The complete guide to the Windows Calendar – Part 1

Windows Calendar is one of the new applications delivered with Windows Vista. This application looks like many other similar applications and offers all the expected features: support for the iCalendar file format, support for publishing or subscribing to web-based calendars, options for creating and managing tasks, several calendar views and so on. In fact many criticized this application for resembling with iCal – a personal calendar application available for MAC OS X users. Even if there is some resemblance, Windows Calendar is nonetheless a great application and the first calendar application to be included in a Microsoft Windows operating system.

We are currently working on a series of articles about Windows Calendar which will be published gradually these days. The series will serve as a complete guide on how to use and configure your Windows Calendar.

This first article covers the basic functionalities of Windows Calendar: creating personalized calendars, customizing them, creating appointments, tasks and reminders.

To open Windows Calendar go to Start Menu – All Programs and click on its shortcut. If you want to create a calendar you have to go to the File menu and select New Calendar. Then, you need to type the name of the new calendar and then press the Enter key.

Windows Calendar

If you want to rename it, select the calendar, right click on it and then select Rename from the menu. You can create as many calendars as you like and you can even organize them in different groups. To create a group of calendars, select New Group from the File menu and type the name of the group. Then drag and drop all the calendars you want to include in this group and there you have it.

Windows Calendar

If you look at Windows Calendars’ interface, you will notice that all the main functions are available directly in the top toolbar.


To create a new appointment, click on the New Appointment button.

Windows Calendar

On the right side of the Windows Calendar window, a details section will appear. Here, you need to type the description and the location of the appointment. Then you need to select the calendar where the appointment will be listed, and choose the date and the time when it will take place. To make an all-day appointment, check the All-day Appointment box. If the appointment takes place at regular intervals, then go to the Recurrence list and select the appropriate type of recurrence.

Windows Calendar

Now you need to set the reminder. To do that, go to the reminder list and select the time before the appointment you want to be reminded. To invite attendees to your appointment, click on the Attendees button and add the persons you want to invite from the contact list.

As you can see in the screenshot below, you can select the participants to the meeting and send them an invitation. Click on Attendees and double click on the names that you want to invite or select them with the mouse and click on the To button.

Windows Calendar

If you want to remove one of the attendees, click on his/her name and press Delete. Now you will see all the invited contacts in the Participants section of your appointment. If you want to invite them using e-mail, click the Invite button and send them an e-mail.

Windows Calendar

If the other attendees use Windows Vista they will be able to open the attachment file with Windows Calendar and see the appointments details.


If you want to create a new task, click on the New task button from the toolbar.

Windows Calendar

In the Details section, type the description of the task, select the calendar where you want the task to appear, select the task priority, enter the start and due dates and then set the reminder. You also have the possibility to add some notes regarding the new task.

Windows Calendar

If you want to modify the details of a task at a later time, click on the appropriate task listed in the Tasks section of the Windows Calendar window. You can also right click on it and you will have access to further options from the right click menu: cut, copy/paste, delete, rename, sort or send by e-mail.

When you have completed a task, select it from the Tasks menu and check the Completed box in the Details section.


After you have created tasks and appointments, all the reminders will pop-up at the designated time, informing you on what you have to do.

Windows Calendar

From the Reminders window you can view, snooze or dismiss your tasks or appointments.

As you can see, Windows Calendar offers all the standard functionality required from this type of applications. If you want to configure it more to your liking, you have a limited set of configurations options. To find them, go to the File menu and click on Options.

Windows Calendar

Related articles:
The complete guide to the Windows Calendar – Part 2
The complete guide to the Windows Calendar – Part 3
Windows Mail
Windows Contacts

37 thoughts on “The complete guide to the Windows Calendar – Part 1”

  1. Publishing to iCal Exchange?
    Does anyone have experience publishing Windows Calendar with the specific site: iCal I’ve tried and the calendar is not allowing me to publish. It should be asking for a username and password, but it doesn’t.

