Run, Stop, Schedule, Disable Automatic Maintenance in Windows 8 – FAQ

Windows 8 introduces a new feature that allows you schedule and run Automatic Maintenance on your computer. The task when run, will carry out task like security updating and scanning, Windows software updates, Disk Defragmentation, Disk Volume Errors, System Diagnostics, etc and also includes  enterprise-level  Network Access Protection scanning and security standards scanning on all enterprise workstations.

In Windows 7 and earlier versions, performance and energy efficiency are impacted to a certain extent, but in Windows 8, this  maintenance activity, is designed to run in the background – in a prioritized fashion – with limited user interaction and minimal impact to performance and energy efficiency.

Says MSDN:

Automatic Maintenance automatically stops currently running maintenance activities if the user starts interacting with the computer. Maintenance activity will resume when the system returns to idle status.

Windows 8 Automatic Maintenance

Automatic Maintenance in Windows 8 will run daily and will combine all the background maintenance activity, like updating of Windows software, apps, attending to Action Center messages, running background maintenance tasks, etc, without negatively impacting performance and energy efficiency. It will allow the user to be to be in control of maintenance activity scheduling and configuration too. But responsiveness of the operating system to users may be reduced when maintenance activity runs while users are actively using the computer.

The process is named MSchedExe.exe, and it is located in the System32 folder. To access Automatic Maintenance in Windows 8, open Control Panel and navigate to Action Center. Here under Maintenance, click on the small arrow on the right side. This will expose Automatic Maintenance. If you find that this is not being monitored, you may click on Turn on messages about Automatic maintenance.

This will let Action Center monitor Automatic Maintenance and give you any messages via the  Action Center icon in your taskbar.

If you wish to disable these messages, you can also do so by unchecking the option under Action Center > Change Action Center settings > Maintenance messages.

By default, Automatic Maintenance runs in the fully Automatic Mode, ie, your PC is intelligently scanned during idle-time and at scheduled times, without user intervention. The complete task is executed silently, and you will not even notice anything.

If your computer is busy, it will run the next time your PC is not being used.

If your computer is in Sleep mode, while on AC Power, it will be resumed, and the maintenance activity will be carried out using full system resources to execute the task as fast as it can. After completion of the task, the system will be returned to Sleep mode. You will however, have to check the Allow scheduled maintenance to wake up my computer, if it is plugged in at the scheduled time option.

If you wish to change the schedule of this Automatic Maintenance, click on Change maintenance settings, and from the drop down-menu, you will be able to set the timing.

If for some reason you wish to start the Maintenance task right away, you can do so by clicking on the Run Maintenance button. This will allow you to run this task at unscheduled times. This is referred to as the User Initiated Mode.

To stop the Maintenance job, you can simply move the mouse cursor. If it does not help, then you may click on the Stop maintenance button anytime. The task will be stopped in a few seconds.

When Automatic Maintenance is being run, you will see its indication in the taskbar icon.

Disable Automatic Maintenance in Windows 8

To disable Automatic Maintenance, you will have to open Task Scheduler  > Task Scheduler Library > Microsoft > Windows > TaskScheduler.

disable Automatic Maintenance

Here right-click on Idle Maintenance, Maintenance Configurator and Regular Maintenance and select Disable.

Tasks executed by Automatic Maintenance

Broadly speaking, Automatic Maintenance is designed to address and resolve these issues:

  1. Resource utilization conflicts
  2. Deadline scheduling
  3. Energy efficiency
  4. Transparency to the user

I have not been able to find out the exact number of system tasks that it carries out and in the order they are executed – nor is there any way currently to select or de-select the maintenance tasks – but I am sure Defragmentation, checking for Microsoft software updates, security scanning, system diagnostics, malware scanning, Disk Error Checking, checking Clock or System Time, checking if history, error reports and logs are currently taking too much disk space – and addressing these issues if required, etc. must be some of the tasks being executed.

When asked about the tasks being run, Dave Dixon of Microsoft replied:

You can see this quickly by typing “schtasks /query” that should list all scheduled tasks for a system.

So, you may open an elevated CMD type schtasks /query and hit Enter. You will be able to see the output of the tasks.

Your task runs for hours together? See Why does Windows 8 Automatic Maintenance take so long.

Posted by on , in Category Windows with Tags
Anand Khanse aka HappyAndyK is an end-user Windows enthusiast, a Microsoft MVP in Windows, since 2006, and the Admin of Please read the entire post & the comments first, create a System Restore Point before making any changes to your system & be careful about any 3rd-party offers while installing freeware.
  • Devora32

    How can I schedule the Automatic Maintenance using code?

  • Pdominicb

    how can I disable this?

  • Mob93761

    How do I disable Automatic Maintenance in Windows 8? It slws down my computer at startup, and I can’t do anything before it stops… I really hate this feature, so please provide me with means on how to stop this pesky thing.

  • BlackHatMario

    i think there is no way to disable autoatic maintenance… I tried to disable it in the scheduler but after a while it activates itself back to normal and starts annoying the crap out of me. I think the only way to get rid of this is to update to windows 7… or linux -.- who the fuck installed this asshole feature in windows 8? I want to see his face so I can hate him as much as I can.

  • Djharty

    mate its a good thing, it helps your pc run better and cleans it up without having to run programs like ccleaner, and it runs in the background without you having to do anything, and the person saying it slows their pc down well i think you need to get a better pc, ive got a core i5 processor and 6gb ram and automatic maintanance does not slow my pc down

  • BlackHatMario

    yes, it is maybe a good thing.. but it starts when I need silence. For example in school or library… the maintenance uses a lot of CPU (i7 laptop) and it starts whenever I don’t use my laptop for few minutes.

