[Guide] How to Use Windows Task Scheduler

[Guide] How to Use Windows Task Scheduler

/ Sed Galope

The Windows Task Scheduler is a Microsoft Windows operating system component that allows users to create and set automated tasks. These tasks can be programmed to run at specific times after certain events occur or when a user logs on or off the computer. The Task Scheduler enables users to manage large tasks that are often complex and require frequent monitoring.

It also provides an easy way for users to launch multiple applications simultaneously without opening each application individually or manually. This automation can save time and effort by making routine processes easier and more efficient. The Task Scheduler can also be used for more advanced scenarios, such as running programs in remote locations or with different security contexts than those currently logged into the computer.

How to Create an Automated Task Using Task Scheduler on Windows 10

Task Scheduler is a valuable built-in tool in Windows 10 that allows users to automate routine tasks, such as launching programs, running scripts, and executing commands at a specified date and time or when a particular event occurs. By leveraging this feature, users can save time, increase productivity, and automate repetitive tasks.

This article will explore the steps to create an automated task using Task Scheduler on Windows 10. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced user, this guide will provide the necessary information to get started with Task Scheduler and automate tasks on your device.

Types of Triggers

To begin creating a task, the initial step is identifying the conditions that will initiate it. These conditions are called triggers and activate the task when they are met.

Triggers can be located in the Trigger tab of the Task Properties and the Create Task menu. You can also generate new triggers from the Create Task menu to suit your requirements.

trigger tab in task scheduler

There are two categories of triggers: time-based triggers and event-based triggers.

The time-based trigger is applied to tasks that either begin at a particular time or are repeated on a set schedule.

On the other hand, the event-based trigger is used to activate actions when a specific system event occurs.

Triggers for a Schedule

This type of trigger prompts the task to execute based on a predetermined schedule set up by you. Using the trigger settings, you can determine whether the task will be performed once, daily, weekly, or monthly.

1. Click Create a new task.

2. Click on the Triggers tab and click New.

begin the task

The time duration for this trigger is determined by the computer’s date and time. You can select the Universal box to synchronize the time interval with UTC (Coordinated Universal Time) and make it relative.

This function enables you to schedule various tasks independently in distinct time zones.

The One time trigger is straightforward to configure. You only need to specify the date and time you want the action to occur.

The Daily trigger is recurring and relies on the specified date and time to initiate.

An interval of A denotes a daily schedule, while an interval of B indicates an every other day schedule, and so on.

If you choose the Weekly trigger, you need to input the starting date and time for the schedule, the specific days when it will occur, and the repetition frequency. The recurrence pattern for this trigger is comparable to the Daily trigger.

When the interval is set to A, the task will be repeated weekly. When the interval is B, the task will be performed every two weeks.

The Monthly trigger does not vary significantly from the other types. You only need to choose the week and day you want your task to run.

The recurrence system is identical, except the minimum repetition interval is one month.

Triggers for Idle State

This particular trigger decides which action to initiate when the computer is idle. You can set the trigger conditions via the Conditions tab in the Create Task menu or through the Task Properties window.

trigger condition

Triggers on Workstation Lock

This trigger executes the task when the computer is locked. You can modify the settings to enable this action for all users or only for a specific user. You can apply the same procedure to the station unlocking process.

Advanced Settings of Triggers

Delay task for up to (random delay)

This feature permits you to introduce a gap between the activation of the task and its execution.

Repeat task every

In this section, you can establish a recurrence interval for your task. Consequently, after the task is triggered, it will pause for the specified time and then be triggered again. This sequence of events will persist until the designated period is completed.

repeat tasks

Types of Actions

The Actions tab in the Task Properties menu or Create Task window contains the task’s actions, which you can edit. If multiple steps are in the list, they will be executed in succession, starting from the action at the top of the Actions tab and concluding with the one at the bottom.

To modify the order of the actions, click on the action you wish to move and then use the arrow keys to shift it up or down.

types of actions

Action That Activates a Program

1. Click Create Task.

2. Go to the Action tab and click New.

activate a program

The Actions tab’s Settings menu lets you input the name of the script or program you intend to launch. If a sequence demands command-line arguments, you can modify them in the Add arguments text box.

