In order to ensure optimal performance, every PC needs regular maintenance checks, such as installing Windows updates, removing junk files, disk defragmentation, scanning for viruses, and more. Luckily, Windows 10 comes with an Automatic Maintenance feature that saves you the trouble of manually initiating these processes, making it possible for your PC to be in good health at all times.
What Functions are Performed by Automatic Maintenance in Windows 10
Tasks carried out by the Automatic Maintenance feature include security scans with Windows Defender, software updates, disk defragmentation and optimization, and several other system diagnostic operations.
Windows Automatic Maintenance is designed to run maintenance activities when the PC is not in use (but is turned on) so that you won’t experience any inconvenience. The default time is 3 am daily, but you can re-schedule it if you wish, just in case your computer is always powered off at that time or you are usually active then.
The maintenance session lasts a maximum of 1 hour per attempt. Any executing task gets suspended if you return to using your PC. If you happen to be using your computer at the scheduled time, the system will defer the maintenance. The suspended task will resume during the next idle period. However, you should note that a task that is marked as critical will not be suspended. The system will make sure that it completes even if you want to use your PC.
Some tasks might not be able to complete during the normal 1 hour maintenance window. This often happens when there are too many scheduled events or perhaps your PC was turned off. In such a case, you can define a recurring time frame (known as a deadline) in which the system must complete the task successfully at least once.
Should a task miss its deadline, the maintenance scheduler will initiate it again and attempt to complete it during the next maintenance window. But in order to ensure that a delayed task gets done, the scheduler will now have to extend the regular 1 hour time limit.
You will receive a warning notification in the Action Center if there is an issue with running a task. You can then initiate it manually. After the action is successful, the scheduler will set the maintenance schedule back to normal.
How to Change Automatic Maintenance Settings on Windows 10 Computer
There are different methods you can use to set the time for the daily maintenance tasks and choose whether or not the scheduler can wake the system to run maintenance.
Method 1: Using Control Panel
Follow these steps:
- Hold the Windows key and press I. Type ‘Control panel’ (no quotes) in the Run box that opens. Click OK or hit Enter.
- Select ‘Large icons’ in the ‘View by:’ drop-down menu in the upper left-hand corner of the Control Panel window.
- Look through the list of items and click on Security and Maintenance.
- In the new page that opens, click the arrow to next to the ‘Maintenance’ option to expand it. Then, under ‘Automatic Maintenance,’ click the link that says, ‘Change maintenance settings.’
- You can now indicate the time you want the daily Automatic Maintenance to run. Afterward, mark the “Allow scheduled maintenance to wake up my computer at the scheduled time” checkbox if you want to activate that option. Unmark it if you don’t want the scheduled maintenance to wake your computer.
- Click the OK button.
- You will receive a UAC (User Account Control) prompt. Click Ok to grant permission.
- You can now close the Control Panel window.
Method 2: Using Registry Editor
It is a good idea to perform a full backup before making changes in the Windows registry. Why? Because editing the registry can be risky. If you do something incorrectly, it can cause irreversible damage to your operating system. A backup will help you reverse any such damage.
Follow these steps:
- Hold the Windows key and press I. Type ‘Regedit’ (no quotes) in the Run box that opens. Click the OK button or press Enter.
- Click ‘Yes’ when presented with the UAC prompt.
- Once you are in the Registry Editor window, perform a backup by clicking on File > Export. Enter a File name and select a location where the backup file will be saved, then click Save.
- Now, back in the main Registry Editor window, navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE > SOFTWARE > Microsoft > Windows NT > CurrentVersion > Schedule > Maintenance
- When you get to the Maintenance key, double-click on Activation Boundary displayed in the right pane.
NB: If you don’t see Activation Boundary in the right pane of the Maintenance key, you will have to create it yourself. To do this, right-click on the blank area and click on ‘New’ from the context menu that opens, then select String Value and name it ‘Activation Boundary’ (no quotes).
- After double-clicking on the Activation Boundary string value, enter the time of your choice as indicated below into the Value Data field:
|2:00 AM – default||2001-01-01T02:00:00|
- Click the OK button.
- You can now close the Registry Editor window.
How to Turn Off Automatic Maintenance in Windows 10
Although Automatic Maintenance is a useful feature that keeps your computer running seamlessly, you can still disable it if you wish. To do this you will have to perform some registry modifications.
As previously mentioned, it is a good idea to perform a full back up before making changes in the Windows registry. Why? Because editing the registry can be risky. If you do something incorrectly, it can damage your operating system. A backup will help you reverse any such damage.
Follow these steps:
- Hold the Windows key and press I. Type ‘Regedit’ (no quotes) in the Run accessory’s text field and press Enter or click OK.
- Click the ‘Yes’ button when presented with the UAC prompt.
- Perform a registry backup – Click the File tab and click on Export. Enter a name for the backup file and select a location to save it. Then click on Save.
- Back in the main window of the Registry Editor, navigate the path:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE > SOFTWARE > Microsoft> Windows NT > CurrentVersion > Schedule > Maintenance
- When you open the Maintenance key, right-click on a blank area in the left pane and hover your mouse pointer over ‘New,’then click on ‘DWORD (32-bit) Value.’
- Enter ‘MaintenanceDisabled’ (no quotes) as the name of the new DWORD.
- Now, double-click on the newly created ‘MaintenanceDisabled’ DWORD and type ‘1’ in the Value Data field.
- Click the OK button and restart your computer.
Automatic Maintenance will be deactivated after you perform the above steps. If you wish to enable it again, all you have to do is to delete the ‘MaintenanceDisabled’ DWORD in Registry Editor. Simply follow the same procedure as shown above. When you get to the ‘Maintenance’ key in Step 5, right-click on ‘MaintenanceDisabled’ in the right pane and select Delete. Confirm the action if prompted by UAC.
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We hope this guide has been of help to you. If for any reason, you find the Windows Automatic Maintenance feature inconvenient, you can always use a Microsoft approved third-party tool, namely Auslogics BoostSpeed, to keep your PC in good shape.
BoostSpeed uses precise methods to safely resolve issues that cause your Windows OS not to perform optimally. The tool removes invalid entries and fixes corrupt keys in the system registry, clears out junk files, tweaks non-optimal system settings, automatically manages the processor and memory to ensure that your active apps run smoothly, and most importantly, it protects your privacy by removing all traces of your activity and wiping sensitive personal information that is stored in the computer’s hard drive (which, if left unchecked, can fall into the hands of hackers).
You can also schedule BoostSpeed automatic maintenance to detect and fix issues in real-time so that your computer can operate at the best speed and function effectively.