How to Set Your Computer to Shut Down at a Certain Time

While you can set a computer's power management utility to have the machine shut down after a set amount of inactivity has passed, scheduling a shutdown as an actual system event ensures the computer will power down no matter what process may be running on it. And using the Windows Task Scheduler, you can schedule your computer to shut down at a certain time and date--you can even make shutting down a recurring event.

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Even if you aren't there to press the power button, you can program a computer to power down on a schedule.

Windows Vista and 7

Step

Click on the "Start" button and then type "Task Scheduler" in the Start menu search box. Click on the Task Scheduler icon when it appears in the Start menu.

Step

Click on the "Create Basic Task" option in the Task Scheduler to open the Task Creation wizard. Enter a name and description in their respective fields in the wizard. Click "Next."

Step

Select a recurrence option for you scheduled shutdown from the list of option below the "When do you want the task to start?" heading. Click "Next."

Step

Select a date and time for your shutdown, using the fields next to the "Start" heading. Click "Next."

Step

Ensure that the "Start a program" option is checked on the following page--it should be selected by default--and click "Next."

Step

Click on the "Browse" button to locate your computer's "shutdown.exe" file (C:\ Windows\System32\Shutdown.exe). Click "Next," and then "Finish" to schedule your shutdown.

Windows XP

Step

Launch the "Add Scheduled Task" wizard from the Control Panel's Scheduled Task utility.

Step

Click "Next" on the wizard's welcome screen. Click "Browse" on the following page and locate your system's "shutdown.exe" file (C:\Windows\System32\Shutdown.exe). Click "Next."

Step

Select a recurrence option for your schedule shutdown from the options listed under the "Perform this task:" heading. Click "Next."

Step

Select a start day, time and month options on the following page and then click "Next." Set an optional password for your event on the following page and then continue to the end of the wizard.