When trying to automate tasks in Windows 11/10, or when an app or service intends to utilizing the Task Scheduler, users often encounter a common issue. The Task Scheduler service either cannot be started or restarted, or it might briefly start only to stop immediately afterwards with a message stating, “The Task Scheduler service on Local Computer started and then stopped. Some services stop automatically if they are not in use by other services or programs.”
The Task Scheduler in Windows is responsible for initiating and overseeing periodic or scheduled tasks without manual intervention. In this article, we’ll look into the probable causes of this issue and provide a detailed guide on how to troubleshoot and resolve it.
How to fix Task Scheduler service started then stopped or cannot be started
Below are the steps and solutions to address the Task Scheduler service cannot be started issue in Windows 11 or Windows 10.
Solution 1: Investigate Event Viewer for clues
Often, the best initial step when troubleshooting Windows services is to check the Event Viewer. This utility keeps detailed logs of system events, and any issues related to services will typically be recorded here.
- Access Event Viewer:
- Press Win + R to open the Run dialog.
eventvwr.mscand press Enter.
- Navigate to System Logs:
- In the Event Viewer window, expand “Windows Logs” in the left pane.
- Click on “System“.
- Filter and inspect logs:
- Right-click on “System” and choose “Find…“.
- In the Find dialog, type “Task Scheduler” and initiate the search.
- Examine any recent warnings or errors that relate to the Task Scheduler. The detailed message might provide insights into why the service is stopping.
What to look for:
It’s crucial to look for entries that have Task Scheduler as the source or mention it in the description. Any errors or warnings related to this service can give vital information on the root cause.
Related resource: How to Disable or Enable Startup Services on Windows 11 or 10
Solution 2: Check and modify the registry entries for the Task Scheduler service
Sometimes, issues with the Windows Task Scheduler service can stem from problematic or corrupted registry settings. Here’s how you can address potential registry issues.
Warning: Editing the Windows Registry comes with inherent risks. A wrong modification can lead to system instability or other unforeseen issues. It’s strongly recommended to create a system restore point before proceeding. This will allow you to revert your system to its previous state in case of any mishaps.
- Navigate to the Task Scheduler service entry:
- Press Win + R to open the Run dialog.
regeditand press Enter to open the Registry Editor.
- In the Registry Editor, navigate to
- Check the “Start” DWORD value:
- On the right pane, look for the “Start” DWORD entry.
- Ensure its value is set to 2, which means “Automatic“. If it’s set to another number, like 4 (Disabled) or 3 (Manual), double-click on it and change the value to 2.
- Optional: Examine related entries:
- It’s also worthwhile to inspect the “TimeBrokerSvc” settings, which are sometimes linked to Task Scheduler issues.
- Navigate to
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\TimeBrokerSvcin the Registry Editor.
- Ensure the “Start” value is set to 3. If not, modify it accordingly.
- Restart the computer:
- After making necessary changes, reboot your system to see if the Task Scheduler service behaves as expected.
Alternative method: Run CMD commands for the modifications
If you’re comfortable using the Command Prompt, here’s a quicker way to export the registry key for backup and modify the necessary values:
- Run Command Prompt as administrator: Click Start menu and type “cmd” in the search bar. Right-click on “Command Prompt” in the search results and select “Run as administrator“.REG EXPORT HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Schedule %TEMP%\Schedule.reg
- Backup Task Scheduler service entry:
REG EXPORT HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Schedule %TEMP%\Schedule.reg
This command exports the current registry settings for the Task Scheduler service to a
.regfile saved in the system’s temporary folder.
- Set Task Scheduler to Automatic:
REG ADD HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Schedule /F /V Start /T REG_DWORD /D 2
This command sets the Task Scheduler service’s “Start” value to “Automatic.”
