[Fix] Can’t Create Tasks to Display Messages in Task Scheduler in Windows 8 and Later

NOTE 1: This tutorial was created specifically for Windows 8 but it should also work in previous Windows versions such as Windows 7, etc.

NOTE 2: This tutorial will also work in Windows 8.1 and later.

SUMMARY:

Task Scheduler is a built-in program in Windows OS which allows you to schedule tasks and reminders. In previous Windows versions you could create tasks to show messages, send emails or launch specific programs at scheduled time but Microsoft has removed the ability to display message and send email using Task Scheduler in Windows 8. Windows 8 Task Scheduler only allows you to create tasks which can launch programs, that's it. Display message and send email features are now deprecated in Windows 8.

This tutorial will help you in getting these removed features back in Task Scheduler of Windows 8.

DESCRIPTION:

Personally I love "Task Scheduler" program in Windows. I have approx. 20 scheduled tasks in Task Scheduler and it helps me a lot in doing the things on time. I have tried many free task scheduling software in past but the built-in Task Scheduler of Windows is the best among all. Its very simple and easy to use and it does its task perfectly.

Also it allows you to backup and restore your tasks so that you don't need to create the tasks again if you format Windows or want to set the same tasks on a new computer system. You can simply restore your tasks without any headache. We also posted a tutorial in past which helps you in restoring all your tasks quickly and easily in a single click. You can read the tutorial at following link:

How to Import (Restore) All Tasks in Bulk Using Task Scheduler in Windows?

I also have a backup of all my important tasks and I have created a batch script with the help of above mentioned tutorial to restore them quickly. Whenever I reinstall Windows, I restore all the tasks easily.

But the problem occurred when I tried to restore the tasks in Windows 8. When I ran the batch script, it showed following error message:

ERROR: The task definition uses a deprecated feature.

Task_Scheduler_Deprecated_Feature_Error_Message.png

I didn't understand the problem at first so I decided to run the script as Administrator but no benefit. I double-checked the syntax of commands in the script, I checked each and everything but I got the same error every time I tried to run the script.

Then I decided to manually import the backup tasks using Task Scheduler program. I clicked on import tasks option and selected a task to restore but again Task Scheduler showed following error message:

An error has occurred for task Take medicine. Error message: The following error was reported: 2147750704.

Task_Scheduler_Error_Message.png

I was clueless why were the tasks not getting restored in Windows 8? I never had any such problem while restoring the same tasks using the same method in Windows 7. I tried to set the "Configure for" option of the task to Windows Vista or Windows 7 but it also didn't help.

So I decided to investigate the issue and tried to create a new task manually in Windows 8 Task Scheduler and then I found the culprit. Actually Microsoft has removed 2 features from Task Scheduler of Windows 8:

  • Display a message
  • Send an e-mail

Now you can't create a task in Task Scheduler of Windows 8 to show a message or to send an email. When you create a task and go to the "Actions" tab to set an action for the task, you see following:

Display_Message_Send_Email_Features_Deprecated_Task_Scheduler.png

As you can see both "Display a message" and "Send an e-mail" options show "(deprecated)" text which means both features have been removed from Windows 8. I can't understand why did Microsoft remove these important features?

Now you can only start a program with Task Scheduler, you can't set it to show message or send emails. That's why when I was trying to import my tasks which were set to show message, Task Scheduler and batch script were showing error messages because this feature has been removed from Windows 8.

"Display a message" was an essential part of Task Scheduler. Without this feature Task Scheduler in Windows 8 is quite useless. We usually schedule a task to remind us about an important event and showing a message for that event is the easiest way to remind.

If you also use Windows Task Scheduler and if you are using Windows 8 but missing the show message feature, this tutorial will definitely help you.

Today in this tutorial, we are going to tell you a simple way to force Windows 8 Task Scheduler to show message for tasks.

HOW-TO INSTRUCTIONS:

Although Microsoft removed the feature to show message using Task Scheduler but we can use the built-in "Command Prompt" or "PowerShell" programs to show message in our tasks. We'll set Task Scheduler to start PowerShell or Command Prompt as the program and will provide required commands to show our desired message as program's arguments.

