How to Schedule an Auto Shutdown of Your PC

Do you want to save electricity? Shutting down your Windows 10 Desktop or Laptop at a specific date and time is one answer. Normally, we walk away from our computer at the end of the day. At some point, your PC will slip into hibernation or sleep mode, which saves power consumption but we are going to save even more electricity plus reduce heat buildup.

The Windows operating system has a Task Scheduler which allows us to setup a shutdown at a specific date and time. This Scheduler has been around since Windows XP. By setting up a scheduled task, we are going to shut down your PC at a specific time. I am going to walk you through the setup process screen by screen.

The steps are for Windows 10 operating system. The Task Scheduler is for Windows XP through Windows 10

  • In the Cortana search box, type in “task scheduler“ (without the quotes)
  • Open the Task Scheduler. See following image:
Task Scheduler 0
Opening the Task Scheduler

Create the Auto Shutdown Task

  • Select Create Basic Task. See following image:
Task Scheduler 0A
Creating a Basic Task
  • Give the Task a name and a description. I am using Auto Shutdown at 10 pm as the name. See following image:
Task Scheduler 2
Assigning a Name and Description to our scheduled task

Set the Task Triggers

  • Click Next at the bottom of the screen to open the Task Trigger screen
  • Select Daily (the default). See the following image:
Task Scheduler 3
Selecting the Task Trigger
  • Select Next
  • Select a Start: date and time
  • Set Recur every: 1 day (the default). See below image:
Task Scheduler 4
Setting the start date, time and the recurrence of the scheduled task

Set the Task Action

  • Select Next. You will see the Action screen
  • Select Start a program (the default). See below image:
Task Scheduler 5
Selecting the Action we want to perform

Set the Task Arguments

  • Click Next
  • In the Program/script box, enter “shutdown” (without the quotes)
  • Enter -s -f -t 60 in the Add arguments box. See following screen:
Task Scheduler 6
Entering the program name and arguments for the scheduled task

These arguments are part of the shutdown.exe program. The -s tells Windows to shutdown, you could enter -r for a shutdown and Restart. The -f forces all running programs to close and is implied if the -t argument is greater than 0. The -t 60 adds a 60 seconds countdown, if you want an immediate shutdown, change to -t 0. See following image:

Task Scheduler 6
Setting the program name and arguments

View Your Task Summary

  • Click Next and you will see your Summary screen. See below image:
Task Scheduler 7
A Summary of the scheduled task
  • Click Finish
  • Close the Task Scheduler. For our example, we are initiating a daily shutdown starting on 2/5/2020 at 10pm by closing all running applications with a 60 seconds countdown.

View, Edit or Delete Your Scheduled Task

  • Open Task Scheduler
  • Click on Task Scheduler Library
  • Find your task under the Name column and highlight it. You can view your Triggers and Actions under the appropriate tab. See following image:
Task Scheduler 8
Viewing your scheduled task
  • To Edit your task, highlight the task and select Properties. I recommend you go through each tab and make any necessary change(s). Click OK to apply your change(s).
  • To Delete the task, highlight the task and select Delete. Click Yes to complete the deletion.
  • Close the Task Scheduler

You are finished. At the designated date and time, watch your computer automatically shutdown. In our example, the auto shutdown occurs every day at 10 pm..

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