Windows 10 Automatic Maintenance Features Options

With Windows 10, automatic maintenance runs in the background whenever the computer becomes idle, including when you sleep, as long as there is power. By default the automatic maintenance checks for errors to fix (via Windows Error Report), performs hard drive storage optimization, system diagnostics and optimizes other services to [generally] improve the overall performance of your computer.

With Windows 10, the automatic maintenance feature was designed to help keep your computer healthy and optimize it without compromising performance or energy efficiency.

Normally, automatic system optimization occurs once a day at a time when you are not actively using the computer. If your computer is in Sleep mode, while on AC Power, it will be resumed and the maintenance events will be carried out using full system resources to execute the task as fast as it can. After completion of the automatic maintenance, the system will return to sleep mode. However, it is possible to modify this schedule to avoid missing an automatic maintenance if your computer is turned off at critical times, or if something does not go as planned.

Automatic maintenance under Windows 10

Windows 10 Automatic Maintenance
Windows 10 Automatic Maintenance

Automatic maintenance is a set of associated tasks, scheduled to run daily at 3:00 AM by default. These tasks run simultaneously in the background only when your computer is powered on and idle. In this case, Windows 10 is able to actively perform maintenance and then sleep (economize power consumption) once it is done.

During a typical maintenance operation, specific tasks will run; hard disk optimization and defragmentation, scans for Malware, attending to Action Center messages, system and application updates, security checks, system and device diagnostics, and other tasks that assist in keeping your computer healthy and functioning optimally. However, the number of tasks will differ among various computers as software developers use different devices and special applications may be added as tasks to the standard Windows 10 automatic maintenance scheduler list.

The optimization process can only run for one hour per day. If the tasks are not completed within this time, they stop and resume at the next scheduled event. An exception to this rule is that for any tasks marked as critical, they will continue to run until completion, even if you are actively using the computer.

You can manually start the Maintenance task immediately by clicking on the Run Maintenance button. This is referred to as the User Initiated Mode.

Windows 10 Security & Manintenance Manual Mode
Windows 10 Security & Manintenance Manual Mode

It should be noted that Windows 10 updates are more likely to download and install outside the normal maintenance schedule. You can not use the automatic maintenance feature to disable Windows Update.

In case your computer is turned off or if you are actively using it, the planned maintenance operation will be delivered at another time when such scheduled tasks will not impact you.

Scheduled Automatic Backups: File History

A important role of maintenance schedules is about how backups are done. Windows 10 offers a feature known as “File History”. File History is a simple but important utility that that backs up your important files and it works automatically – once it has been set up. File History is  not a complete backup of your whole disk drive, however it is a backup the  folders where you store documents, photos, videos, music, contacts etc. Basically everything that is important.

You can find File History in the Control Panel or in Windows Settings.

File History - Windows Settings
File History – Windows Settings

Windows File History is typically set as off

Windows File History is typically Off
Windows File History is typically Off

You need to add an external hard drive, USB flash drive, or some other external media storage.

Then File History can be enabled for the external media (any).

Setup File History on External Media
Setup File History on External Media

Once you are ready to use that external media, you could click on “Advanced settings” and choose a time schedule for the File History and how long to keep saved versions.

File History will keep multiple versions of your files that often change and remove them after the set time period. If there is just one version of a file, it is left as is.

How to control automatic maintenance in Windows 10

Although maintenance works automatically under Windows 10, you can consider various aspects of automatic maintenance. Here’s how to do it:

To open automatic maintenance, you can search for its settings via Cortana or through the Control Panel.

Windows 10 open automatic maintenance
Windows 10 open automatic maintenance

Click the Maintenance section to bring up the automatic maintenance options

Click Change Maintenance Settings

Windows 10 Change maintenance settings
Windows 10 Change maintenance settings

Use the drop-down menu to choose the time you want the system to perform automated maintenance tasks.

Windows Automatic Maintenance Set Schedule Time
Windows Automatic Maintenance Set Schedule Time

Tip: If you do not want your computer to automatically wake up at night, disable the Allow Scheduled Maintenance option to interrupt the sleep of my computer at the scheduled time.

Click on the OK button

Once these steps are completed, your computer will run the maintenance daily, at the time you have chosen and for a maximum of one hour. Note that ff you do use your computer, Windows 10 will postpone this maintenance.

If you want to run maintenance immediately, you can click Start Maintenance . This will cause the maintenance to continue and continue even if you are actively using your computer.

How to disable automatic maintenance on Windows 10

Automatic maintenance is a useful feature and it is desirable to leave it on for your PC to work to its full potential. But if you notice problems, such as unexpected performance consequences, crashes, or other problems, you can disable this feature.

Warning: Changing the Windows registry is can be a risky operation unless it is done carefully. I recommend that you make a full backup of your computer beforehand.

Although there is no disabling option in the Windows 10 automatic maintenance settings, you can manually disable it by editing the registry. Here are the steps to follow:

Use the Windows + R shortcut keys to open the Run command

Type Regedit and click OK to open the registry

Follow this part of registry tree: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Schedule\Maintenance

Tip: On Windows 10 Creators Update and later, you can copy / paste the path into the new address bar of the registry to access the destination key directly.

Right-click Maintenance , select New and click 32-bit DWORD Value

Edit Windows Registry - Add new 32-bit DWORD
Edit Windows Registry – Add new 32-bit DWORD

Name the key MaintenanceDisabled and press Enter

Double-click on the newly created key and change the value from 0 to 1

Windows Registry - New MaintenceDisabled Value
Windows Registry – New MaintenceDisabled Value

Click OK

Restart the computer.

Once these steps are completed, the Maintenance section and its options are still visible in the Control Panel, but the schedule will not run and if you click Start Maintenance , nothing will happen.

You can cancel changes at any time using the same instructions, then choose to delete MaintenanceDisabled with a right click and then choose Delete to clear it.

How to view all the Automatic Maintenance Tasks in Windows 10

Right mouse click over the Windows 10 Start tMenu and choose PowerShell
Paste the command below into the PowerShell window

Get-ScheduledTask | ? {$_.Settings.MaintenanceSettings} | Out-GridView

Showing all the Scheduled Tasks
Showing all the Scheduled Tasks

In the result, you can see a list of all the scheduled maintenance tasks.

Although this guide is intended for Windows 10, you can use these instructions to manage automatic maintenance in Windows 8.1.