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Take control of Windows tasks with TaskSchedulerView

If admins notice any issues with tasks running on Windows, they can turn to NirSoft's TaskSchedulerView to pinpoint the culprit and fix the problems.

TaskSchedulerView from NirSoft provides an alternative to Windows' built-in Task Scheduler to examine and interact with the hundreds of scheduled tasks in any standard installation.

Tasks can include launching an application or sending an email, for instance. Many Windows applications schedule tasks for themselves -- and other system facilities -- during the installation process, so it's not unusual for a typical Windows installation to accommodate 200 or more tasks in the built-in Task Scheduler environment.

With all those tasks to keep track of, it's important for IT administrators to have a tool to easily find a certain task -- especially if one may be causing problems.

What can admins do with Windows' built-in Task Scheduler?

The Task Scheduler in Windows helps IT automate the creation and management of common tasks at specific times, but the built-in utility lacks in some areas compared to TaskSchedulerView.

The tool's Action menu supports operations such as:

  • Connect to Another Computer: Allows admins to create and schedule tasks on other networked PCs;
  • Create Basic Task: Admins can define a simple sequence of instructions to schedule and execute;
  • Create Task: Lets admins define a sequence of instructions that can involve multiple sets of instructions, and complex triggers, elevated privileges, runtime conditions and more;
  • Import Task: Permits admins to import and use a task they defined for one PC on another PC;
  • Display All Running Tasks: Shows all tasks currently running on a target PC; and
  • Enable All Tasks History: Tracks information for invocation and success or failure for all scheduled tasks.

What makes TaskSchedulerView valuable?

The issue with Windows' Task Scheduler is, there is no simple way for admins to find a specific task. So if a task is causing a problem, it's nearly impossible to figure out what's wrong.

A problem task, for example, might occur when a command prompt pops up on a user's Windows 10 device. The prompt appears, does its thing and disappears before the user can read more and find out what's happening.

That's where TaskSchedulerView comes in. The tool has a built-in Find command as part of its Edit menu, which admins can use to identify any task running on a user's device (Figure 1):

TaskSchedulerView at work
Figure 1: A search for 'cleanup' turns up a scheduled task named 'SilentCleanup,' among others.

With the Find command in TaskSchedulerView, admins can identify the task causing the command prompt to appear, and stop it from happening.

TaskSchedulerView offers numerous other advantages over the built-in Task Scheduler utility. It provides a single consolidated view of all the tasks on a system. The user interface in TaskSchedulerView permits highlighting of every other row to make its table layout a little easier to read. It also offers all data values in columns.

All in all, it's an extremely helpful tool and bound to be useful for admins and power users seeking to explore their libraries of scheduled Windows tasks.

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This was last published in December 2016

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