The Start In section allows you to designate the directory for the command line that executes your script or program. It should either be the path to the program or the script file that leads to the files utilized by the executable file.

Action That Sends an E-mail

When setting up this action, you must provide your email address, the recipient’s email address, the email subject, the message you wish to send, and an optional feature to include different files as attachments.

Furthermore, you must specify your email’s SMTP server.

action that sends email

Types of Task Conditions

Conditions for a task determine whether it can be executed after it has been triggered. Although optional, they can assist you in achieving a more precise task outcome based on the operating circumstances.

The Conditions tab can be accessed from the Task Properties or the Create Task menu. It contains three categories of conditions: idle, network, and power. These optional conditions can help you create a more precise task that responds to specific operating situations.

conditions in task manager

Idle Conditions

Idle Condition is a type of condition in Task Scheduler that allows a task to run only when the computer is idle, meaning there is no user activity. The CPU usage is below a certain threshold. This can be useful for tasks requiring significant system resources and could slow the computer during normal operation.

The Idle Condition can be configured in the Conditions tab of the Task Properties or Create Task menu in the Task Scheduler.

Power Conditions

Power Condition is one of the categories of task conditions in Task Scheduler. It allows you to set conditions based on the computer’s power status.

For example, you can set a scheduled task only to run if the computer is on AC power or the battery level is above a certain threshold. This can be useful to conserve battery power or ensure a task doesn’t run if the computer is on battery power and may shut down soon.

Network Conditions

Using this condition, you can set up a task to run only if a particular network name is detected or any network connection is detected when the task is triggered. If your task requires certain network conditions, you can also define them in the conditions settings.

Task Settings

task settings

The settings refer to how a task is executed, terminated, or deleted. You can access the list of available settings from the Settings tab located in the Task Properties or Create Task menu.

Allow Tasks to Run on Demand

In this section, you can enable manual execution of the task before or after its scheduled time by selecting the Run task on-demand option. This allows you to run the task whenever you want without waiting for the scheduled time.

Run a Task as Soon as Possible After a Scheduled Start Is Missed

Enabling this setting ensures that a task will start running even if it fails to run at the scheduled time for various reasons, such as the device being turned off or the Task Scheduler being busy.

By default, the Task Scheduler does not immediately start a task when the service becomes available. Instead, it waits for 10 minutes before starting the process.

If the Task Fails, Restart Every Time Period

This setting enables the Task Scheduler to make repeated attempts to start a task in case it encountered an error during the previous attempt.

You can specify the time interval between each attempt and the maximum number of attempts to be made.

Stop a Task if It Runs Longer Than the Time Period

Using this setting, you can define a specific duration for a task. This is particularly useful for tasks that require a long time to complete, as it helps conserve computer resources.

If the Task Is Not Scheduled to Run Again, Delete It After a Time Period

This functionality eliminates the need for a manual task you would otherwise have to perform. By scheduling a task to run only once, you can ensure that it is automatically removed from the list of tasks after it is no longer needed, rather than cluttering the list and requiring you to delete it manually.

With this setting, you can specify a period of time after the task is triggered, at the end of which the task will be automatically deleted. However, remember that your task must have at least one trigger with an expiration date specified to use this setting.

If a Task Is Already Running, You Must Know a Few Things

To account for situations where an instance of the task is already running, it’s necessary to configure the Task Scheduler accordingly.

  • Attempting to initiate a new instance of the application is not recommended, as it could cause the current instance to stop running and prevent the new instance from starting.
  • If you wish to run a new application instance, it’s possible to do so in parallel with the current instance. The Task Scheduler is designed to support running multiple instances in parallel so that the new instance will run simultaneously with the existing instance.
  • You can queue a new instance. By configuring the Task Scheduler, it’s possible to schedule a new instance to begin running immediately after the current task has finished. The new instance will be added to a queue by the Task Scheduler without interrupting or stopping the current task from running.
  • Stop the current instance. Once the current instance is manually stopped, the service will attempt to run the next available instance.
configure task schedule

