So, a friend of mine wanted to know if she could shutdown her PC automatically at a certain time. Or after a certain period of time. Well it’s possible. And I’m going to show you 3 utilities to do it, and how to do it from within your OS too, in case you don’t want to download. There are a LOT of shutdown utilities out there, but those below, I have used personally.
Shutter is my favourite shutdown utility due to its simplicity, but also because it comes from the author of the great ReNamer that I have already covered on Geekscribes previously.
Basically, you just choose the event that triggers the action. Events can be: countdown, at a specific time, a period of low CPU usage, a process stops, battery low, among others. After that, you just set the action to do: sleep or shutdown the computer, mute volume, lock the computer, among others. Then just click Start. I don’t like that “Start” button. In my opinion, it should have been “Schedule”. If you want the action to take place immediately, just click “Now”. Shutter also offers an extensive set of options, like showing a message before an action takes place.
Shutter also includes a Web Interface if you want to do “Now” actions, or run commands remotely. This is a really great feature for those of you with a download/torrent box. Note, this can be a security problem, so be sure to set a good username and password when configuring the web server in Options.
Shutter comes in Installer and Portable formats.
PowerOff takes another approach at events and actions. It puts everything on the main window. So you just select your action on the left. On the right, set options, like whether you want a warning before the action executes, or whether to force-close applications. Then set the time. Either immediate, or schedule it to execute at a specific time.
There are extensive scheduling options, like at a time, on a fixed day, or a daily schedule, on a weekly schedule, on a day of month, or after a time period elapses. One thing I’d like is the “After” option to allow me to set minutes, hours etc, instead of just seconds.
PowerOff also includes remote-control features, like Shutter. Interestingly, you can have the command execute on a remote computer, if the latter supports it. I haven’t tested that feature though.
PowerOff is portable, and comes with the source code, if ever you want to mess around with it. It’s coded in C/C++ language.
Amp WinOff, as you can see from the screenshot above, offers extensive options. You can set the actions to execute at a specific time (1st frame, top-right), or use a countdown (bottom-left frame), or when according to CPU load (top-right frame). You then set which action to take. It’s called “Shutdown mode” in Amp WinOff. You can even schedule days in advance.
While the program offers a many options and is very customizable, I don’t like the terminology used. Why is there a “Use the current time + 1 minute” and then a countdown feature? Also, I doubt “Lock Computer” is a “Shutdown Mode”. Anyway, those don’t really matter once you get familiar with the program. Now, the second thing that is annoying with Amp WinOff is that the website has been down for a while now, and I can’t find a mirror that’s still alive. The shot you’re seeing above is not from the latest version.
If you can find the utility somewhere, good.
4. Directly from your OS
Yes, you can execute a sheduled shutdown right from your OS. Let’s start with Linux first. It should work on most major distros, but I only tested on Ubuntu.
Fire up your Terminal/Konsole or whatever it’s called in your distro.
Then the command structure is as this:
shutdown [- shutdown parameters] [ time parameter] [ optional message ]
shutdown parameters: r = reboot, h = halt, c = cancel shutdown (time parameter is then not required)
shutdown -r now <-- Reboot immediately
shutdown -h 19:00 <-- Shutdown (Halt) the system at 19h
shutdown -h +5 "System will shutdown" <-- Shutdown the system in 5 mins from now, and tell users why.
Quite easy huh? Just note that while a shutdown is scheduled, new users won’t be allowed to login 5 minutes before the shutdown sequence is initiated, i.e. only 5 mins left before shutdown. This is to be considered for multi-user environments.
The command is similar to that of Linux, but different syntax and parameter names. Just open a command prompt (type cmd in the search box in Vista/Win7, or Winkey+R, then type cmd, or directly type the commands below in the search box in Win7)
shutdown [- shutdown parameters] [-t xx in seconds] [-c reason]
shutdown parameters: r = reboot, s = shutdown, a = abort shutdown
shutdown -r <-- Reboots computer immediately
shutdown -s <-- Shutdown computer immediately
shutdown -r -t 60 <-- Restart computer in 60 seconds
shutdown -s -t 3600 -c "Computer shutting down" <-- Shutdown in one hour (3600 seconds), and tell user why
You should get a confirmation that the command has been accepted. (E.g. Keys icon in the notification area with a message).
That’s it for this post. If you know other methods for scheduling a system shutdown, or maybe to get your favorite utility listed here, drop us a comment. Thanks!