Task Scheduler: Scheduling System Maintenance Tasks

Task Scheduler is a Windows operating system tool for automatically performing one-time or recurring system maintenance tasks. Your computer needs to perform periodic system maintenance, such as a disk defragmentation job or running a Windows Defender scan.

The Task Scheduler contains several wizards for scheduling tasks, the Task Scheduler service manages the execution of tasks on the computer at a specific time.

The Windows Task Scheduler automatically starts programs, services, processes at a pre-scheduled specific time, or upon the occurrence of certain conditions. Some tasks are created by the operating system itself to maintain operation or maintenance, other tasks are scheduled by the user himself, or by installed programs that enter their tasks in the Scheduler.

A task in the Task Scheduler performs the necessary scheduled actions without user intervention. The user can add his own custom task in the Windows Scheduler, which will be executed at a specified time, under certain conditions, depending on the selected settings.

Quite often, malware adds its tasks to the Task Scheduler, so some viruses are not easy to get rid of. In an effort to remedy the situation, users carefully clean the registry of the operating system, and at the same time, they forget about the Windows Scheduler. Then they do not always understand why, after all the cleanings, the harmful effect on the computer continues.

Task scheduling in Windows

The Task Scheduler tool allows you to flexibly configure the execution of the necessary operations for the administration and maintenance of the system.

There are two main types of scheduled jobs in the Windows operating system:

  • Standard Job – Routine automated tasks to perform system maintenance tasks. The user sees these tasks, and if necessary, can change them.
  • Hidden Job – Jobs to automate everyday system tasks. They are hidden from the user, and in most cases, it is not recommended to change them, because the operation, maintenance and security of the system depends on the performance of these tasks.

In the Windows Scheduler, you can easily configure task execution scripts:

  • The job runs only when the user is logged on, or vice versa, whether the user is logged on or not.
  • The task is run as a user or with elevated administrative rights as an administrator.

Tasks for Windows 10 may not be compatible with tasks for earlier versions of the Windows operating system. Therefore, they cannot simply be copied for use on another system. When creating a job, you can specify compatibility with earlier versions of Windows so that the job can be applied to other systems.

Created jobs have different properties:

  • triggers.
  • Actions.
  • Terms.

Triggers are responsible for the start and end time of the job execution. The execution of the task, or, conversely, the completion of the execution, begins at a certain specified time: during system startup, when logging in, when the computer is idle, etc.

Actions determine the nature of the execution of the operation of a running task: the task launches programs, displays messages, sends messages by e-mail.

Conditions specify the circumstances under which a job starts or stops. Different conditions apply to specific situations, for example, the task starts running when the computer is idle for more than 15 minutes, the task stops running when the computer is running on battery power, the task starts after the computer wakes up from sleep, etc.

Opening Task Scheduler

You can start the Task Scheduler from the Computer Management snap-in, by executing a command from the Run dialog box, using other methods that are described in detail in this article .

Use one of the universal methods: in the Windows search box, type “task scheduler” (without quotes), and then run the system tool.

Setting up the Task Scheduler: viewing and managing tasks

In the main window of the Task Scheduler, the central part displays general information about the system tool and a summary of the status of the task. Task Scheduler control is set in the application window.

On the left side is the Task Scheduler Library with a tree structure of folders through which you navigate to the required nodes.

The central part of the window is occupied by information about the task being performed and its properties. The Task Status section contains a list of running, successful, stopped, and failed jobs.

On the right side is the “Actions” section for managing tasks: creating tasks, importing tasks, etc.

To select a task, navigate to the required folder in the console tree (Task Scheduler Library).

In the scheduler window, the tabs display information about the selected task: general data, triggers, conditions, parameters, log.

To perform actions with the selected task, in the “Actions” section, select one of the options:

  • Execute — start the task execution.
  • Finish – End the task.
  • Disable – temporarily disable the task execution.
  • Export – Save the job to a file for use on another computer.
  • Properties – view and, if necessary, edit the properties of the task.
  • Delete – Completely remove the task from the Task Scheduler.
  • Help – Opens a help file in CHM format with information about the Microsoft Management Console (MMC).

Most user jobs can be changed or deleted without any significant damage to the system. It is not recommended to touch system tasks so as not to cause problems with Windows.

To display hidden tasks, go to the “View” menu, and then check the box next to “Show hidden tasks”.

Task Scheduler: what tasks are running on the computer at the moment

The user can at any time view all running tasks in a given period of time. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. In the “Actions” section, click on “Show all running tasks”.
  2. In the All Running Tasks window that opens, the tasks in progress will be displayed.

Creating a task in the Task Scheduler

You can create a task in several ways:

  • In the Task Scheduler Library, select the desired folder, and then right-click, select “Create a simple task …” or “Create a new task …”.
  • In the open task window, right-click, select “Create a simple task …” or “Create a new task …”.
  • In the “Actions” section, select “Create a simple task …” or “Create a task …”.