How to Use the Task Scheduler

Start Task Scheduler Using the Control Panel

1. Press Win + S, type, and open the Control Panel.

2. Click on Administrative Tools and then double-click the Task Scheduler app.

task scheduler in admin tools

Open Task Scheduler Using the Command Prompt

1. Press Win + S, and type cmd.

2. Select and open the Command Prompt.

3. Type taskschd.msc in the command prompt window, then press Enter.

taskschd cmd command

4. This command will open the Task Scheduler.

How to Create a Basic Task on Task Scheduler

1. Open Start menu and search, and open Task Scheduler.

2. Right-click on Task Scheduler Library and select New Folder.

new folder in task scheduler

3. Name the Folder and click the OK button. (Example: NewTask)

4. Expand Task Scheduler Library and select the NewTask folder.

5. In the right pane, click on Create basic task option.

create basic task

6. Enter a name for the task. (Example: Outlook Launcher)

7. Click the Next button to enter a task description in the Description field.

name new basic task

8. Select a Trigger Schedule on when you want the scheduled tasks to start. (Example: Monthly)Click the Next button.

set trigger schedule

9. Click the Monthly dropdown menu to select the months of the year you want to run the task.

monthly task schedule

10. To determine the days the task will execute, use the Days or On dropdown menus.

11. Using the On setting can be ideal if you intend to execute a task on a specific day of the week and click the Next button to continue.

additional schedule configuration

12. Select Start a program to open an app, run a command, or execute a script file.

start a program

You can choose either Send an e-mail or Display a message. Still, these are outdated functionalities that may or may not function correctly because Microsoft is no longer maintaining them.

13. Click the Browse button and locate the app.

browse app in task scheduler

14. It is optional, but you can input arguments in the Add arguments field to execute the task with specific instructions.

15. It is optional, but you can enter the folder location in the Start in field to specify the directory where the program will commence. Typically, it is not necessary to fill in this field.

16. Click the Finish button.

Upon finishing the steps, Task Scheduler will save and execute the task according to your specified schedule.

How to Delete a Task Folder

1. Open the Task Scheduler.

2. Right-click the Task Folder you want to delete and select Delete Folder.

delete folder in task scheduler

How to Create a Task Folder

1. Open Task Scheduler and choose the task folder where you want to create a new folder for your tasks.

2. Click on the New Folder button from the Actions menu and provide a name for the new folder.

3. Click on the OK button to complete the creation process.

How to Import a Task

1. Open Task Scheduler and select the task folder to import.

2. In the Actions panel, click on Import task.

import task in task scheduler

How to Export Task

1. Open Task Scheduler and select the task folder to export.

2. In the Actions panel, under Selected Item, click on Export.

3. In the dialog box, browse the location where you want to save the task.

How to Stop a Running Task

1. Open Task Scheduler and select the task folder containing the task you want to stop.

2. Right-click the task and select End.

end task in task scheduler

How to Enable or Disable a Task to Run

1. Open Task Scheduler and select the task folder containing the task you want to enable or disable.

2. Right-click the task and select Enable or Disable.

3. You can also use the Actions Panel to select Enable or Disable.

enable or disable task

Harness the Power of Windows Task Scheduler for Efficient Task Management

In this comprehensive guide, we have explored the ins and outs of Windows Task Scheduler, a powerful tool that allows you to automate tasks and streamline your workflow. By understanding the various features and options available within Task Scheduler, you can effectively schedule and manage a wide range of tasks, from running scripts and launching programs to performing system maintenance and triggering actions based on specific events. Whether you’re a beginner or an advanced user, Task Scheduler provides a user-friendly interface that enables you to create, edit, and monitor tasks easily. By harnessing the power of Task Scheduler, you can save time, enhance productivity, and ensure that essential tasks are executed reliably and efficiently. So, leverage the capabilities of Windows Task Scheduler to simplify your daily routine and unleash the full potential of your Windows operating system.

Sed Galope
Meet the author

Sedfrey is an experienced writer and editor. He's also a PC hardware and gaming enthusiast. In his spare time, he enjoys reading about the latest innovations in the PC market and finding fixes to hardware and software errors.