6 Methods to ‘Disable Office Background Task Handler pop up’

There’s an odd behavior going around in Windows 10 where users notice a brief Microsoft Office popup window being launched regularly. The pop-up only stays on screen for a brief second after it’s spawned, then immediately closes again. This confused users into believing they’re dealing with a malware threat.As it turns out, the file that gets executed every hour or so is called officebackgroundtaskhandler.exe and is a legitimate part of the Office suite. The default location of it is under C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\root\Office16\officebackgroundtaskhandler.exe.

It’s certainly reassuring that we’re not dealing with a malware infection, but this pop-up has the potential to ruin some of your evenings. A lot of users have reported that whenever this pop-up appears, they immediately get thrown out of any fullscreen application that they are running at that moment. As you can imagine, this is not something you’ll want to happen when playing games or watching a movie.

This particular issue has been consistently reported by Windows 10 users since April 15th, 2017. Microsoft has already issued several hotfixes for this issue, but some users are still struggling with this problem. Fortunately, there are plenty of other ways that you can use to solve this issue without having to uninstall your whole Office suite.

If you’re currently struggling with this issue, use one of the methods below. Ideally, start with the first method and work your way down until you encounter a fix that works for you.

Method 1: Update to Office build 16.0.8201.2025 or higher

Microsoft was certainly quick in issuing a hotfix for this particular issue, but it doesn’t help everyone struggling with the issue. From their point of view, the issue is fixed starting with build 16.0.8201.2025.

As of know, the update is only available for those participating in the Office Insiders Slow program. Even more, some users struggling with this issue have reported that the problem is still not fixed even after updating to the above-specified build.

Microsoft has confirmed that this hotfix will be included in future updates for those not participating in the Insiders program. By the time you’re reading this article, the issue might have been properly fixed by Microsoft for everyone. Because of this, try the steps below even if you’re not enroled in the Insiders program.

  1. Open any Office application and open a document (blank page works). Then, go to File > Account.
  2. In the Account window, click on Office Update (under the Office logo). Then, select Update Now from the drop-down menu.
  3. Wait until the latest update is applied and restart the Office program. You should see a “You’re up to date!” message once you’re on the latest build available.
  4. You can confirm if you have the right build number by checking the Product Information page in File > Account.

If you’re on Build 8201.2075 or above, go about your regular business and see if the pop-ups start appearing. If you’re still seeing the officebackgroundtaskhandler.exe pop-ups, follow one of the methods below.

Method 2: Changing the deployment method of Insider builds

If you enroled in the Office Insiders program, you might be in for a quick fix. Changing the deployment method of the Insider builds might just eliminate the problem for you. Although it’s unclear why this affects the behavior of officebackgroundtaskhandler.exe, some users have eliminated the issue indefiently just changing the Insider ring. You don’t need to set it to a particular update channel – any change in the Insider deployment method seems to work.

Note: Choosing a different Insider program will change the way you receive the latest available builds for all Microsoft products enrolled in the program. Depending on the update channel, you might receive updates with features that are currently in development. For more information about the various update channels, consult this link (here).

Follow the guide down below to change the deployment method of Insider builds:

  1. Press Windows key + R to open a run window. Type “control update” and hit Enter to open Windows Update.
  2. In the Windows update screen, scroll down and click on Advanced options under Update Settings.
  3. Scroll down to Insider builds and change the deployment method. If you’re on Fast, set it to Slow and vice versa.
    Update: Microsoft has recently changed the update channels names. If you’re on one of the latest Windows 10 builds, you might see Insider and Monthly Channels instead of Fast and Slow. Regardless, change the deployment method to the one that’s not active and see if this resolves the issue. If it doesn’t move to one of the methods below.

Method 3: Disable Office Background Task Handler Registration from Task Scheduler

The most popular fix for this issue is to disable officebackgroundtaskhandler from Task Scheduler. While this method has helped a lot of users eliminate the pop-up, the solution might only be temporary. However, this method will not expose your system to potential security risks.

Some have reported that the random pop-ups have returned a week or so after following the steps below. As it turns out, the disabled tasked might get overridden when you update Office to a new build, triggering the same behavior.

