The Windows Task Scheduler is a humble tool, but in its simplicity, it is powerful and versatile. It does exactly what it says on the tin: it schedules tasks in Windows.

Basically, the Task Scheduler lets you do something on your computer without having to remember to do it, or even be sitting at your desk. Here are some situations where this can be useful:

  • Running a backup
  • Running a virus and malware scan
  • Sending an automated email announcement or newsletter
  • Emptying your trash can
  • Installing updates and restarting the computer

These are all tasks that can be annoying to do while you’re trying to work on your computer. They interrupt you, slow down the network, or just waste your time. Let your computer take care of them on its own, preferably in the middle of the night! (You’ll have to leave your computer on for them to run.)

So, here’s how to get to the Task Scheduler. In Windows 8, you have to hunt for it a bit.

1. First, open the “Charm Bar” on the right.

2. Click “Settings.”

3. Click “Tiles.”

4. Under “Show administrative tools,” move the slider to “Yes.”

5. All your administrative tools, including “Task Scheduler,” will pop up. Go ahead and launch it.

In Windows 7, follow these instructions:

1. From the Start Menu, open the Control Panel.

2. Go to “System and Security.”

3. Click “Administrative Tools.”

4. Launch the “Task Scheduler.”

Now that you have the Task Scheduler open, click the “Create Basic Task” menu option to start the task wizard. In this example we’ll show you how to create a daily reminder email.


1. Enter a name for your task, then click Next.


2. Set the task to Daily, then click Next.


3. Set the start date to 3:00 AM (or your desired time), then click Next.


4. Choose the “Send an e-mail” option, then click Next.


5. Fill in all the fields for your reminder email, including your email address, the recipient email address, the subject, the text, and the outgoing mail server. Then click Next.


6. Review all of your settings. If they’re correct, click Finish! Your new daily email will go out starting that night.


You can do a lot more with the Task Scheduler, such as setting up multiple triggers, or running a script. If there’s something you want your computer to do automatically, there’s probably a way to do it. Just give it some thought.

by Sharon Campbell