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Published on 10.17.08 by Brent Trahan

Set Your Computer to Shutdown at a Specified Time

Learn how to make Windows Vista automatically shutdown at a certain time.

Electro Geeza asked: “Right now, I am actually looking for some instructions on how to automatically shutdown the computer by using only the built-in components of Windows Vista, without any additional “shutdown computer” applications (oh boy, there are thousands or even billions of those). I am thinking about using Task scheduler in Windows to set up a computer shutdown command in some way. Any other ideas?

I’m 100% with you Electro Geeza. I try to always use built-in functions in Windows to do a task before I use “other” software. Using little applications to perform tasks opens the door to bugs and crashes. Most of the times there are built in functions to perform most tasks. Most people just don’t know about or how to use them.

How-to Shutdown Windows Vista at a Specified Time

I’m going to use the shutdown command included in Windows Vista to shutdown the computer and the task scheduler to shut it down at a specific time.

  1. Open Task Scheduler by going to Start orb, All Programs, Accessories, System Tools, and then open Task Scheduler.
  2. Click Create basic task on the right side of the Task Scheduler.

  3. Give the task a name and then click Next.

  4. Select when you want to shutdown the computer and then click Next. The next screen will differ depending on when you want the computer to shutdown. In this example I want the computer to shutdown every Monday – Friday at 6pm.

  5. Next, choose the rest of the details about when you want to shutdown the computer and then click Next.

  6. Choose to Start a program and then click Next.

  7. Type shutdown under Program/script and type –s –f –t 0 in the Add arguments box and then click Next.

    Learn more about the shutdown command.

  8. Click Finish on the next screen to save this scheduled task.

Still need help? Ask your computer question now.

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53 Responses to “Set Your Computer to Shutdown at a Specified Time”

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  1. Mishari AL-Kandery says:

    thanx for help but…

    every time i tried to access the task scheduler windows says ”you may not have permitions to access this item !!:(

    i’ll be very pleased if you help me :)


  2. Daniel says:

    This is very easy to overcome.

    As you open

    Start > All Programs > Accessories > System Tools

    to reveal the “Task Scheduler” program link, right click it with your mouse and from the sub-menu that pops up, click “Run as administrator”.

    That should fix it!

  3. mrg3dit2002 says:

    wow-o u guys r smart….i got alot to learn!!!

  4. mark says:

    i tried this but at the time it is supposed to shutdown it didn’t. i tried following each step that is said but nothing happened. can somebody help me please. thank you

  5. Nath says:

    How do u stop it and find it?

  6. e-man says:

    when i open the task scheduler, a message box pops up and says “the task image is corrupt or has been tampered with.mcupdate” but it still lets me run the program. what does that mean?

  7. Pieter says:


    I would like to schedule the same task, but only to sleep or hibernate my PC, could someone please help me with this?


  8. mesamec says:

    Hi I want my computer to shut off automatically at 10:30 PM every night , but before i set this up, will this work even if my laptop has it’s lid down and is sleeping or hibernating?

    • Brent Trahan says:

      If your computer is hibernating it has already shut down.

      If it’s sleeping you can set the scheduled task to wake the computer and run the command by checking off that option in the Conditions tab of the shutdown task you created.

      Example: After you’ve created the shutdown task, edit the task by opening Task Scheduler, find and open the shutdown task you’ve created, select the Conditions tab in the shutdown task, and then check off Wake the computer to run this task.

  9. ghouse7 says:

    Just wanted to say thanks! I’ve been looking for this for a while.

  10. justin says:

    How do i disable/remove this Basic Task after it has been created?

  11. Paige says:

    Well I tried this and set up two testers to confirm it worked neither worked, so naturally during the next test I copied everything word for word not sure what’s going on O.o

  12. Ray says:

    Is this the ONLY way to shutdown the computer like this? Is there possibly another way to run a batch file every 5 minutes or so and perform certain actions (excluding using downloaded programs)?

  13. SAYED says:

    welll herez da best, easiest to perform mini- method which takes you out of all this trouble of task scheduling!!! Lets say you want to shut down pc at 11 am. Just go to run and enter this command:

    at 11:00 shutdown -s

    similarly for shutting down at 8:54 pm, you gotta write:

    at 20:54 shutdown -s

    nd here you go! :)

  14. Johnson says:

    This is a very useful tip. Thanks. I am also glad that more and more programs can be set to shut down when Defrag of a hard drive is done like in Auslogic Disk Defrag.

    I wonder if I can make a visual basic program with a alarm clock function which can be made to shutdown a PC at a specific time with a timer function.

