '--instanceId'. For now, however, supplying these arguments yields this:

 

 

 

 

C:\Program Files (x86)\Power Automate Desktop>pad.runtime.robot --path "C:\Users\YourUser\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Power Automate Desktop\Console\Workspace\26816304-99aa-43d6-a56c-f96253797735\script.robin" --instanceId "26816304-99aa-43d6-a56c-f96253797735"

Unhandled Exception: System.Resources.MissingManifestResourceException: Could not find any resources appropriate for the specified culture or the neutral culture.  Make sure "Robin.Runtime.Robot.Properties.Resources.resources" was correctly embedded or linked into assembly "PAD.Runtime.Robot" at compile time, or that all the satellite assemblies required are loadable and fully signed.

 

 

 

 

Looks like 'Robin.Runtime.Robot.Properties.Resources.resources' was incorrectly embedded or linked into 'PAD.Runtime.Robot' at compile time, or perhaps was improperly named. I'm hoping we will in fact get CLI capability for running flows.

Ca_Guerra
New Member

I really agree with this. I only need to run desktop applications and I don't want nor need to get distracted by my phone to run something that's like, 2 clicks away. 
I actually would like to open search, type my flow and then just hit enter. that would be my optimal workflow for some shortcuts like these. 

r96359
Helper III

Couldn't you use Autohotkey (old school) or similar tool to launch PAD then click Run on the flow?

DamoBird365
Community Champion

Hey @r96359, I appreciate there is an irony there.  I thought exactly the same at the beginning, an old style macro builder to run a modern RPA.  There is always a way but it would be great if Power Automate Desktop could support this natively to prevent another dependency.  For those that are happy to give this a go though and maintain it - absolutely - I am with you 😉.

r96359
Helper III

@DamoBird365 Total irony lol. In some ways having the freedom to automate anything is so much better but so much more complicated. Very happy to have Power Automate as a tool for rapid development. Looking forward to it supporting functions like this as a stand alone desktop tool.

RWO
New Member

I got just out off the phone with MS support and was told I needed to purchase a $150/bot/mth Unattended RPA add-on in order to schedule PAD flows.  Pricing is way out of line for this functionality.  Hopefully MS will come up with more reasonable licensing options ASAP!