How to Start Scheduled Tasks with Delay on Windows

Most of you know that you can use the task scheduler to launch various programs or scripts and make them do a wide range of things, but did you know that you can actually delay execution of scheduled tasks?

The ability to delay task execution in Task Scheduler is very useful. For instance, on my Windows system there are many startup programs like Snagit, Enpass, OneDrive, FastKeys, etc. As you can guess, all these startup programs increase the Windows startup time. Typically, for me, the startup time is anywhere between twenty-five to thirty seconds.

I can disable some startup items to improve the startup time. However, I want these programs to start automatically. To improve the startup time, what I did was disable a select few startup items via task manager, added those programs to the Task Scheduler and configured it to launch them with delay at every system startup. By delaying the launch of not-so-important startup programs using Task Scheduler, I was able to reduce the startup time to below fifteen seconds. That’s more than a forty percent improvement without losing any functionality.

That’s just one use case for one particular scenario.

Let’s find out how you can delay scheduled tasks in task scheduler on Windows.

Though I’m showing this on Windows 10, the same method works on Windows 7 and 8, too.

The task scheduler has proper options and makes it easy to start tasks with a delay in Windows. However, the option to delay tasks is within the Advanced settings, and those settings are not available in the basic task creation wizard. To access the Advanced settings, you need to use the normal task creation wizard.

1. First, search for “Task Scheduler” in the Start Menu. Select “Task Scheduler Library” on the left panel, and click on the “Create Task” option appearing on the right panel.

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2. In the General tab enter a proper name and description. If the task needs administrative privileges, select the checkbox “Run with highest privileges.”

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3. We need to create a trigger. For that, go to “Triggers” tab and click “New.”

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4. Select a trigger from the dropdown menu. Since I want to start a program with delayed startup, I’m selecting the “At Startup” option. You can select any other trigger you want. The delay functionality is available for all triggers except the “on idle” trigger.

5. After selecting the event, select the checkbox “Delay task for,” and select the number of minutes from the dropdown menu. In my case I’m delaying the program launch for “15 minutes” after starting the system. Click “OK” to continue.

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6. Now, go to the “Actions” tab and click “New.”

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7. Select an action. In my case that is “Start a Program.” Select a program by clicking on the “Browse” button. If the program needs any additional arguments, you can enter them in the “Add Arguments” field. Click “OK” to continue.

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8. (Optional) If you are on a laptop, you might want to make the task start only when using AC power. If that’s the case, go to the “Conditions” tab and select the checkbox “Start the task only if the computer is on AC power.”

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9. You can leave the “Settings” tab as is. Click the “OK” button to complete the task creation process.

10. Finally, to verify if the task runs properly, right-click on it in the main window and select the option “Run.” If there are no errors, the task should run instantly.

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From this point on the task you just set will run with a delay according to your settings. Since I chose to delay the task at startup, it will run fifteen minutes after starting up the system.

Comment below sharing your thoughts and experiences regarding using the above method to delay scheduled tasks in Windows.

One comment

  1. Thank you…. I was using it for different purposes but never ever thought about it. Now I can enable some of my favourite programs at startup without affecting boot time.
    You’ll find interesting stuffs in regedit and group policy editor. Please do an article on them.

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