How To Automatically Shut Down Your Windows XP Computer

It’s been said, “Not owning a computer is the most secure computer.” While that’s true, we need to take steps to keep our computer secure.

As a general rule, I like to shut my computer off when I’m away from it for long periods of time. That includes going out for the day or night, as well as going to sleep. Sometimes it’s hard to remember to shut it off. So in this article I’ll show you a way to shut your Windows XP computer off automatically without some kind of external shutdown clock program for XP.

Windows XP comes with a program called shutdown.exe and is located in your system32 folder which typically resides under C:\Windows or the main folder where Windows XP was installed.

So let’s set this up quickly:

1. Go to “Start->Control Panel” and click on “Scheduled Tasks” if you’re in “Classic View”. If you’re not in “Classic View” you are probably in “Category View”. In “Category View” you’ll click on “Performance and Maintenance”. Then click on “Scheduled Tasks”. You’ll see the following screen. Double-click the “Add Scheduled Task” icon.

Scheduled Tasks

2. Click “Next” on the “Schedule Task Wizard” screen (below).

Windows XP Schedule a Task Wizard

3. Click the “Browse” button on the next screen that lists the different applications you can select from (below).

Windows XP Schedule a Task Wizard

4. Browse to C:\Windows\system32 and select the program shutdown.exe (below).

Windows XP Schedule a Task Wizard

5. After selecting shutdown.exe, select “Daily” for “Perform this task:” (below).

Windows XP Schedule a Task Wizard

6. I sleep during the night. That’s why I shut my PC down automagically at 3:00am (below). But, I run some jobs automatically at 1:00am – virus scan and spyware scan, which will be part of a future article. Feel free to adjust this time to fit your schedule.

Windows XP Schedule a Task Wizard

7. You’ll be asked to provide a user name and password that will be used to run this task (below). Warning: If you don’t know your password, that ok. You can add or change it later. If you don’t provide the correct password, you’ll get an error screen after this step. However, you’ll still be able to finish this process.

Windows XP Schedule a Task Wizard

8. At this point you’ve successfully added a new schedule task to run at 3:00am. However, let’s click on the “Open advanced properties fro this task when I click Finish” checkbox and click “Finish” so we can add some command line parameters to shutdown.exe (below).

Windows XP Schedule a Task Wizard

9. You’ll be presented with the following screen.

Windows XP Schedule a Task Wizard

10. Add the following command line parameters as seen below and here – C:\Windows\system32\shutdown.exe -s -t 60 -c “Daily Shutdown” -f. The -s stands for “Shutdown the computer”. The -t 60 stands for “Set timeout for shudown to xx seconds. Feel free to adjust that. You never know when you’re going to be working at 3:00am, so it’s nice to have 60 seconds to prepare for the shutdown. The -c stands “Shutdown comment” which shows up on the screen when the PC is shutting down. And finally the -f stands for “Forces running applications to close without warning”.

Windows XP Schedule a Task Wizard

11. There’s nothing to change on “Schedule” tab. However, feel free to adjust anything that pertains to your work environment or routine.

Windows XP Schedule a Task Wizard

12. I also leave the “Settings” tab alone. Again, change what you need to or experiment what suits your work style.

Windows XP Schedule a Task Wizard

13. This is the final screen (below) that pops up when the task runs. You will have 60 seconds to close applications if you need to.

Windows XP Schedule a Task Wizard

That’s it!! Now you can rest assured your PC is shut down and secure while you’re away from your PC.

    

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