Note: If you’re looking for a permanent solution, skip this method and follow Method 4, Method 5 or Method 6.

Follow the guide below to disable the OfficeBackgroundTaskHandlerRegistration tas from Task Scheduler:

  1. Press Windows key + R to open a run window. Type “taskschd.msc” and hit Enter to open Task Scheduler.
  2. Double-click on Task Scheduler (Local) to reveal the Task Scheduler’s Library.
  3. In Task Scheduler Library, expand the Microsoft folder and click on Office to see the related tasks inside the center pane.
  4. Select OfficeBackgroundTaskHandlerRegistration from the center pane, then use the Action pane on the right to click Disable.
    Note: This will disable the task that’s causing the issue, preventing the pop-up from showing again.

Method 4: Running the Office Background Task Handler Registration under System account

This method seems to have a more permanent effect. It involves changing the user group policy of the culprit task to System. This reportedly hides the popup window from spawning without disabling the OfficeBackgroundTaskHandlerRegistration task. Here’s a quick guide on how to do this:

Note: This method and the one below will enhance the elevation privilege of this particular task, which can lead to some system vulnerabilities in relation to some security threats. If you’re not comfortable with this, jump straight to Method 6.

  1. Press Windows key + R to open a run window. Type “taskschd.msc” and hit Enter to open Task Scheduler.
  2. Double-click on Task Scheduler (Local) to reveal the Task Scheduler’s Library.
  3. In Task Scheduler Library, expand the Microsoft folder and click on Office to see the related tasks inside the center pane.
  4. Select OfficeBackgroundTaskHandlerRegistration from the center pane, then select Properties from the rightmost pane.
  5. Under Properties, select the General tab and click on Change User or Group.
  6. In the Select user or group window, type “system” in the box under Enter the object name to select. Hit Ok to save the changes.

That’s it. The random pop-ups caused by officebackgroundtaskhandler.exe should now be resolved.

Method 5: Run officebackgroundtaskhandler.exe as Administrator

Another way to go around solving this issue is to run officebackgroundtaskhandler.exe as administrator. This is confirmed to prevent the random pop-ups from showing up, but there are also some security concerns related to this fix.

Windows has a history of being vulnerable to privilege elevation attacks. Because of this, only follow the steps below if the first three methods above have not been applicable to your situation. Here’s how to run officebackgroundtaskhandler.exe as administrator:

  1. Go to  C:\ Program Files (x86) \ Microsoft Office \ root \ and open the Office16 folder.
  2. Right-click on officebackgroundtaskhandler.exe and select Properties.
  3. Go to the Compatibility tab and check the box next to Run this program as an administrator (under Settings). Hit Apply to save your changes.

That’s it. The Office Background Task Handler executable should now be prevented from opening random pop-ups.

Method 6: Remove Office Telemetry with DestroyWindows10spying

If all of the above methods have failed, there’s one little program that is guaranteed to remove the annoying Office pop-ups. This method involves using an open source program called DestroyWindows10spying to remove the Office Telemetry components.

Note: DestroyWindows10spying is not known to cause any underlying problems with Office, but use it at your own risk. Although it’s extremely lightweight, the program has pretty powerful features. It’s strongly recommended that you don’t use it for anything else than what’s featured in the steps below.

  1. Download the DWS_Lite executable from this GitHub link (here).
  2. Open DestroyWindows10spying, go to the Settings window and make sure Enable professional mode is disabled.
  3. Then, go to the Utilities tab and click on Disable Office 2016 Telemetry.
  4. Make sure you don’t have any Office program currently running and hit Yes at the next Warning window.
  5. Reboot your computer and enjoy life without the annoying Office pop-ups.

Kevin Arrows

Kevin Arrows is a highly experienced and knowledgeable technology specialist with over a decade of industry experience. He holds a Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) certification and has a deep passion for staying up-to-date on the latest tech developments. Kevin has written extensively on a wide range of tech-related topics, showcasing his expertise and knowledge in areas such as software development, cybersecurity, and cloud computing. His contributions to the tech field have been widely recognized and respected by his peers, and he is highly regarded for his ability to explain complex technical concepts in a clear and concise manner.