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I have some tasks in the Task Scheduler on Windows 2008 R2. I created them as the admin and I'm logged in as the admin. I have no easy way to rename the tasks. The only way I can is to export the task config to a XML file and re-import to a new task, change the name there, then delete the old task. Is there an easier way?

2
  • The reason you cannot rename a scheduled task (or move it to another folder) is because that would change the Security Identifier (SID) that is added to the task process. That SID lets you grant privileges to a file/folder/share/etc to that specific Task, rather than granting it to the user that the task runs as.
    – Ian Boyd
    Commented Jun 17, 2021 at 18:08
  • I created powershell function below that can rename tasks easily. See post below for more details. Here is just the function rename-task { $src_path = "C:\Windows\System32\Tasks" $src_xml = Join-Path -Path $src_path -ChildPath $args[0] (schtasks /Create /tn $args[1] /xml $src_xml) -and (schtasks /delete /tn $args[0] /f) }
    – jedi
    Commented Jan 25, 2023 at 16:00

9 Answers 9

162

EDIT: After well over a decade, this answer of mine has a better answer down below that I will gladly defer to: https://serverfault.com/a/1159533/9770

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  • 1
    If you go rename the folder, the task will disappear. Sad face.
    – JohnThePro
    Commented Jan 7, 2011 at 18:01
  • 1
    Also, if you rename the tasks in the Windows\tasks folder, the task disappears in Task Scheduler until you rename the task back.
    – Wesley
    Commented Jan 7, 2011 at 18:15
  • 31
    Grrrrr, arghhhhhh! I wonder how on earth this silly limitation came into existence? Renaming is hardly an "exotic" task that users will rarely ever want to do. It's very puzzling. Commented Feb 17, 2011 at 14:10
  • 4
    @DoctorJones The limitation came into existence because changing the task name would change the hash of the task name, which changes the security identifier (SID) added to the task's security token, which breaks permissions assigned to the task. (See serverfault.com/a/1067045/4822)
    – Ian Boyd
    Commented Jun 17, 2021 at 18:35
  • 1
    @Bill_Stewart Noted in my answer! Thanks for the update.
    – Wesley
    Commented May 16 at 22:24
11

Not the best way but can be a life saver.

Tasks are stored in C:\Windows\System32\Tasks in XML format importable using schtasks.exe. As Weasly told, renaming the file doesn't work but Create/Delete will. That said, you need the running user password (that you have)

Compared to Weasly's suggestion, it just skips the export phase.

  1. create a second task using the first as template
  2. remove the original

Using srcname and dstname and an admin shell in Tasks folder:

C:\Windows\System32\Tasks>schtasks /Create /tn dstname /xml srcname /ru [running username] /rp [password]
SUCCESS: The scheduled task "dstname" has successfully been created.

C:\Windows\System32\Tasks>schtasks /delete /tn srcname /f
SUCCESS: The scheduled task "srcname" was successfully deleted.

Notes:

  • With a little bit of scripting, you can rename a large bunch of tasks without effort
  • If needed you should be able to extract the original RU from the XML (in node Task/Principals/Principal/UserId)
  • If you want schtasks to ask for the password, simply remove /rp [password] portion
5

Unfortunately not. That's the way this is done now. I believe it's for security purposes, so that set tasks cannot be modified while they are actually setup and enabled.

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  • 6
    If I am already logged in as ADMIN, as I must be to create a tasks, how is this a 'security feature'?
    – user86327
    Commented Jul 1, 2011 at 8:08
  • Also, if you change anything about a task once it's configured you get prompted for credentials again, so if it's some kind of security issue handle it the same way you handle changing anything else. Commented Jun 2, 2012 at 17:01
  • @user86327 Changing the task name would change the hash of the task name, which changes the security identifier (SID) added to the task's security token, breaking the permissions assigned to the task.
    – Ian Boyd
    Commented Jun 17, 2021 at 18:34
5

Short Version

You can't rename a scheduled task because that would change the SID the task runs as.

The name forms the Security Identifier (SID) of the user the task will run as. Renaming the task would break any existing permissions.

Long Version

There are a lot of people complaining about being unable to rename a scheduled task. There is a reason for it.

A scheduled task runs as some user, e.g.:

  • Local Service (good)
  • Network Service (good)
  • System (bad)
  • some process account manually created in Active Directory (bad)

This means if your task needs to access some resources, you need to grant that user access to those resources.

What we really want it to grant access to that Task; that scheduled task itself should have the permissions - not the user the task runs as. This is called Task Security Hardening.

Task Hardening

When a scheduled task is run, the task scheduler adds an additional Security Identifier (SID) in the token of the user running the task. E.g.:

  • Name: NT TASK\[Task name] (e.g. "NT TASK\The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog")

  • Group sid: S-1-5-87-x-x-x-x-x (e.g. S-1-5-87-2312335432-65297056-3549082870-2589977271-250352331)

The sid of this group is dynamically generated based on the hash of the name of the scheduled task. The group sid is a child of the authority S-1-5-87. The SID's Relative ID 87 comes from the constant defined in winnt.h:

SECURITY_TASK_ID_BASE_RID                 (0x00000057L)

You can see this additional group SID in the security token of the launched process:

enter image description here

Generating Task SIDs

You can manually hash a task name, or see what the hypothetical sid for that task would be, by running a command-line tool:

>schtasks /showsid /TN "The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog"

SUCCESS: The SID "S-1-5-87-2312335432-65297056-3549082870-2589977271-250352331" 
for the user name "The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog" 
has been computed successfully.

