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Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Windows 7, 8, 8.1, 10 - Disable Stubborn Scheduled Tasks [UPDATED 2019-03]

In Windows 7-10, there are at least three known stubborn scheduled tasks:

One is located in "Microsoft\Windows\SettingSync", called BackgroundUploadTask.

The 2nd is located in "Microsoft\Windows\Device Setup", called Metadata Refresh.

The 3rd is located in "Microsoft\Windows\DeviceDirectoryClient", called IntegrityCheck.

These tasks are enabled by default (status Ready), and cannot be disabled by any regular means. Microsoft made sure of that. They also hide what these tasks actually do. Annoying and suspicious, yes...

The BackgroundUploadTask task is present in all recent Windows OSs - starting from Windows 7 up to Windows 10.
The Metadata Refresh and IntegrityCheck tasks are present in Windows 10.

How to disable them: The easy user-friendly way (recommended)
  1. First we need to download an app which will allow us to run Computer Management (compmgmt.msc) as the super-duper TrustedInstaller, which has actual FULL system-wide privileges, even more then the Administrator. One such free app is PowerRun (963.54KB ZIP file), which includes both 32bit and 64bit flavors.
  2. Extract the ZIP file to a favorite location, and run PowerRun.exe or PowerRun_x64.exe, according to your system type.
  3. Click on the "Add File" icon, type compmgmt.msc in the "File Location" field and press the "Apply List" button.
  4. Now press the "Play" button, and voila - Computer Management will open, but this time you can change/disable anything you want, without restriction.
 




How to disable them: The manual brute-force I'm-a-computer-geek way
I have discovered that a single bit in the registry is responsible for enabling/disabling these tasks.

All tasks are located in this registry path:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Schedule\TaskCache\Tasks\{XXXXXXXX-XXX-XXXX-XXXX-XXXXXXXXXXXX}

Since the key is we're looking for is different for each machine, first search in that location for "BackgroundUploadTask".

Right-click on the key > Permissions > Advanced > Disable inheritance > Remove all inherited permissions from this object > click "Add" > click on "Select a principal" > type "Administrators" > CHECK Full Control > OK > CHECK "Replace all child object permission entries..." > OK > OK > OK.

In this key, there is a binary value named "Triggers", which contains a series of bits.
Open it and make sure the format is set to "byte".
Go to the 6th row, 3rd column, and change it from "C0" to "00". Press OK and you're done.



Now, if you open the Task Scheduler, you'll see that the  BackgroundUploadTask is disabled.

Do the same for the Metadata Refresh and IntegrityCheck tasks.