  15. samir says:

    thank alots

  16. Serbio says:

    Hello, this question can only been possibly answer by Brent Trahan but off course anyone is invited to have a look and discussed, is it possible to set the computer to shut down, sleep or hibernated, with the optionto be after a program have been downloaded, it sounds complicated, I have been thinking it may need a add-on if it can be manually, I think that would be very useful………….Imagine you want to download something big that make take a night but you dont want to spend all the time cheking if it has already been download to dont waste more your battery, internet connection,so also reduce risk to be connected directely on intenet increasing posibilidades of an attack( going to extrem) but basically for the already mentioned above. THANKS A LOT

    • Alan says:

      I’ve also been looking for an answer to this, and I think some big files come with an option to shut down the computer once you’ve installed/downloaded it but the majority don’t so I second your question… help?

  17. justph says:

    this works just fine on my laptop. thanks :)

  18. nikx says:

    thanx 4 da gr8 info…

  19. Mandy says:

    Hello there, I followed closely your steps but my comp couldn’t shutdown as scheduled (shutdown every Mon-Sat at 7.30am). Instead I got this pop-up error message: “An error has occurred for Task reminders – Owner. Error Message: The specified account name is not valid.” Please help me, thank you!

  20. Abhishek says:

    Hello there if i want to shut my pc at 8am then what code should i write…..could you help me with that

  21. jeannie says:

    how do i do this to make my computer power back on everday at a cetain time?

  22. jeannie says:

    let me rephrase i want to schedule the task scheduler to have my computer shut off and turn on everyday at cetain times. i have already schedlued the shut down now how do i do the start up

    • Brent Trahan says:

      Hmmm, I think this is possible, but I don’t know how to get it to turn back on.

    • PeteGeek says:

      You’d need to set the BIOS for Wake on LAN and boot your PC via a network scheduler.

      Scheduling to boot a PC is a lot more involved than shutting one down.

      The only other way would be to have it in sleep mode only and not shutdown or hibernating. Then just schedule a wake task (eg. open notepad.exe) and ignore sleep state.

  23. justph says:

    this works fine on my laptop ! thanks :)

  24. Amol says:

    Does not work for my laptop- Dell studio 15, windows vista.

  25. Derek Lee says:

    I have an additional task that warns me 5 minutes before hand that my computer is going to shut down. I understand that there is a way to force quit all applications running at the moment, but is there a way to force minimize all the applications so that I can be warned and have time to save my work before my machine shuts down? Thanks.

  26. Aislin says:

    This is great guys, so useful :)

    Is there a way that I can get it to issue a warning, about 10 mins before, something like

    ”Attention: computer will shut down in 10 minutes”

    so that I can save/ quickly finish what I’m doing?
    Help much appreciated :)

    • Derek Lee says:

      It should be the same procedure, except that under action instead of running a program, choose display a message instead and put down what you want to display.

  27. Lis says:

    If I set up this task to shut down every night at 10:30, for instance, is it possible to cancel the shutdown on some days if I need to work longer? Can I get it to give me a warning it is going to shut down in 10 minutes with the option to cancel if I need to keep working on random occasions?

  28. Sarah says:

    Hmmm ,, Thank u that really helped
    How to deactivate…
    And how to check if it worked
    ThanQ you <3

  29. Taylor says:

    My computer requires that I pick a task from a list of programs. HELP. what do i pick

  30. Vaios says:

    I want to shutdown my windows 7 with any way I want, with detailes time and date paramenters, and ALSO to protect the shutdown program from other users with password to prevent them to cancel it, or delete it, part or the whole folder where program is.

  31. zencryo says:

    isn’t it supposed to be /s /f /t 0 for windows vista

  32. Manoj says:

    Hi…I want to shut down my system after a particular task is finished automatically…I mean suppose a download of a movie is going on..then after the movie gets downloaded the system has to shut off automatically…How can we do this..??

  33. rohit says:

    HI all
    Need some help

    i want to shutdown automatically my laptop aftr usage of 2 hours without any intimation
    then it should not start like before 2 to 3 hours..

    Is there any kind of progm or scripts are available
    please share.

  34. rohit says:

    HI all
    Need some help !!!

    i want to shutdown automatically my laptop aftr usage of 2 hours without any intimation
    then it should not start like before 2 to 3 hours..

    Is there any kind of progm or scripts are available
    please share.

  35. tayab says:

    Hello Friends
    Can u Help me How i can Delete it From the Task Scheduler Or Stop This Service

    • Lis says:

      Just right click the task in the task scheduler list and choose ‘delete’ or just highlight it and click the delete button.

  36. Lis says:

    Do you know of a way to, instead of shutting down, have the task activate the screen saver? Just to get my attention, heh.

  37. Ryan says:

    Is there a way to make my computer lock after a certain period of inactivity and repeat when ever my computer is inactive for that time… lets say 10 minutes.

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