The difference between the “Create a simple task” or “Create a task” methods is that the first option involves creating a task using the wizard, and the second method involves manually creating a task, with self-configuration of all parameters. When you create a task yourself, you are offered a choice of more settings.

The easiest way to create a task is in the “Action” section. Here are the following controls:

  • “Create a simple task …” – create a task using the wizard.
  • “Create a task …” – creating a task without the help of a wizard.
  • «Import task…» — import of a task from another computer, saved as a file.
  • “Show all running tasks” – displays a display of all running tasks at a given time.
  • “Enable logging of all jobs” – enable logging of all jobs, or disable logging, after enabling this option.
  • Create Folder – Creates a folder for the task in the Task Scheduler Library.
  • “Delete folder” – delete the folder with the task.
  • “View” – change the appearance of the application, enable or disable the display of interface elements.
  • “Update” – updating the parameters at the current time.
  • “Help” – help about the operation of the management console (MMC).

Let’s see how to create a task in Scheduler. For example, we will schedule the Google Chrome browser to automatically launch some time after the computer starts.

  1. Open the main Task Scheduler window.
  2. In the “Actions” section, click on “Creating a task …”.
  3. In the “Creating a task” window, in the “General” tab, give a name for the task, if necessary, add a description so that it is clear to yourself if the name of the task is not obvious.
Pay attention to the “Security Settings” section. Here you can select a user, the highest rights to perform a task, make a hidden task, and configure the task’s compatibility with other versions of Windows.
  1. In the “Triggers” tab, click on the “Create …” button.
  2. In the “Create a trigger” window, in the “Start task” parameter, you must select the condition under which the task will start. After making the necessary settings, click on the “OK” button.

To launch the browser, I chose the option: “At login”. In the “Advanced Options” you can postpone the task for a certain period of time, stop the task, activate, set the expiration date. Here I have selected the option to delay the task for 3 minutes after the system starts.

  1. The created trigger will appear in the Create Task window.
  2. In the “Actions” tab, click on the “Create …” button.
  3. In the “Create action” window, in the “Action” option, select the desired action. In my case, this is “Launching the program”. In the “Program or script” parameter, I entered the path to the browser executable file.

The path to the application file can be copied from the properties of the Google Chrome browser shortcut:

"C:\Program Files (x86)\GoogleChrome\Applicationchrome.exe"

In the “Add arguments (optional)” field, I added the main page of my site: “https://vellisa.ru/”.

  1. The Actions tab will display the scheduled action.
  2. In the “Conditions” tab, select the appropriate option that determines the need to complete the task.
  3. In the “Options” tab, you need to select the appropriate options. If necessary, change the default settings.
  4. Click on the “OK” button to complete the creation of the task.

After starting the computer, the Google Chrome browser will automatically start 3 minutes after the system boots, and, in my case, will open the main page of the site “vellisa.ru”.

Creating a simple task in Task Scheduler

Consider the following option: creating a simple task. The built-in Wizard for creating a simple task will help us go through the steps. With it, we will create a task to turn off the computer.

  1. In the “Actions” section, click “Create a simple task…”.
  2. In the “Create a simple task” window, enter a name for the task, and then click the “Next” button. Optionally, add a description of the task.
  3. In the Task Trigger window, select the appropriate option to trigger the task, and then proceed to the next configuration step.
  4. In the Daily (Trigger Setup) window, select an appropriate time and frequency to run the task.
  5. In the “Action” window, make a choice of action, click on the “Next” button.

The computer shutdown utility is located in the operating system folder along the path:

  1. In the “Run program” window (adjustment action), enter the path to the application’s executable file, and optionally add an argument. In our case, you need to enter the argument: “/s”. To continue setting up the task, click Next.
  2. Review the settings for the task you are creating in the Summary window. Make adjustments if needed, and then click Finish.

The task has been created, now the computer will shut down on its own at a certain time set in the Task Scheduler.

Deleting a task from the Task Scheduler

If necessary, the user can delete the task that has become unnecessary.

  1. In the main window of the Task Scheduler, in the “Active Tasks” parameter, find the desired task.
  2. Select the task, double-click the left mouse button on the task.
  3. The Scheduler window will display information about the task in progress.
  4. In the “Actions” section, click on the “Delete” button.

In the warning window, agree to delete the task.

Article Conclusions

The Windows Task Scheduler is used for scheduling and executing tasks to automatically start tasks related to servicing the operating system and launching programs. Task Scheduler creates persistent, periodic, or one-time tasks. Some tasks are created by the Windows operating system. The user can independently create the necessary task to perform certain actions on the computer.

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