So without wasting time lets start the tutorial:

1. First of all open Task Scheduler. You can open it using Start Screen by just typing task and Windows will show Task Scheduler in search results. You can also directly launch it by runningĀ taskschd.msc command from RUN box.

2. If you want to create a new task, click on "Create Task" link given in right-side pane. If you want to import an existing task, click on "Import Task" link.

Now there are 2 different methods to show a message for the task:

  • Using Command Prompt
  • Using PowerShell

You can choose any of the 2 methods according to your requirements. We are sharing both methods:

METHOD 1: Using Command Prompt

To set the task action to display a message, go to "Actions" tab, click on "New" button (or click on "Edit" button if you are editing the imported task) and type msg in "Program/script" textbox and in "Add arguments" textbox paste following string:

* Your_Desired_Message

NOTE: You'll need to replace Your_Desired_Message with the message which you want to show inside message box i.e. message body as shown in following screenshot:

Show_Message_Using_MSG_Command.png

That's it. Now Task Scheduler will allow you to create or import the task without any problem. Whenever the scheduled time comes, you'll see the desired message as shown in following screenshot:

Task_Scheduler_Message_Running.png

NOTE: If you want to directly modify the XML file of the task (which you got after exporting your tasks) to replace deprecated display message command with the new msg command, you can do it as well using following steps:

1. Open XML file and scroll down to bottom and you'll see following piece of code:

<Actions Context="Author">
<ShowMessage>
<Title>Your_Message_Title</Title>
<Body>Your_Message_Body</Body>
</ShowMessage>
</Actions>

2. Just replace the above code with following:

<Actions Context="Author">
<Exec>
<Command>msg</Command>
<Arguments>Your_Message_Body</Arguments>
</Exec>
</Actions>

Again you just need to replace Your_Message_Body with your desired message. Save the XML file and you'll be able to import it in Windows 8 Task Scheduler. Also the batch script will no longer show any error message.

METHOD 2: Using PowerShell

If you don't want to use msg command or if the msg command doesn't work for you, you can take help of PowerShell command.

When you open "Actions" tab, click on "New" button (or click on "Edit" button if you are editing the imported task) and type powershell in "Program/script" textbox and in "Add arguments" textbox paste following string:

-WindowStyle hidden -Command "& {[System.Reflection.Assembly]::LoadWithPartialName('System.Windows.Forms'); [System.Windows.Forms.MessageBox]::Show('Your_Desired_Message','Your_Desired_Title')}"

NOTE: You'll need to change only 2 things in the above mentioned string which have been given in bold letters. Replace Your_Desired_Message with the message which you want to show inside message box i.e. message body and replace Your_Desired_Title with the desired title which you want to show in message box titlebar.

Set_Powershell_Program_Task_Scheduler_Action.png

That's it. Now Task Scheduler will allow you to create or import the task without any problem. Whenever the scheduled time comes, you'll see the desired message as shown in following screenshot:

Task_Scheduler_Task_Running.png

You'll also see a command prompt window for a second just before the task message is shown on screen, don't worry its the main PowerShell window which we are using to show the message. Since we have set the window style to hidden in our task command, it shows and disappears within seconds. It should not be an issue at all.

NOTE: To directly modify the XML file of the task, just follow these simple steps:

1. Open XML file and scroll down to bottom and you'll see following piece of code:

<Actions Context="Author">
<ShowMessage>
<Title>Your_Message_Title</Title>
<Body>Your_Message_Body</Body>
</ShowMessage>
</Actions>

2. Just replace the above code with following:

<Actions Context="Author">
<Exec>
<Command>powershell</Command>
<Arguments>-WindowStyle hidden -Command "&amp; {[System.Reflection.Assembly]::LoadWithPartialName('System.Windows.Forms'); [System.Windows.Forms.MessageBox]::Show('Your_Message_Body','Your_Message_Title')}"</Arguments>
</Exec>
</Actions>

Again you just need to replace the 2 entries mentioned in bold with your desired message and title. Save the XML file and you'll be able to import it in Windows 8 Task Scheduler. Also the batch script will no longer show any error message.

