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Windows 11 has many features hiding just beneath the surface, many of which have been around for years. One of these is a program called Task Scheduler, which can automate tasks on Windows 11 so that they always happen on a regular basis. You can also create tasks triggered by other specific events on the computer.

The Task Scheduler may not be familiar to everyone, but Windows 11 and many installed apps already rely on it by default, allowing them to perform specific maintenance tasks, check for updates, and so on. However, you can take advantage of it yourself for specific tasks, whether that's something as simple as launching an app or a task that takes multiple actions in one go. Let's take a closer look.

How to create a basic task with Task Scheduler

There are two kinds of tasks you can create with Task Scheduler. You can create a basic task, which typically runs a single action, or an advanced task, which can take multiple actions and has more customization options. Let's start with a basic task.

  1. Open the Start menu (or Windows Search) and search for Task Scheduler. It should be the first result.
  2. On the left-side pane, double-click the Task Scheduler Library to see the existing folders of automated tasks.
  3. To separate your personal tasks from other system tasks, right-click Task Scheduler Library and choose New folder. Name it whatever you prefer.
    Screenshot of the Task Scheduler on Windows 11 with the option to create a new folder highlighted
  4. Select the folder you just created, then choose Create Basic Task from the menu on the right (you can also use the Action menu at the top).
    Task Scheduler Create basic task
  5. Start by naming the task (it can be whatever you prefer). You can also add a description to make it easier to identify. Click Next.
    Screenshot of the Create Basic Task Wizard with Name and Description fields
  6. Choose a trigger for the task. You can choose to do it on a schedule or based on specific triggers, such as when you log in to the computer. Let's say you want to run it daily. Click Next.
    Screenshot of the Trigger page in the Create Basic Task Wizard
  7. You'll have to set specific trigger conditions, such as the exact time and the start date for the task and how often you want the task to repeat. These will vary depending on the trigger you selected. Click Next.
    Screenshot of advanced trigger settings in the Create Basic Task Wizard
  8. Choose an action to perform. The Start a program option is the only option that's still fully supported, as Microsoft has deprecated the Send an e-mail and Display a message options. Click Next.
    Screenshot of the Action page in the Create Basic Task wizard. The option to start a program is selected
    • Start a program lets you run any program or script on the PC.
    • Send an e-mail option lets you send an e-mail from and to a specific address, including attachments, but you need to specify an email server for it to work.
    • Display a message shows a text message on the screen on the set schedule.
  9. Click Browse to select a program you'd like to run, or enter the path to the program under Program/script.
    Screenshot of the Create Basic task wizard with path to a program that will run with the task
  10. Optionally, set additional parameters or select a folder for the program or script to start in. This may be useful if you want to condition what the program does when it runs.
  11. Click Next and confirm the settings for the task you created.
    Screenshot of the summary of a basic task in the Create New Task wizard
  12. Click Finish if you're happy with the way it looks.

Your computer will now run the specified task on the schedule you set automatically, so you never have to think about it again. You can always go back and make changes to the task if you need to.

How to create an advanced task using Task Scheduler

The steps above are good enough for relatively simple tasks, but more advanced users might want to create advanced tasks, which perform more actions at once and have more options for triggers. We're going to assume you've already created a folder for your personal tasks following steps 1-3 above, so let's get into how to create an advanced task:

  1. Select the tasks folder you created and choose Create Task... from the menu on the right.
    Screenshot of Task Scheduler with the option to create a new task highlighted
  2. Choose a name for the task. You can also add a description if you want.
    Create Advanced task name and description
  3. Select an administrator account to run the task (preferably). If your account is already an administrator account, the default option should do it.
  4. Choose whether you want the task to run when you're logged in or regardless of that. In cases like Command Prompt scripts, running a task before you log in will prevent the Command Prompt window from showing up on screen.
    • You can also choose not to store the user account password with the task. This will make it so that the task can only access local computer resources and not user-specific resources.
  5. If the task requires administrator privileges, check the Run with highest privileges box.
  6. At the top of the window, switch to the Triggers tab.
    Screenshot of the Triggers tab when creating a new task in Task Scheduler
  7. Click New... to create a new trigger for the task.
  8. Choose the basic condition for the first trigger. We'll stick with On a schedule, which is strictly time-based.
    Screenshot of trigger settings for a task in Task Scheduler
    • There are many other conditions, such as At log on, so the task runs when a user logs in, or On idle, so it runs when the computer isn't being actively used.
  9. Choose the specific settings for the trigger you select. For On a schedule, you can start by setting the frequency and then select the start date and time. You can also select specific days of the week or month for it to run if you choose the Weekly or Monthly options.
    Screenshot of trigger settings when the trigger is set on a monthly schedule
  10. You can use the Advanced settings options to delay, repeat, or stop running a task after a set period. This is all optional.
  11. Click OK.
  12. You can follow steps 7-11 to create additional triggers for the task if you'd like.
  13. Switch to the Actions tab at the top.
  14. Click New... to select an action to be performed when the task runs.
  15. Choose whether to Start a program (or script), send an e-mail, or display a message. Keep in mind the latter two options are deprecated.
    Screenshot of dialog to select an action to be perform with an automated task
  16. To run a program, click Browse to find the program you want to run. Alternatively, enter the path to the program under Program/script, if you already know it. In some cases, such as system apps, you can just enter the name of the executable file without the full path.
  17. Optionally, you can use the Add arguments field to run the program with specific arguments or Start in to make a script run in a specific folder.
  18. Click OK.
  19. Repeat steps 14-18 to create any additional actions you'd like the task to perform.
  20. Switch to the Conditions tab (optional). Here, you can set additional conditions for the task to run, and it won't run unless the conditions are true.
    Screenshot of Conditions page for an advanced task in Task Scheduler
    • You may want to pay special attention to the Power options, which affect whether certain tasks will run when the computer is on battery power.
  21. Switch to the Settings tab.
  22. While many of these settings are optional, you may want to enable Run task as soon as possible after a scheduled start is missed, as it will ensure the task runs if your computer isn't turned on at the scheduled time, for example.
    Screenshot of task settings when creating an advanced task
  23. Also, check If the task fails, restart every box, and choose how many times it should try to run again.
  24. Check any other options you deem necessary and click OK.

And with that, your computer will now run the tasks you chose whenever the conditions you specified are met. This can save you a lot of time launching specific apps that you use frequently.

Edit an existing task

If you'd like to make changes to a task you've already created, the process is fairly simple. Here's what you need to do:

  1. Launch Task Scheduler.
  2. Choose the tasks folder you created from the pane on the left side.
    Screenshot of a custom list of tasks in Task Scheduler
  3. Click on a task to see its current properties.
  4. Right-click the task and choose Properties to edit it.
    Screenshot of a Task Scheduler context menu with the option to change the properties for a selected task
  5. Follow the same steps as before to make any necessary changes and click OK when you're done.

You can also run tasks on demand (unless you disabled that option when creating it). Simply right-click the task and choose Run. This can still be useful if you have a task with multiple actions that you want to run all at once.

That's about all there is to create an automated task using the Task Scheduler on Windows 11. This is actually not the only option you have for automation, though, as Microsoft recently started including something called Power Automate, which gives you other kinds of automation capabilities. That one does require a Microsoft account, but it can perform different kinds of tasks.

If you're looking to learn more about some lesser-known Windows 11 features, check out how to use Event Viewer to find records of errors on your PC. Or, maybe check out how to disable Microsoft Defender protection (temporarily).