Task Scheduler Not Running, Triggering or Starting Programs in Windows

Task Scheduler happens to be a built-in Windows utility that aids in automating and scheduling various system tasks.  Users can schedule particular tasks that can be triggered based on the occurrence of specific system events using Task Scheduler. Apart from scheduling, this utility can also help manage and execute Windows updates and initiate system restoration processes. However, at times, the Task Scheduler may fail to function in its usual capacity, affecting the execution and initiation of system tasks.

This article provides a comprehensive insight into the possible causes that can restrict the Task Scheduler from functioning normally and the corrective actions that can help resolve such scenarios.

Task Scheduler not running, triggering, or starting programs in Windows – Possible causes.

  • Misconfigured Tasks: Wrongly configured Task properties concerning its executable paths, apart from the absence of necessary arguments for the Task, can lead to the error. Missing or incomplete configuration can lead to the inability of the Scheduler to fetch or launch the intended program.
  • User rights and privileges: If the concerned user account doesn’t have the necessary permissions to run the task, the scheduled task may not get initiated or executed, leading to the abovementioned error.
  • Account Password Expiry: Another possible reason for the Task Scheduler’s inability to run, trigger, or start a task can be related to the expiry of the concerned user account password. Security measures enforced by Windows don’t allow task execution for accounts with expired passwords.
  • Task Compatibility: Suppose the task that has been scheduled is not compatible with the current version of Windows. In that case, it can also lead to improper functioning of the Task Scheduler, as incompatibility can lead to potential errors or system crashes while the task is initiated.
  • Security software or anti-virus conflicts: Potential conflicts or blockades from the anti-virus or security software installed on the system can also be a possible cause of the error above. At times, anti-virus may consider the scheduled tasks as probable threats to the system, thereby blocking it.
  • System resource constraints: Task Scheduler may not have sufficient system resources like CPU, Memory, etc., at their disposal while trying to initiate or execute tasks and hence fail to function in such scenarios.
  • Script or Program Errors: Problems related to the executable script that has been scheduled or bugs in the program to be executed can also lead to the error in question.
  • Windows Updates: Outdated versions of Windows or OS updates not being installed might also contribute to the error.

Fix for Task Scheduler not running, triggering or starting programs in Windows

Here is the list of methods you can follow to fix the Task Scheduler issue:

  1. Check and Restart the Windows Task Scheduler Service
  2. Change Service Configuration
  3. Initiate Task Scheduler from Windows PowerShell
  4. Run System File Checker
  5. Delete Scheduler Tree Cache

Make sure to use an administrator account to execute these suggestions. Ensure you have clarity on the commands and their output.

1] Check and Restart the Windows Task Scheduler Service

The primary and possibly the most crucial step in resolving the issue involves checking the status of the Task Scheduler service and restarting it to ensure it is functioning normally.

  • Open the Run dialogue box by pressing the Windows + R key and press Enter after typing services. msc.
  • Locate the service titled Task Scheduler in the Service Manager

windows service task scheduler

  • Right-click on the Task Scheduler and click on Properties.

windows task scheduler service properties

  • Check if the Service Status reflects Running and set the Startup Type as Automatic, if it is set otherwise.

windows task scheduler service status check

  • Click on Apply and then OK to save the changes and check if the issue is resolved or not.

2] Change Service Configuration

Users may encounter problems restarting the Task Scheduler service or changing its Startup Type from the Service Manager window. In such scenarios, the service configuration can be changed through the Windows Terminal by following the below-mentioned steps:

  • Type CMD on the Desktop Search Bar, click on the search result, and select Run as Administrator to open the Windows Terminal.

command prompt admin

  • On the Windows Terminal prompt, type
SC config schedule start=auto

service configure command line

The above command helps set the Startup Type of the Task Scheduler service to Automatic.

3] Initiate Task Scheduler from Windows PowerShell

Windows PowerShell is an advanced command-line utility compared to the Windows Command Prompt. PowerShell uses a wider range of commandlets that can be used to manage system services more efficiently. Hence, if changing the service configuration from the Windows Terminal (as mentioned above) fails to yield the desired result, the PowerShell can be used to initiate the same by following the below-mentioned steps:

  • Press the Windows + X key together to open the Quick Access menu.

windows quick access menu

  • Select Windows PowerShell (Admin) from the available list to open the PowerShell window.
  • On the prompt, type
net start task scheduler

powershell service start

The command would initiate the start of the Task Scheduler service.  

4] Run System File Checker

Task Scheduler relies on numerous system files, libraries, and their dependencies for triggering and executing tasks. If any of these system files or their dependencies are missing or corrupted, it can affect the normal functioning of the Task Scheduler. Hence, running the System File Checker can help restore these files and can help in correcting the problem effectively.

5] Delete Scheduler Tree Cache

The Task Scheduler Tree Cache in Windows is used to store information regarding the tasks that are scheduled and their respective triggers or pre-conditions. If the cache gets corrupted, it can affect the general functioning of the Task Scheduler. Hence, deleting or clearing the cache can refresh the Tree Cache, thereby contributing to the potential resolution of the issue. The following steps can be undertaken to delete the Tree Cache from the Windows Terminal:

  • Open Windows Terminal or Command prompt with elevated privileges.

command prompt admin

  • Type the below-mentioned command on the Terminal Prompt one after another in the same sequence as mentioned below:
    net stop task scheduler

windows stop service command line

del /q c:\windows\tasks\schedlgu.txt

delete tree cache command line

net start task scheduler

The first command stops the Task Scheduler service, after which the scheduler cache file, which is stored in the c:\windows\tasks\schedglu.txt is deleted, followed by starting the Task Scheduler service. The /q option is used with the del command to avoid the user confirmation pop-up window before deleting each task.


In conclusion, this equips its readers with all the necessary inputs on the possible causes contributing to Task Scheduler errors and the necessary resolution steps. However, we need to exercise due caution while executing the troubleshooting steps to avoid any errors that may hamper the stability of the OS.

Sandip Basu
Sandip has worked as an IT solutions consultant for the last 15 years and specializes in troubleshooting software and hardware.


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