How To Automatically Shutdown Your Windows Vista Computer

In my article How To Automatically Shut Down Your Windows XP Computer I showed how to set it up so you can use the ShutDown.exe command to schedule and automatically shutdown your Windows XP computer. In this article I’ll show you how to do the same thing in Windows Vista.

For this How To, I’m using Windows Vista Home Edition. So we’ll dig in right away. Here’s the first screen shot after I clicked on the Start button. Like Windows XP you’ll find the Task Scheduler under the Start Button -> Control Panel -> System and Maintenance -> Administrative Tools -> Schedule tasks.

Here’s the new Vista Task Scheduler. It is more complicated looking for average users than the Task Scheduler in Windows XP. This could possibly keep certain users from every using the Task Scheduler in Vista.

Shutdown Computer with Vista Task Scheduler

Click image for larger view (800 x 600)

The Task Scheduler is quite a bit different in Vista and there’s a lot to it, but don’t let that hold you back. It might look intimidating but it’s not too bad. Just move forward. We are going to look at one task here and not all the extra stuff in Task Scheduler.

In the Actions column on the right, click Create Basic Task

You’ll see the following window and I’ve already filled in the Name and Description of our task.

Vista Task Scheduler Task Name

After clicking Next you’ll see the Task Trigger screen. We want to shut down our Vista PC in the middle of the night, every night so we’ll pick Daily.

Vista Task Scheduler Trigger

The next screen you’ll see is the Start Date and Time screen.

Vista Task Scheduler Date and Time

The following screen is the Action screen. Let’s Start a program.

Vista Task Scheduler Action

The next screen you’ll see is the Start a Program screen.

Vista Task Scheduler Start a Program

And finally the Summary screen.

Vista Task Scheduler Summary

Let’s take a look at our task in the Active Tasks list.

Vista Task Scheduler Active Tasks

Double-click the Task Name if you need to work with the settings.

Here’s the screen when the task fires off and starts to automatically shut Vista down. A window pops up telling us that Windows will shut down in less than a minute. You can click on the Close button but that will just close that window and Windows itself will continue to shut down.

Vista Automatic Shutdown

There’s quite a bit of detail with the shutdown.exe command and here is the output when you run the shutdown.exe /? command at the command prompt in Vista. It lists the choices of how you want to run the shutdown.exe command.

Shutdown Command Options

Click image for larger view

There you have it. Now you can automatically shutdown your Vista computer.


{ 30 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Sachin December 1, 2009 at 8:09 am

Cool tips man! I have a habit of putting the music on in my pc until I get to sleep, this would definitely help me shutdown my computer without me getting up from bed. Thanks for sharing

2 Altitude January 9, 2010 at 9:16 am

How can you turn on your computer automatically?

3 Bill January 9, 2010 at 9:24 am

@Altitude: Look in your bios at startup. There might be an option for that.

4 Excel Tutorials April 15, 2010 at 5:22 am

Hey i have an old xp computer ant want to make it a client of my newer vista home premium computer.thanks..

5 Wissam June 7, 2010 at 1:01 pm

i love that Tip .. thnk u man

6 fafa June 11, 2010 at 5:32 pm

thanks, nice instruction. worked well 4 me.

7 Michael June 15, 2010 at 5:27 pm

Good but tell me one thing. If I put the task of auto shutting down in the list for a particular time , and if accidentally at that time I happen to be working on my pc then will it prompt me to postponed the task or it will just proceed to shutdown? Thanks

8 siomy June 30, 2010 at 3:07 pm

i use to download different movies at night it will help me to shut down my computer after the download

9 Joris333 July 17, 2010 at 12:15 am

Supercool tips, thanx!

Greetz Joris

10 Jim Brownly August 1, 2010 at 1:39 pm

Thank you for information. I will check this out as soon as there will be a chance.

11 tuba August 4, 2010 at 4:24 pm

Very nice tutorial, rather than installing a software which shutdowns PC, I think its better to use this trick. thanks again!

12 mardah beatz August 16, 2010 at 12:15 pm

oh wow, that’s pretty cool, i didn’t know this, im going to try this on my vista because sometimes, im not home and i leave my computer on and i know that’s not good to leave your computer on, all day long

13 Icechen1 August 22, 2010 at 5:03 pm

And this is something you can use to “wake” up an computer!

14 rnichols November 14, 2010 at 9:32 pm

Hi, I was wondering if there is some way to shut a computer down when it is hibernating or sleeping, as it doesn’t seem that this task does so.
Thanks for your tip and thorough instruction.

15 entrance exams india December 4, 2010 at 1:33 pm

What a great way to automatically shut down your pc when you want to. Seems like this would be on the Windows 7 menu system somewhere.

16 personality career tests December 6, 2010 at 10:42 am

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

17 Scooter Diver December 13, 2010 at 2:38 pm

How do you Save Your programs automatically? To Prevent losing data by using shutdown the same way hibernate works.

I want to shut down my engineering departments computers without saving every open drawing and task.
I would like it to work like some of the new Internet browsers “Would you like to restore the last session?”

Good use of the task wizard!!

18 Bill December 14, 2010 at 12:31 pm

@Scooter Diver: Some programs do save data automatically and treat it like the program crashed – e.g. Microsoft Word, etc. If someone is in front of the computer there is a switch in the program that asks a person if they want to continue to shut down. You can also, train people to save data before walking away from their computer.

19 Chrty December 29, 2010 at 4:43 pm

Hey this is a great help! My comp is in my room and my lil sis likes to go on it late at night and stay up on it. :P Is there a way to make it shut down with like a five minute warning? Im not sure which /?? things to use..

20 Nidre February 9, 2011 at 12:34 pm

There is a more simple and easy way.Final Countdown.Final Countdown Is A Sleep Timer Software For Windows Platform.You can downlaod it from Cnet by the following link ;)

21 Bill February 11, 2011 at 6:07 am

@Nidre: Good find. I”ll have to check it out. Thanks for stoppin’ by.

22 Wedding Venue Yorkshire February 16, 2011 at 10:56 pm

I want to shut down my engineering departments computers without saving every open drawing and task.I would like it to work like some of the new Internet browsers “Would you like to restore the last session?”

23 Mike Kuhlman March 15, 2011 at 8:32 pm

Thank you. I have been having a hard time trying to automatically shut down my computer while playing dvd’s at night. The dvd software would override the auto-sleep function in the power management settings. This works like a charm. Hopefully will save a few bucks on my power bill.

24 Weddings March 23, 2011 at 2:03 pm

I never knew you could schedule a shutdown like that. Very useful – I’m going to try it.

25 cannes apartment April 19, 2011 at 12:22 pm

I desire to shut down my engineering departments computer systems without having saving each and every open drawing and undertaking.I’d like it to do the job like several of the new Web browsers “Would you like to restore the last session?”

26 Bill April 21, 2011 at 6:28 am

cannes apartment » I would contact the people who made the software you want to auto-save your work and see if that feature is available or if they are working on something like that.

27 Architects London May 7, 2011 at 4:53 am

I am using an AMD Athlon processor and a Windows XP as my operating system. My computer shutdowns unexpected. But before it shutdowns, a dialog box appears and I’m not able to read it because it disappears immediately.

28 Bill May 7, 2011 at 9:07 am

Architects London » Go to your Event Viewer and see if you can find the message under one of the Windows log files – System, Application, etc. It might be there and provide enough information to help you out.

29 Randy Harris January 13, 2012 at 2:38 pm

HEY THANKS! This is really great information: thanks for posting!

30 crystal paperweights May 30, 2012 at 10:14 pm

this information because every one to use this type of function.

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