  • cjs

    I also have an i5 and I can tell you while watching movies with some players, maitanance will come on automatically and freeze the system and the movie will lag. So I know it uses up lots of resources.

  • Buck Robins

    I love this, you liberal asses think you know what is best and want to force everyone to do as you say. I am going back to win 7 till I can buy an apple computer. I will decide what is a good thing for me. Big deal you have a nice fast computer, stick it.

  • tootie38464

    how long is AUTO MAINTENANCE sopose to run ? when i click button to stop maintenance nothing happens,im on my computer alot and this is the first time i have ever seen anything in the action center

  • Anand Khanse

    The time would depend on your system. but it could be around 5-10 minutes. Give it a couple of minutes to stop, after you press the Stop button.

  • arnab pran bordoloi

    while i turn of my pc using windows 8,the shut down is prevented by a message containing “The end user” has stoped the turn off,please go back and complete your end task.please help,i am in a fix.

  • ElKrisO

    This is the WORST feature ever invented. I bought a brand new PC, fresh clean install of Windows 8.1, patched it all up, and before I install any apps or other software on it I’m waiting for this process to complete. Yeah, it’s been consuming 100% disk and CPU for 7 days NON STOP! When will it complete??? I mean, how badly can the disk be fragmented with only the OS loaded?

  • Neville Young

    What is the point of scheduling sw updates to make use of midnight download data, but then it waits for a time when the “computer is not being used” and downloads even if that is outside of the midnight hours. Do I have to wait up until midnight to start the download? Almighty MS must surely have thought about this. I cannot believe they would be so inconsiderate of their users (sarcasm)

  • AngelOfHate

    you say it doesn’t make an impact but that’s not true..every time this maintenance kicks in it disconnects me from the Game I am playing…it is very annoying because i have it set to run at 2 am but it runs all damn day long…

  • AngelOfHate

    it doesn’t slow my i3 down but it DC’s me from the MMORPG i am playing…very annoying auto maint. I know how to clean my PC and I have set it to run at 2 am but it runs at random times it is a stupid feature

  • AngelOfHate

    liberal asses always forcing their opinions on the rest of us…jackasses

  • Abram Carroll

    I have a 4770K @ 4.2Ghz and a Samsung pro SSD. It slows down my PC and doesn’t seem to do any maintenance. It’s always running unless I stop it and it comes right back. Exactly how much maintenance does a clean install of windows need? Infinity is too long and the PC will not go to sleep without me forcing it to sleep.

  • Carol

    How long should maintenance take? Mine has been running since 10:30 last night (almost 12 hours)

  • Anand Khanse

    In my case it normally lasts for 10-20 minutes. Wait for a couple of hours more and see if it stops. Else you may take a call to stop or disable it.

  • Carol

    As I said in my question mine ran for over 12 hours before I turned it off. Anyone have any idea what is supposed to do? And what could happen if it doesn’t run properly?

  • Anand Khanse

    Your question was simply: How long should maintenance take? Mine has been running since 10:30 last night (almost 12 hours). You did not say that you had stopped it. :)

    Anyway see if something here helps you:

  • dbarrow

    Is there any way to switch it off permanently or switch it to “manual”? I use my computer for live audio mixing and recording and if this stuff kicks in it trashes both.

  • Jack Hoff

    Help, I jacked on my keyboard and now I am running Windows 12.2

  • SeveranceHD

    It isnt when you have an SSD

    im getting some craaaazy i/o during idle periods, which I can only rationalize as it scanning the whole disk for faulty sectors or even worse, defragging the thing. Plus while gaming (input into a fullscreen program) or watching movies it sometimes catches it as ‘idle’ and you know the deal

    Defragging an SSD is a fast way to kill its performance.
    Microsoft began writing software for god damn dumn fucks since vista
    Adding stupid non-functional tools that do nothing and slow down already an already slow OS.

    fucking ms.
    getting real tired of their shit
    and fyi, my language is usually more appropriate than it was just now

  • Maanoj Rakhit

    does it check registry errors and fix them?

  • Anand Khanse

    No, it doesn’t.

  • Alex Edwards

    This is ridiculous. I’ve even changed my virtual memory to double my ram and it’s using 100% of the disk. It stopped yesterday after a restart, but it started today 10 minutes after I ran a fullscreen game which confuses the computer as idle activity. I defrag on my own and have an app that tells you when this kind of maintenance is required. I understand this will help a broad majority of users with very little knowledge of their PCs, but without a way to disable it, gamers and users with heavy performance requirements are taking a hit.

  • kjl

    win8.1 pro just creates a new maintenance task schedule that overrides the setting to stop it.
    It ran disk cleanup when I was downloading the win10 pro iso and the entire download just

  • alsoszaa

    psexec -s schtasks
    /change /tn “MicrosoftWindowsTaskSchedulerMaintenance
    Configurator” /DISABLE

  • Pete Sondergard

    I updated to window 10 and went back to 8 now my windows maintenance service is “unavailable” How do I get it back?

  • Anand Khanse

    Run System File Checker and DISM – Restorehealth. Search this site for details on it.

  • fortuner_eu

    Mines done exactly the same! I didn’t like the look and feel of Windows 10 so went back to 8. I’m now wondering what else might be wrong. So far I only see that the Automatic Maintenance wont work.

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