Managed Tasks vs. Unmanaged Tasks


An AutoMate task can be created in various ways. Novice users may prefer creating a task using the Add Task Wizard while more experienced users may favor the manual approach, or tasks can be created directly from Task Builder, completely bypassing Task Administrator. Furthermore, the AML (AutoMate Markup Language) format associated to each managed task is recognized by both AutoMate and AutoMate BPA Server platforms. This allows tasks that were created from an older version of AutoMate to be migrated into newer versions of AutoMate or AutoMate BPA Server.  

A task can be sorted into two categories, "managed" or "unmanaged". The manner in which the task is created or imported determines which category it falls under. This article describes each classification and furnishes key distinctions between both.

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Managed TaskS

A task that is created from Task Administrator (by clicking the New button) or imported into Task Administrator is classified as a "managed task." These tasks are visible and fully accessible from the Task Administrator's Managed Tasks panel where they are displayed in a hierarchical arrangement of folders. Most tasks should be created this way.


Managed tasks can be automatically executed with the use of time or event based triggers or they can be manually executed with a single click of a button. Furthermore, task management related functionality, including the Calendar or Event Log features as well any managed task properties are available for use with managed tasks. When a managed task is created, information such as task steps, triggers and managed task properties are written to a task file with a .AML (AutoMate Markup Language) extension and saved to a designated default managed tasks location. In Windows Vista operating systems or higher, the default task location is:

C:\ProgramData\Network Automation\AutoMate 10\Tasks

When a managed task is deployed to remote clients, AutoMate creates a copy of the .AML file associated with the local managed task, including any triggers and managed task properties, and places it in the default managed tasks folder designated for the remote computer. The newly deployed task will run in exactly the same manner on the remote computer as it did on the local computer.

When a managed task is exported, AutoMate converts the data into an AML (AutoMate Markup Language) file and saves it to the location of your choice. If exporting a managed task that contains managed task properties, attachments and/or triggers, they too will be included in AML file. Once the managed task is exported, its steps can be viewed by the Task Builder or imported and used in another AutoMate installation on a separate computer.

Unmanaged TaskS

A task created outside of Task Administrator is classified as an "unmanaged task" (also known as an external task). To create an unmanaged task, you bypass Task Administrator and create the task directly from Task Builder (by starting Task Builder from the Windows Start menu or by running the Task Builder executable, AMTB.exe) and saving the created task to an arbitrary location on the hard disk. When a task is created in this manner, it will not trigger (start) automatically unless it is added (via import) to the Task Administrator and assigned at least one trigger.


Unmanaged or external tasks contain only the series of steps they are required to execute. Because unmanaged tasks are created without the use of Task Administrator, they are not visible or accessible from within the Task Administrator UI. Additionally, triggers and task management functions normally found in Task Administrator, such as managed task properties are not supported.

When using tasks generally for code reuse, such as running a sub-task (i.e. task module made only to be reused) using the Start Sub-Task action, creating an external task is more sensible because sub-tasks normally do not need to be triggered (they are only called from other tasks), thus, there is no need to add them to the Task Administrator. In most cases, only the "parent" task should be added to the Task Administrator. Sub-tasks may be better stored in a designated location on the hard disk or network and called by their filename.

NOTE: An external task can be changed to a managed task at any time by importing it into the Task Administrator. For further information see Importing Tasks