- For the Time Broker Service (TimeBrokerSvc):
First, let’s backup the registry entry:
REG EXPORT HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\TimeBrokerSvc %TEMP%\TimeBrokerSvc.reg
Then, to set its “Start” value to “Manual” (which allows other processes or services that depend on “TimeBrokerSvc” to start it when needed):
REG ADD HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\TimeBrokerSvc /F /V Start /T REG_DWORD /D 3
Reminder: Always be cautious when using CMD commands to modify the registry. A small typo or mistake can lead to undesired changes. It’s why the first step always involves creating a backup.
Solution 3: Check the dependencies of the Task Scheduler service
The Task Scheduler service may rely on other services to function correctly. If one or more of these dependent services are not running, it can cause the Task Scheduler service to malfunction. Here’s how you can check and ensure that all dependencies of the Task Scheduler service are operating as they should:
- Access Services.msc:
- Press Win + R to open the Run dialog.
services.mscand press Enter.
- Locate Task Scheduler:
- In the Services window, scroll down and find the Task Scheduler service.
- Check Startup Type:
- Double-click on Task Scheduler to open its Properties.
- In the General tab, ensure the Startup Type is set to “Automatic“. If not, change it.
- Inspect Dependencies:
- Still in the Properties window, navigate to the Dependencies tab.
- Check if there are any services that Task Scheduler relies on and ensure those are running. If they aren’t, it might prevent Task Scheduler from functioning correctly.
Solution 4: Use System File Checker (SFC) and DISM
Corrupted system files can cause unexpected service behavior. The built-in System File Checker (SFC) and Deployment Image Servicing and Management (DISM) tools can detect and repair corrupted Windows system files.
- Run System File Checker:
- Open the Command Prompt as administrator by clicking the Start button, typing “cmd” in the search bar, and right-clicking on the “Command Prompt” search result. Choose “Run as administrator.” Click “Yes” when prompted by the User Account Control dialog.
- Type the following command and press Enter:
- Wait for the scan to complete. If the SFC finds and fixes issues, it will report its actions once finished.
- Use DISM if necessary:
- If SFC doesn’t resolve the issue or reports that some files couldn’t be fixed, proceed with DISM.
- In the elevated Command Prompt, type the following commands one by one, pressing Enter after each:
DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /CheckHealth DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /ScanHealth DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth
- After running SFC and/or DISM, restart your computer to apply any fixes and then check the status of the Task Scheduler service.
- SFC works by scanning and replacing corrupted system files with known good versions.
- DISM can be seen as a more robust tool, especially useful when SFC can’t do the job. It checks the Windows component store for corruption and restores its health.
Solution 5: Create a new user profile
Sometimes, issues related to Windows services can be isolated to a specific user profile. Corruptions or misconfigurations within a profile can lead to unexpected behaviors. Testing with a new, fresh user profile can help identify if this is the case.
- Create a new user:
- Open Settings (via the Start menu or Win + i).
- Navigate to Accounts > Other Users.
- Under “Other users”, click on “Add account” and follow the prompts to create a new user. Ensure you provide the user with administrative privileges.
- Switch to the new user:
- Log out of your current profile.
- Log into the newly created user profile.
- Check Task Scheduler service:
- Once logged into the new profile, attempt to start the Task Scheduler service to see if the issue persists.
- Evaluate & decide:
- If the Task Scheduler works fine on the new profile, the problem likely resides within your original user profile. You might consider transferring your files and settings to this new profile and using it as your primary one.
- If the issue persists even on the new profile, it indicates a system-wide problem, and you should return to your original profile and continue troubleshooting other potential causes.
- Transferring to a new user profile can be time-consuming, as you’ll need to move your files, reinstall certain applications, and reconfigure settings. It’s recommended as a more drastic measure, especially if other solutions don’t rectify the issue.
In many scenarios, the issue of the Task Scheduler service failing to initiate or starting and then abruptly stopping can be traced back to the service being inadvertently set to “Disabled”. Simply adjusting its setting to “Automatic” typically resolves the problem for most users. Additionally, ensuring that all dependent services are active and running smoothly often proves to be a straightforward and effective solution to such problem.