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An old maxim might suggest that the best Windows automation software is the software that will be used regularly. Plenty of system administrators invest in fancy automation programs that are then neglected and forgotten about. Rather than looking through numerous packages for PCs and servers, users should take a moment to examine what they have and see if there was some way to put existing programs to better use. Those who might not have access to anything yet, however, should consider the following list. Large networks connected via some form of data cabling have the most to gain from these sorts of programs.

More information on data cabling

Microsoft Windows PowerShell

This is a long-time favorite for both system administrators and power users. It's included with most Microsoft Windows distributions these days, and it resembles the existing native Windows command line. In fact, many people continue to write native batch files to automate simple tasks. Windows PowerShell has task automation and configuration management options that fit just about every system. People managing huge networks connected by data cabling structures can benefit from it just as much as someone using their laptop at home.

AutoIt Scripting Language

People who want a quality third-party package should take a look at AutoIt. It's a very simple scripting language that nearly anyone can pick up in a couple of hours. People with some knowledge of computer programming might be able to start using it after only a few minutes. It's very similar to numerous varieties of BASIC. Individuals who want to automate the Windows GUI should look here first.

WinAutomation and Macro Recorder

This is an extremely powerful tool that allows users to automate and schedule tasks without having to write a single line of code. It works via a visual interface that's modeled after many other pieces of software. Its ease of use is unrivaled in the industry, but it can still compete with the big boy scripting languages as well. That makes it attractive to those who need to develop numerous macros over time.

Autohotkey Mapping Manager

Individuals who just want to assign each task a hotkey might want to have a look at this particular program. Those who might be familiar with DOSKEY or other similar products can use it to automate many tips of tasks and assign them to a particular set of keystrokes. This king of power is generally confined to the command line, so it's nice to see a package that's available for users to do the same thing inside of a GUI.

Phraseexpress and Texter 

While they're not formally the same tool, many users keep both of these programs on their hard drive and use them side-by-side. Large installations can install them on a network and allow access to them across a server. They're probably the best text entry automation tools on the market.

Choosing the Best One

What works for one person might not work for everyone else. It's best to have a look at a variety of tools, and then choose one and stick with it. Learning a great deal about a particular piece of software will make users an expert on it.