And you can use icacls to grant permissions to that group:

>icacls yellow.png /grant "*S-1-5-87-2312335432-65297056-3549082870-2589977271-250352331:(M)"

If the scheduled task is in a folder, you need to include that folder as well:

>schtasks /showsid /TN "Stackoverflow\Answer Question About Security"

SUCCESS: The SID "S-1-5-87-1865438416-972601292-3915696002-2261943663-3756584440" 
for the user name "Stackoverflow-Answer Question About Security" 
has been computed successfully.

And, again, you can grant that SID permissions on the object:

>icacls yellow.png /grant "*S-1-5-87-1865438416-972601292-3915696002-2261943663-3756584440:(M)"

processed file: yellow.png
Successfully processed 1 files; Failed processing 0 files

And you can see the group having been granted permissions (in this case Modify permissions):

enter image description here

The good thing about:

  • this virtual account system (which is also used by services with NT SERVICE group, and by the IIS Application Identity)
  • and with the special Local Service and Network Service accounts

is that these accounts have no password - no user is allowed to login as them. This means that you don't have to worry about the password leaking.

And on top of that, when you use NT TASK, NT SERVICE, or IIS APPPOOL virtual accounts to assign permissions: there is no way to impersonate that user. It's not a user in any sense. These are extra security boundaries that are a very good thing.

So of course you can't rename it

If you've been paying attention, you will now see why you cannot rename a scheduled task, or move it to another folder: it would change the hash of the task's name, changing the task's NT TASK SID, and invalidate any permissions it's been granted.

2
  • I don't really follow the logic between "it isn't 100% trivial" to "therefore it's impossible." It would be then be possible to warn people that anything the task's been granted access to will need to be regranted -- better people know about this in the extraordinarily rare case that someone uses it, than to never know at all and blindly bypass it with the export/modify/import workaround. MMC snap-ins in general get a bare minimum of UX polish, though. Commented Feb 4, 2022 at 9:19
  • @SilverbackNet Presumably when it comes to security they don't want to mess around. Someone somewhere added a Deny entry, and suddenly it is allowed access. Yes you can have the generic popup that nobody reads (blah blah blah security permissions regenerate), but we all know nobody reads those, or cares. And even if they did care, they have no way to know where to fix it. Personally i wouldn't care if suddenly at attacker is able to exfiltrate millions of PII rows because of it - that's a PR problem.
    – Ian Boyd
    Commented Feb 4, 2022 at 20:33
3

Please be sure before you answer "Cannot do this", "Impossible", etc.

Check out this power shell script.

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    Quote from that site: I don't know the reasons for the omission of this seemingly simple feature, but there is a workaround: Export the task as an XML file, import the task to create a new task with the new name, then delete the old task. So, it does what the accepted answer suggested - only automated. Renaming is still impossible.
    – faker
    Commented Jul 2, 2012 at 13:42
  • 1
    The OP already knows that there's no rename operation (export and reimport with new name is the only way). He asked if there is an easier way. Yes; an easier way is to use the PowerShell script. Commented Dec 18, 2013 at 15:39
  • 5
    Please quote the relevant part from the link. Link-only answer is not encouraged since when the link rots, the answer becomes unuseful.
    – Andrew T.
    Commented Nov 7, 2014 at 10:41
  • Exporting and importing with a new name seems much simpler, unless it's something you need to do through PowerShell for some reason. Commented Sep 16, 2015 at 11:46
  • windowsitpro.com/article/scripting/… not found
    – Kiquenet
    Commented May 16, 2018 at 8:09
2

One possibility is, to export the task, delete the task, rename the file and import it again.

A good description can be found here: Rename task in task scheduler

1

Yes it's possible ! Just export the task (right click on the task / Export...) as an XML file (on the Desktop for instance). Then, delete the task in the Tasks Scheduler and right click / Import a task. Choose the previously saved XML file, rename the task and save it. Voila.

2
  • 7
    This is actually the same answer as the one accepted 4 years ago, not really a worthwhile addition...
    – HBruijn
    Commented Jul 8, 2014 at 17:58
  • I wouldn't say it's not worthwhile - it explains the steps in more detail than the accepted answer, though it might have been better to edit that answer instead. Commented Sep 16, 2015 at 11:37
1

It appears (as noted in other answers) that there is no API for renaming a Windows scheduled task. As a workaround, you can automate creation of a new task with a different name and/or path. I wrote a PowerShell script (Rename-ScheduledTask.ps1) that does this.

Basically, it uses the TaskService COM object. Script summary:

If the task uses the "Run whether user is logged on or not" option, you have to re-enter the password unless the account is a gMSA.

0

This function can be used to rename Schedule Tasks using PowerShell. Below you can find examples on how to use it and how to move many tasks from one folder to another. The function takes advantage of the fact that all tasks are stored in the Windows folder. If you do not have access to them, you can create a new function to export them all into XML files that you can then use to upload. Or even make it part of the below function, export and them import.

function rename-task {

$src_path = "C:\Windows\System32\Tasks"
$src_xml = Join-Path -Path $src_path -ChildPath $args[0]
(schtasks /Create /tn $args[1] /xml $src_xml) -and (schtasks /delete /tn $args[0] /f)
} 

If you place this function inside PS profile it will auto load.

C:\Users\USER\Documents\WindowsPowerShell\Microsoft.PowerShell_profile.ps1

Example use:

rename-task "original_name" "target_name"

Search for tasks

Get-ScheduledTask|sls -SimpleMatch pattern

Move tasks from one folder to another. Pattern is a regular expression so you can pass many tasks in one pass:

Get-ScheduledTask|select TaskName, TaskPath|where {$_.TaskName -match "PATTERN"}|ForEach{rename-task $_.TaskName $(Join-Path "\TGT_Folder\" $_.TaskName)}

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