Configure Windows 8.1 Automatic Maintenance on your Surface

Configure Automatic Maintenance on your Surface
One of the less advertised but useful features that your Surface tablet offers is the Windows 8.1 Automatic Maintenance Tool (or WAM – Windows Automatic Maintenance).

This tool is part of the Action Center and automatically performs mundane tasks, such as security updates, security scans, and system diagnostics. It also makes sure your Windows and its applications up-to-date; all this while you’re not using your computer.

As you can imagine, Windows 8.1 Automatic Maintenance is quite useful for making sure your Surface tablet is running well with a minimum of interaction from you.

Configure Windows 8.1 Automatic Maintenance: Maintenance in Progress

Configure Windows 8.1 Automatic Maintenance on your Surface-Action Center Icon
Now, if you’ve been using your Surface for a while, it’s likely that you have noticed a little black icon just below the Action Center flag in your system tray like the one to the left.

It’s difficult to tell, but the icon is supposed to be a tiny clock. and if you’ve ever clicked on it, you saw the popup message below.

What this message is telling you is that Windows 8.1 Automatic Maintenance is currently running. By default, it is supposed to kick off at 2:00AM but, if your Surface was off that early in the morning, it will try to run the next time your Surface is on but inactive.

By the way, if you’re running the Windows 10 Technical Preview, I noticed that Microsoft changed the popup slightly. Instead if saying “Maintenance in progress”, it says “Scheduled Scan”. Not a big deal but just something I noted.

In case you’re wondering, it doesn’t really hurt anything to be using your Surface while the scheduled maintenance is running. However you might notice that your Surface runs a tad slower than normal depending on what task the Windows 8.1 Automatic Maintenance tool is performing at the moment.

Configure Windows 8.1 Automatic Maintenance: Change WAM Kickoff Time

If the default 2:00AM kickoff time is not good for you, you can always change it. Just bring up the Search Charm and look for Automatic Maintenance then choose Change Automatic Maintenance Settings from the search results.

You’ll get the following screen.

Simply use the pull-down to change the time Windows 8.1 Automatic Maintenance starts and select OK to save your new setting.

If you want, you can also select the Allow scheduled maintenance to wake up my computer at the scheduled time. If you do, your Surface will automatically turn on at the selected time, so it can do the maintenance.

Alternatively, if you’ve been wondering why your Surface seems to turn itself on during the night and you’ve been wondering if it’s haunted or something, this is a good setting to check. It’s possible it was turned on accidentally and that’s the cause of your power-on poltergeist.

Configure Windows 8.1 Automatic Maintenance: Video Version

I hope you found this post useful and informative. As usual, if you have any questions, please send them my way via the comments.


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