That's it. I hope it'll help Windows 8 users who were missing the display message feature of Task Scheduler...





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Posted in: Troubleshooting, Windows 10, Windows 8 / 8.1


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Comments

  • wtf?? first of all, big fail move by microsoft

    thx for the post i actually didnt know about this task scheduler thing.

  • @ Kyle

    "Aero Glass" removing is fail. You can see a lot of negative comments in forums.

  • Another discontinued feature from Windows 8. Thanks VG for providing this working method. I love your work. :)

  • Microsoft keeps discontinue good features.

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_features_removed_in_Windows_Vista
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_features_removed_in_Windows_7
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_features_removed_in_Windows_8

  • @NZero, for the Windows 8 article, try this link instead LOL:
    xpwasmyidea.blogspot.com/2011/09/features-removed-in-windows-8.html

    Windows 8 is like modern day Windows 98 (although because it's NT, it doesn't have stability issues). Windows 7 is like Windows 2000 (9x++). MS will do their best to try you to convince otherwise..

  • Nice one.

  • Hey thanks for the info, it was really use fully, if same was there for how to send an email, it was too good hope you will update. Thanks once again.

  • Aren't you a smarty pants?!?! Well done and thank you very much. I love my task scheduler. It reminds me to pay bills and ppls bdays etc.

    Windows 8 is really below par I reckon. Not impressed with it AT ALL. Thank goodness there are ppl like you around.

    Cheers again.

  • "Let's put a word non native english speakers don't understand on an essential feature of a new version of our flagship product, let them create something that will of course let them fail, then throw a 10 digit errorcode they have to Google to find that we let them run in to a wall on a non-MS blog."

  • Deprecated. De = away from, pre = for, cated = care? away from care? Not taken care off? Why not remove it at all. Leave the code for what ever reason, just remove it from the dropdown. This is like those "Beware of pickpockets" signs and announcements; I don't get them either; if you know they're there, arrest them!

  • Thank you! I was looking for a way to check when my HTPC was encountering errors and was unable to create these tasks in Windows 8. I'm upset Microsoft removed this feature, but glad to know workarounds exist.

  • Thank you!!! Great solution. Just one thing: when you use the msg command, is there no why to prevent the cmd window to pop-up? I sometimes close it accidentally before message is displayed as I am typing or something and it just closes. My guess is that because the window pops-up I click the X by mistake.

  • VG

    ^^ The cmd window appears for a while and automatically disappears.

  • Great tutorial! Do you have a work around for the 'send an email' feature too? or does anyone?

  • I did mine with VBScript. Created a vbs file with WScript.Echo "My scheduled task event". I set the program/script to WScript and called the file in the argument (full path with "" if you have space). I like this one because although message comes behind your active windows, but it flashes on the task bar so you will notice it (unless you are hiding your taskbar).

    Very good idea from MS to have a deprecated option still showing up and lets you fill out all the necessary information, like its going to work!!! (sigh)

  • Left out a step. Please go back and review it.

  • Actually left out two steps

  • Could you please let me know how to use the email feature? i would like to schedule weekly emails to my colleagues to remind them to update reports.

  • VG

    ^^ Following link should help you:

    social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/09b4e33a-8569-4660-8ba2-1f5b47c08583/powershell-scripting-to-send-emails-based-on-events-in-event-viewer-problem-is-sending-attachment

  • Open notepad

    write:
    msgbox("This is the task to do")

    change the message to anything you want.

    save the file as a .vbs file so it will run on any windows machine and will be executable as a vbs script.

    Now set taskscheduler to the action - call a program and point it to that .vbs file.

  • I'll point out that notepad tries to save the file as filename.vbs.txt so you have to delete the .txt off the end, which I did in cmd prompt.

  • Thank you so much for this tutorial!

