Task Scheduler is one of those under-appreciated Windows tools nobody really talks about. Type Task Scheduler into your Start Menu search bar and you might be surprised to discover you already own it.
Today, we’re going to teach you how to use this under-appreciated app and give it the appreciation it deserves.
How to Find Task Scheduler
Task Scheduler can be found by typing Task Scheduler into the Start Menu search bar.
Alternatively, you can find it in the Administrative Tools section of the Control Panel, where it’s under the System and Security subheading.
Once you pull it up, you’ll probably be surprised at the number of automated tasks that already appear on the list. It should look something like this:
I had 49 tasks active before I ever opened Task Scheduler manually. Software like Microsoft OneDrive, Google Drive, and Adobe Flash Player Updater all define different conditions before they run. Adobe Flash Player Updater apparently checks for an update at 5:22pm every day, for example.
You can have greater control over your current tasks by visiting the Task Scheduler Library, where you’ll see this:
If you don’t like the look of any of the automated tasks, then you can click on the task in the list and then click “Delete from the menu.”
I don’t recommend doing this for any task unless you’re 100% sure you don’t need it. Otherwise, you could end up losing some critical update that compromises your security.
How to Create New Tasks
This is where the fun part starts. Start by clicking the Create Basic Task button on the right hand side of the page.
First, you name the task. Then, you describe how often you want that task to take place:
Maybe you want a certain software program to start every time you log in, or you want your computer to email someone every time you login (yes, that’s an option. From the next screen, you’ll see 3 different options:
Maybe you want your computer to welcome you with a friendly greeting every time you log in.
If you want to create a more complicated task, then you can do so by clicking the Create Task button, which is below Create Basic Task.
From this menu, you can customize your task even further. You can create the task only when a certain user logs in, for example, or define extra conditions like, “Start the task only if the computer is idle for 1 hour.”
If you’re worried about leaving your computer running an endless task when you’re on vacation, then you can also choose to Stop the task if it runs longer than 3 days. Or, if the task fails three times, then you can stop it from running again.
In any case, you have a wide range of options available to you to let you customize your task scheduling exactly the way you want it.
If you don’t want to go through the hassle of setting up your own tasks, then you can also import tasks that other people have made.
You import tasks in the form of XML files. Lifehacker published a decent list of different scheduled Windows tasks, including scheduled defrags, automatic restarts, or something as simple as starting a Firefox session when you login.