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How to Change and Manually Start and Stop Automatic Maintenance in Windows 8

00_lead_image_maintenance_settings

Windows 8 has a new feature that allows you to automatically run scheduled daily maintenance on your computer. These maintenance tasks run in the background and include security updating and scanning, Windows software updates, disk defragmentation, system diagnostics, among other tasks.

We’ve previously shown you how to automate maintenance in Windows 7, Vista, and XP. Windows 8 maintenance is automatic by default and the performance and energy efficiency has been improved over Windows 7. The program for Windows 8 automatic maintenance is called MSchedExe.exe and it is located in the C:\Windows\System32 directory.

We will show you how you can change the automatic maintenance settings in Windows 8 and how you can start and stop the maintenance manually.

NOTE: It seems that you cannot turn off the automatic maintenance in Windows 8. You can only change the settings and start and stop it manually.

To access the maintenance settings, move the mouse on the Desktop to the extreme, lower left corner of the screen until the Start screen button displays. Right-click and select Control Panel from the popup menu. You can also press the Windows key + X to access this menu. If you are currently on the Start screen, press the Windows key + D to move to the Desktop.

NOTE: There are other ways to access the Control Panel in Windows 8, as well.

01_opening_control_panel

If the Control Panel window displays in Category mode, click the drop-down list next to View by in the upper, right corner. Select either Large icons or Small icons.

01a_selecting_small_icons

Click Action Center.

02_opening_action_center

On the Action Center window, click the down arrow on the Maintenance heading to open that section.

05_clicking_on_maintenance

To change the schedule for automatic maintenance, click the Change maintenance settings link.

06_clicking_change_maintenance_settings

The Automatic Maintenance window allows you to select the time of day you want to run maintenance tasks, which are only run if your computer is not in use. To allow the scheduled maintenance to wake up your computer when it is plugged in to run the maintenance tasks at the specified time, select the Allow scheduled maintenance to wake up my computer at the scheduled time.

When Allow scheduled maintenance to wake up my computer at the scheduled time is selected (there is a check mark in the box), and you are running a laptop or a tablet on a battery, Automatic Maintenance will not wake up your system, preserving your battery power. However, if your computer is in Sleep mode while plugged in, Automatic Maintenance wakes up your computer and the maintenance tasks are performed using the full system resources so the tasks are performed as fast as the system can. After the system completes the maintenance tasks, it returns to Sleep mode.

Click OK to accept your changes and return to the Action Center.

NOTE: When you return to the Action Center, you have to open the Maintenance section again using the down arrow.

07_changing_maintenance_schedule

To run start the maintenance running manually, click Start maintenance.

08_clicking_start_maintenance

While maintenance is running in the background, a clock icon displays on the Action Center flag icon in the notification area, showing a “Maintenance in progress” message when you move your mouse over the icon.

09_maintenance_in_progress_message

While maintenance is in progress, a Stop maintenance link is available under Automatic Maintenance. Click the link to stop the maintenance.

NOTE: You can only stop Automatic Maintenance if it’s already running.

10_clicking_stop_maintenance

While maintenance tasks are running, various messages display in the notification area from the Action Center. If you don’t want to see the messages, or only want to see messages for certain maintenance tasks, click the Change Action Center settings link on the left side of the Action Center window.

03_clicking_change_action_center_settings

In the Maintenance messages section of the Change Action Center settings window, all the check boxes for the messages are selected by default. To hide messages for specific types of maintenance tasks, select the desired check boxes so there are NO check marks in the boxes. Click OK to accept your changes and return to the Action Center.

04_turning_off_automatic_maintenance_messages

Close the Action Center on the Control Panel window by clicking the X in the upper, right corner of the window.

Lori Kaufman is a freelance technical writer who likes to write geeky how-to articles to help make people's lives easier through the use of technology. She loves watching and reading mysteries and is an avid Doctor Who fan.

  • Published 10/22/12

Comments (3)

  1. Paul

    That’s the trouble with Windows 8 — too much automated crap happening when I don’t want it to. Why can’t they just let a computer be? Why do they think they need to run all this crap for us? .

  2. A

    Because most users have no clue that they ever need to fix maintain they’re computer and let it get bogged down. Windows is just making an OS that will help the people who aren’t as computer savy, but still allowing the savy people to change their settings.

  3. b

    So why not let us turn the bloody thing off?!

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