  • Thanks for this write-up. I maintain a .NET library that wraps the Task Scheduler and attempts to compensate for the regular changes MS makes to the native library. Your code has helped me add some forwards compatibility for those wanting to use the actions available in Vista and Win7.

  • Hello,
    This is a great tip! A couple of questions, please:
    1) Is there a way to have the message remain on the screen until dismissed by the user?
    2) Is there a way to have the message display "always on top"?
    Thanks!

  • In the rest of the world, "deprecated" means "you're on notice that we plan to remove this eventually." In Microsoft it means "We're now warning you that we already removed this without warning."

    I guess this makes sense coming from the same people whose solution to "update notification popup wouldn't play well with tablet-style apps" is "remove update notification altogether even on desktop" rather than "suppress popup but keep icon on desktop".

    It doesn't make so much sense coming from the same people who totally revamped the task manager, added and improved all sorts of views for driver, digital signature and crash/problem information, added sophisticated context-sensitive menus to the filesystem windows, and added the ability to reinstall the OS while keeping your programs! Are there two separate development teams in Microsoft now, one that's learning from Linux Mint or something and another that's enslaved to the caprice of the user experience nuts who forgot that desktop users still exist? I'm confused out of my mind!

  • Method 1 does not work on windows 8.1 because msg has been deprecated as well.
    windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-8/what-happened-messaging
    I used Kelly's suggestion as it seems very hassle free. I paste it here:
    Open notepad
    write:
    msgbox("This is the task to do")
    change the message to anything you want.
    save the file as a .vbs file so it will run on any windows machine and will be executable as a vbs script.
    Now set taskscheduler to the action - call a program and point it to that .vbs file.

  • VG

    ^^ Thats different messaging app. The method is working fine here in Windows 8, 8.1 and Windows 10.

  • ^^Can force message box to top by adding 4096 as follows:

    msgbox("This is the task to do"),4096

    also, can avoid adding the .txt extension when saving your .vbs file by changing "Save as type" from Text document to All files in save window. :)

  • *****MISSED AN IMPORTANT NOTE*****

    YOU CANNOT USE WORDPAD, NOTEPAD, OR OPEN OFFICE TO EDIT AND SAVE AN XML DOCUMENT.

    The easiest way I figured out how to edit the .xml document and then be able to import it back into the task scheduler with no problems or conversions is by using one of two very simple and free utilities that you can download.

    These 2 utilities that can save a .xml document without having to do any conversions is
    Notepad 2
    and
    Notepad++

    Notepad 2 does not have to be installed, but can be run directly from the folder you extract the files into.
    Notepad++ must be installed onto the system, but in my opinion, it looks much nicer and easier to read and find what you're looking for, and I believe that it's known for being more versatile.

  • Rob, I think you can send emails using cmd prompt.

    If so, then you should be able to do the task scheduler the same way as in this tutorial, except in the arguments, you'll be using the appropriate commands in the command prompt to send it.

    You might have to export the task and edit the .xml file, as it may require more than one line of command to send an email.

    However, I've never tried that.

  • 26 January 2015: Thank you so much for the helpful tip.

    By the way, I am puzzled by the fact that the majority of posts on the Web are not dated. It would be so useful to know when something was written in order to assess whether the information is relevant.

    Can we start a campaign to put dates on every article, post, blog, etc. that appears on the Web?

  • Very Useful. I used message box to remind to see 20 feet away object for every 20 seconds to reduce eye strain during office time. It is really useful.

  • Hi ,

    Could you share some insights on how we could get send an email working on Task Scheduler that displays the same error: An error has occurred for task SERVER Backup Successful task. Error message: The following error was reported: 2147750704."

  • Just create a Text Message with Notepad, save it to a location of your choice. Then in Scheduler set the Action to "start a program" then under "Program/script: click the Browse button, search for your saved notebook text file and select it. When the Schedule task runs it with open a Notepad Window with your message.

  • the CMD methods cmd window only pops up for half a second, making me unable to read what it says. Does anyone have any solutions? adding @pause doesnt seem to work (since its XML based?).

  • 17 Nov 2015
    Hi, can you get the email function to work by creating in powershell ?

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