If you run Windows 10, you may have noticed a popup window being launched on the screen once a day, or even regularly.
It is spawned, and immediately closed again. This makes it difficult to understand what spawns it, why it is launched, and whether it is something that you need to be concerned about.
One of the issues of this is that you may be thrown out of fullscreen applications when that happens. Several users of Windows 10 reported that they get the window every hour or so, and that it makes playing games a nightmare because of that.
The file that gets executed every hour or so is called officebackgroundtaskhandler.exe, and you find it under C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\root\Office16\officebackgroundtaskhandler.exe. If you log processes on your system for instance, you may notice that this is the case on your Windows 10 device.
The issue has been a hot topic since April 15th when a user reported it on Microsoft's official Answer forum.
Is there a really, really good reason that the "OfficeBackgroundTaskHandlerRegistration" task (see it in Task Scheduler, Microsoft, Office) must run every hour? This is what it says that it does: "This task initiates Office Background Task Handler, which updates relevant Office data."
I ask, because it runs officebackgroundtaskhandler.exe in such a way that it flashes a window (itself) on the screen. Only instantaneously to be sure, but it's noticeable, especially once you catch onto what's happening. You can run the task manually if you want to see it without waiting.
If Microsoft Office runs on the Windows 10 machine, two tasks are scheduled to run OfficeBackgroundTaskHandler. They are:
The task window should not be launched when the task is run, and there are plenty of ways that Microsoft could have picked to hide the task window instead of spawning it every hour on the user system.
The two main options that you have are to disable the task, or to switch it from running under User to System.
It is unclear what the task does, and you should monitor Office closely after disabling it to make sure everything works as intended. The task is still run on logon though.
The second option that you have is to change the user group the task runs under. Switching it to System reportedly hides the popup window from spawning.
Now You: Did you run into the spawning command window issue on Windows before?
Advertising revenue is falling fast across the Internet, and independently-run sites like Ghacks are hit hardest by it. The advertising model in its current form is coming to an end, and we have to find other ways to continue operating this site.
We are committed to keeping our content free and independent, which means no paywalls, no sponsored posts, no annoying ad formats or subscription fees.
If you like our content, and would like to help, please consider making a contribution:
Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.