Windows 10 is a powerful and complex operating system, capable of millions of different tasks across a wide variety of different devices. Most of us won't use the vast majority of these on a day-to-day basis, but some can be extremely useful in saving time and streamlining your workflow.
One such example is scheduled tasks, which are usually created via Windows 10's dedicated Task Scheduler app.
What is a scheduled task in Windows 10?
Put simply, a scheduled task is an automation of a process that would otherwise have to be carried out manually. Windows 10 already automates a number of tasks in this way, like downloading updates and carrying out system maintenance tasks. These are usually set to take place during the night, when your PC is least likely to be in use.
The Task Scheduler app works by monitoring the time your device is set to and executing the commands at the specified time. This can be a simple command like 9am every Monday morning, or something more specific like the third Wednesday every month at 1am.
How to create a scheduled task in Windows 10
If you have the expertise, you can create a Windows 10 command to automate almost any process on your PC. However, for the purposes of this article we'll be focusing on basic commands. These allow you to
- Open the Task Scheduler app. The easiest way to do this is by typing 'task s' into the search bar next to the Start Menu and clicking the relevant option
- Before proceeding, it's worth right-clicking the 'Task Scheduler Library' in the left pane and choosing 'New Folder'. Give it a meaningful name and click OK, which will separate your created tasks from the existing ones already set up
- Ensure your new folder is selected and then choose 'Action' and then 'Create Basic Task...' from the menu at the top of the screen
- In the window that appears, give it a name and description that means something to you and click 'Next' For the purposes of this tutorial, I'll be opening the Google Chrome app every day at 9am
- Now, select the trigger relevant to your task and click 'Next'. For the 'Daily', 'Weekly', 'Monthly' and 'One time' options, you'll need to specify the exact time when you want the action to happen, and exactly how often
- Click 'Next' and then choose which action. For most tasks, it's 'Start a program', as Microsoft no longer maintains the 'Send an e-mail' (triggers email notification with custom message) and 'Display a message' (text message displays on screen) options. They may still work, but it's by no means guaranteed
- On the next screen, you'll see a 'Program/script' field. If you don't know the specific script, click browse to find exactly what you're looking for
- You also have the option to 'Add arguments' and 'Start in' criteria, but we'd recommend leaving both empty
- Click 'Next', and you should now see a summary of the task you've created. Click 'Finish' to confirm this is correct
The task you've created will now run automatically at the time specified. For more complex commands, you'll need to use Windows PowerShell and select 'Create Task' instead of 'Create Basic Task' from the Action menu.
How to run, edit or delete scheduled tasks on Windows 10
While you will have set the tasks to run at a set time, you can also trigger them manually if you'd like. To do so, right-click the relevant task in the Task Scheduler app and choose 'Run'. This will be useful if you've set up a complex task, less so if it's just to open an app as above. To delete it instead, click 'Delete' from the same menu. In the pop-up that appears, click 'Yes' to confirm.
To edit a task, follow the same instructions as above, but choose 'Properties'. The steps you went through during setup will now be displayed as tabs at the top of the window, although everything is still fully editable.
To edit a task, simply right-click it in the Task Scheduler app and choose 'Properties'. The steps you went through above will now be displayed as tabs at the top of the window, but it's still fully editable. To delete it, just click 'Delete' from the same menu and confirm when the pop-up appears.