Having your PC shutdown on a timer lets you step away from your device without having to cancel long-running tasks. In this guide, we'll show you two methods to allow you to schedule an automatic shutdown, either on a single occasion or on a regular timetable.
Method 1: Using the Command Prompt
The simplest way to add a one-time shutdown timer is by invoking the shutdown using Command Prompt. Launch Command Prompt from the Start menu (type "cmd" into the searchbox) to begin using this method.
The syntax for the
shutdown command is as follows:
shutdown /s /t 300
Type the command and press enter. You'll see a warning that your device will shutdown in 5 minutes. The delay is specified in seconds as the value after
/t in the command – change this number to alter how long Windows will wait before shutting down.
You can now close the Command Prompt and keep using your PC. Alternatively, lock it and walk away from it, leaving background tasks to finish up. Either way, Windows will automatically shutdown, forcing closure of all programs, when the timer expires. You can abort the shutdown at any time by running
Method 2: Scheduling shutdowns with Task Scheduler
Windows' Task Scheduler utility allows you to run programs on a schedule. A variety of different triggers can be used, although we'll stick to a time-based trigger for this article.
Open Task Scheduler by searching for it in the Start menu. In the Actions pane on the right, click "Create Basic Task" and name the task "Shutdown." Click the "Next" button to proceed.
You now need to define the trigger for the shutdown. You can choose between Daily, Weekly and Monthly recurrence, or opt for a one-time event. Click Next to make your selection and specify the parameters for your trigger. In our case, we'll automatically shutdown the device at 22:00 every day.
Click "Next" to get to the Action configuration screen. Choose "Start a program" and click "Next." Under "Program/script", type
/s /t 0 into the "Add arguments box" – you'll notice from above that we still have to specify a shutdown delay, but by using "0 seconds" the timer expires immediately.
Finally, click "Next" again to review and save your task. It will be automatically enabled when you click the final "Finish" button. You can now rest assured your device will shutdown automatically at the appointed time, so you can keep tasks running even if you're leaving your device unattended.