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Windows 8 – Task Scheduler

Windows runs a lot of scheduled tasks in background. For example, it runs disk defragmentation at scheduled time, whenever possible, in order to keep the disk space in healthy state.

Similarly, Windows checks and, if available, installs updates at regular intervals. Along with such system scheduled tasks, you can also schedule your tasks. All these tasks are handled by Task Scheduler.

How to Launch It

Control Panel Way

  • Open “Administrative Tools” applet from the traditional Control Panel.
  • Launch “Task Scheduler” from the list of administrative tools.

Command Way

  • Invoke Run window or Search Charm. Select the Settings tab in case of Search Charm.
  • Type in the command “taskschd.msc”, and hit Enter.

Display Structure

  • The Task Scheduler is visually divided into 3 panes.
  • The leftmost tree pane lists everything that the event viewer has to offer, in a tree structure.
  • The middle pane describes the selected item in the tree pane.
  • The rightmost Actions pane acts as a context menu, listing all the options related to the currently selected item.

Welcome Page

The first page displays a summary of the scheduled tasks.

The summary, shown in the description pane, is divided in 2 sections.

  • Task Status – This section summarizes tasks that began in the specified time period. You can change the time period, according to which the summary will change. The summary shows the number of currently running tasks, successful, and failed tasks. Also, you can see details of each task, like name, result, start time, end time, etc.
  • Active Tasks – This section lists the currently running tasks, along with details like name, next scheduled time, triggers that caused the task to run and location of the task.

Sample Scheduled Task – Defrag

As time passes, the empty space in a hard disk tends to get fragmented. This causes a declined in the hard disk performance as its needs to perform more read/write operations.

In order to keep the fragmentation minimum, Windows regularly defragments hard disk partitions. This task is handled by Task Scheduler.

The top section of the description pane lists the tasks for Defrag. Selecting a task displays the details of the task in the bottom section of the pane. The details include

  • Name, location and description of the task
  • Security options like what account that task should use, whether the task should run if or not a user is logged in, etc.
  • Triggers that should cause the task to run
  • Programs that should launch when the task starts
  • Conditions that the task should meet in order to start or halt
  • History of previous runs

The Actions pane, along with the global options, also shows context commands for the selected task, like run or end the task, disable the task so that it doesn’t ever run again, delete the task, etc.

All Running Tasks

You can view currently running tasks anytime by clicking on “Display all Running Tasks” on the Actions pane.

A small windows launches, which displays the running tasks with details like name, start time, run duration, current action of the task, location of the task, etc.

Create a Task

Task Scheduler is not only about system tasks. It can also handle user-created tasks. Suppose that you want to run a registry cleaner daily at 12 p.m., so that your system remains clean and fast.

Instead of having to remember to manually run it daily, you can simply schedule the task using the task scheduler.

The Task Scheduler provides two ways to create a task.

    • Basic Task – You are aided by a wizard in the task creation. It prompts you to enter the required configurations to create the task. All you have to do is enter them. At the end of the wizard, your task is created and scheduled.

To launch the wizard, click on “Create a Basic Task” located in the Actions pane.

  • Detailed Task – You are on your own in this case. This option lets you create a task with advanced settings.
    Click on “Create a Task” located in the Actions pane, to create a detailed task.


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