    This is the error I receive after I try publishing:
    “There was an error publishing your calendar Calendar ‘NAME OF CALENDAR’ was not published. An error occurred during the publishing process:the network path was not found.”

    The path was cut and pasted as supplied by iCal Exchange. Anyone have any ideas as to what I might be doing wrong?

  2. windows calendar
    Could someone please tell me how to populate the calendar?? I have created a new task and cannot figure out for the life of me how to make it appear on the day that it is on…

  3. Calendar shutdown
    I find Windows Calendar continuously shuts down and restarts while entering and editing data. While it comes across as an easy programme to use, it never seems to work properly or stre the data when it does shutdown. I hoep the Vista patch will fix it.

  4. Tasks in Calendar
    I cannot get the Notes section to work in Calendar Tasks – it worked the first month (saved whatever I typed) but lately if I add notes they do not get saved – kind of makes this useless if the information added to assist in doing the task isn’t there. Has anyone else had this problem and/or does anyone have a fix??

    • Savings Tasks in Calendar
      I just got Vista and started using Calendar and have found the same problem. I was able to get around it by clicking on the empty space on the left side right above Tasks and below the listing of calendars except that this changes the focus back to the calendar view which is somewhat inconvenient.

    • I had the same problem
      I had the same problem develop a couple of weeks ago. I stopped using Calendar. Now, two weeks later, I powered up Calendar and it seems to have corrected itself. But for how long? And what caused the problem in the first place? I too would love an answer to this…

      • Same problem here
        I click on new task, it’s there. I type the task and the details, and nothing is saved. When I click on anything else and I come back to the task, nothing was saved.

        The only way I found to get around it is to check and uncheck “Completed.” I don’t think a calendar should need all that guessing. I’m just not using it again.

  5. Calendar Shortcut has disappered
    For some reason my Windows Calendar, Contacts and Mail shortcuts have all disappeared..are you have to tell me where the shortcuts point to?

    • Executables
      Windows Calendar: “%ProgramFiles%Windows Calendarwincal.exe”
      Windows Contacts: “%ProgramFiles%Windows Mailwab.exe”
      Windows Mail:”C:Program FilesWindows MailWinMail.exe”

  6. Windows Calendar Reminders
    The reminder window continually pops up when working in the calendar. When entering information for a new appointment, the reminder window keeps popping up. As each field is completed, up comes the window again and I can’t enter any more info until I cancel that window each time. I love the calendar and it opens when I sign on to my computer. But the constant reminder is annoying. I would appreciate your help to fix this problem.

    • Windows Calendar Reminders
      I experienced the same problem. This must be a bug in the calendar application. A temporary solution to this is to keep the default reminder time at “none”.

  7. Tasks
    I enter tasks but when I go to edit them later a strange thing happens —- they disappear! When I click on, for instance, my shopping list the text just disappears and the task is blank! No way to cancel or get it back

  8. windows calendar easier access
    can you add a windows calendar button onto windows mail task pane? i hate having to search around to open up my calendar. i guess i’m used to outlook where you can go back and forth from email to calendar with one click.
    any help out there?

  9. Reminders no longer working?
    While I like Windows Calendar something has stopped “reminders” from notifying when the application is closed. The approprtiate flag is checked in options, however nothing. Could be related to computer name change, but nothing I have done/found has fixed it yet.

  10. add calendar
    My computer died and so I had to buy a new one. I still have the old HD and know I want to retrieve my calendar file from my old HD. The problem is that I cannot enter the old file in any way, and so I cannot export/import. Does anyone know how I can configure Calendar to use the old file, rather than the one on my new HD?

  11. Printing calendar
    Your ‘Completer Guide’ says nothing about printing a calendar. I should like to know how I can use he PAGE SETUP button which is ;greyed out’ on my program

  12. Printing calendar
    When I print a calendar it is not quite central on the paper and I should like to be able to adjust this, but the PAGE SETUP button on my copy of the program is ‘greyed out’. How can I access this button ?

