How to Edit, Disable, or Delete a Windows XP Scheduled Task

By Dan Gookin

Because few things are perfect the first time, you’ll probably end up editing, disabling or deleting your tasks after your create them. You may want to edit the parameters so defrag doesn’t run in the middle of the day when you are working or disable a pop-up reminder that’s popped-up once too often or delete a task that is no longer relevant.

Edit a scheduled task

  1. Open the Scheduled Tasks window.

    From the Start button menu, choose All Programs→Accessories→System Tools→Scheduled Tasks.


  2. Right-click the icon for the task you want to edit.

    For example, right-click the Defrag icon to fix the task.

  3. Choose Properties from the shortcut menu.

    The task’s dialog box appears.


    The task’s dialog box has three tabs, each of which lets you review or modify what the task does or when it runs, as well as other settings.

  4. Click the Schedule tab to modify the schedule.

  5. Click the Settings tab to review various options and stuff.

  6. Click OK to close the task’s dialog box.

  7. If prompted, type your password twice.

    All tasks must be assigned to a user, so you need to provide the password so that the task is run by your account.

You might consider test-running the task to ensure that it’s still working properly or that it’s been fixed.

Disable a scheduled task

All tasks shown in the Scheduled Tasks window run at their appointed times. That is, unless a task has been disabled. To disable a task, follow these steps:

  1. Right-click the icon for the task you want to disable.

  2. Choose Properties from the shortcut menu.

  3. In the task’s dialog box, on the Task tab, remove the check mark by the item Enabled (Scheduled Task Runs at Specified Time).

  4. Click OK.

A disabled task appears with a red X in its icon. In Details view, the Next Run Time column shows the task as Disabled.

Unlike deleting a task, a disabled task simply sits and waits. It doesn’t run. It does run, however, if you re-enable the task. To do so, repeat these steps, but in Step 3 place the check mark by the item Enabled (Scheduled Task Runs at Specified Time).

Delete a scheduled task

To discard a task you never use, or perhaps a test task you created, follow these steps:

  1. Select the task icon in the Scheduled Tasks window.

  2. Press the Delete key on the keyboard.

  3. If prompted, click the Yes button to confirm the file deletion.

Consider disabling a task as opposed to deleting it outright. Unlike deleting a task, when you disable a task, it’s easier to revive it, or, to reenable it. A deleted task has to be either recovered from the Recycle Bin or re-created from scratch.

Yes, deleted tasks are placed into the Windows Recycle Bin. The task appears by name in the Recycle Bin window. Tasks use the filename extension job.