  13. “Read only” Calendars
    When I try to add an appointment to Calendar I get a “cannot add appointments to read only calendars.
    Two questions. How did my calendar become read only (sometimes this happens in the middle of a burst of calendaring! That is I add an appointment then when I add another I get the “Cannot add to read only etc”.

    Second question. How do I make my calendar non-readonly!

  14. Reoccuring Events
    When I change one appointment in a series, sometimes it just changes that occurrence and sometimes it changes the whole series. I am having trouble figuring out just how I can change just that single occurrence while leaving the rest of the series unaffected. (When it draws a slash through the reoccurring symbol)

  15. Windows Calendar and Vista Shutdown
    When shutting down Vista shutdown used to be carefree. Now i get a darkened screen on shutdown with a note that calendar is running and do i want to shut down calendar. I didn’t open calendar on my own. It is and always has been a display on the right hand dashboard panel. Only recently did it start the process of stalling shutdown to wait for a response for shutdown. Is there a way to turn this off? It’s not very “green” if you ask me. I’ve come back to my PC in the morning assuming the pc is shutdown…and it hangs…waiting for a reply.

  16. Simply printing
    I’m trying to find a way to print a weekly view of the calendar in landscape. But the “page setup” button is greyed out… is there another way to change page setup??? It should be so easy… 🙁

  17. Retrieving “lost” calendars
    I typed in a new name for a calendar while I had my old one opened. It opened a new blank calendar. Then I tried to enter the name of my former calendar, but I again got a new blank calendar.

    Does anyone know how to find an “old” calendar.


  18. Windows Calendar links with Windows Contacts
    I want to be able to enter birthdays in Contacts and have them appear automatically in my Calendar so that I know when to send cards. Is there a way to do this please?

  19. Links between Windows Contacts and Windows Calendar
    I want to be able to enter birthdays in a person’s individual record in Windows Contacts and have it show on the right date in my Windows Calendar. Is this achievable, please?

    • Contacts Birthdays on Calendar
      Hi, I’m also having this issue… is it possible to sync contacts birthdays with calendar in Vista? Please let me know if you had any luck 🙂

      Thanks x

  20. Reminders don’t work when calendar closed
    I cannot get reminders when Calendar is closed, even though I have the option checked to do so. It worked correctly for a few months, but then stopped. Reminders only work if I open Calendar. What can I do to make this work correctly again? It’s a wonderful feature, but I can’t have the Calendar open all the time…

  21. Access and Windows Calendar
    I am trying to link Windows calendar to Access 2003. I can’t link it to Outlook, because I get lots of OLE server not registered. I want to be able to enter dates and compare to other dates – so dates can not overlap. can I do this with Windows calendar?

  22. Unwanted duplication of calendar
    For an unknown reason, my calendar duplicates itself. If you delete the duplicate, most recent entries are also deleted. Right now there are 6 calendars. How do I prevent the calendar from making duplications?

  23. vista windows calendar duplication
    My personal calendar keeps duplicating itself, it seems to happen occasionally when I reboot, it actually re-creates a personal calendar that I deleted long ago yet somehow seems to still be in the system, Sometimes it creates two of them. Whenever this happens, I delete it/them and I seem to lose recent personal calendar entries as well. What can I do to stop this?

  24. Hello to the past. This is
    Hello to the past. This is 2015. Amazingly here in the future there are still no good iCal clients for Windows, and Windows Calendar (WinCal.exe) remains the most reliable – certainly better than the popular Lightning extension for Thunderbird.

    Does anyone know how to get WinCal.exe to work with Zoho Calendar? This is an excellent calendar service that has CalDAV and Exchange APIs. Windows Calendar supports CalDAV but I get various errors depending on what URL I use for the calendar.

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