How to Schedule Windows Shutdown and Startup

It is easy to schedule your PC to start up or shut down automatically.

Featured Image Schedule Shutdown Restart Startup In Windows 11

Whether you’re a freelancer who works from home or a business owner who wants to make sure everything’s up and running as soon as you arrive in the office, there are many reasons to automate shutdown and startup on your Windows device. Here we show you how you can schedule shutdown, restart and startup on Windows 11 and Windows 10.

Why Schedule Shutdown, Restart and Startup on Your Windows 11/10 PC?

During a busy working day, it can be a drag to turn the Windows device on/off manually. The drawback is that you have to keep your eyes fixated on the screen, which is just losing productivity to distractions.

The good thing is you needn’t bother with these idle activities if you plan the shutdowns and restarts ahead of time. Shutting down the PC and restarting it doesn’t require your active presence. Booting up the PC means pressing the Power button – a chore you can entirely skip through on a prescheduled startup.

Most of us have a pretty good idea when to switch the device on/off. Using Windows tools such as Task Scheduler, Command Prompt and Desktop Shortcut, you can easily automate those decisions.

Schedule Windows 11/10 Shutdown with Task Scheduler

Task Scheduler is an excellent tool that lets you schedule tasks, such as shutdown and restart, for the system and various apps on your PC. On both Windows 11 and Windows 10, Task Scheduler can be easily located in the Windows Start menu program entries. Follow the steps below to schedule shutdown on Windows 11/10.

Schedule Windows11 10 Shutstart Task Scheduler Location Windows11
  1. Open Task Scheduler from Windows 11 Start menu search or Windows 10 search box.
Schedule Windows11 10 Shutstart Task Scheduler Windows11
  1. Click “Create Basic Task” from the “Action” menu on the top of your screen.
Schedule Windows11 10 Shutstart Task Scheduler Create Basic Task
  1. In the Create a Basic Task Wizard that opens, type a name for the task (we chose “Shutdown”), add a description, and click “Next.”
Schedule Windows11 10 Shutstart Task Scheduler Create Basic Task Description
  1. Select a trigger point for Windows to shut down. This will set up a certain day/time to initiate the shutdown activity. Choose from daily, weekly, monthly, one time, “when the computer starts,” “when I log on,” or “when a specific event is logged.”
Schedule Windows11 10 Shutstart Task Scheduler Create Basic Task Trigger
  1. For this demo, we are choosing the “one time” shutdown trigger for a specific date and time. If you want your PC to shut down every day at a certain time, choose the “daily” trigger. Click “Next” after setting the date and time.
Schedule Windows11 10 Shutstart Task Scheduler Schedule Time
  1. Select “Start a program,” then click “Next.”
Schedule Windows11 10 Shutstart Task Scheduler Create Basic Tasl Action Options
  1. On the next screen, type shutdown.exe into the Program/script box and /s into the arguments box, then click “Next.”
Schedule Windows11 10 Shutstart Task Scheduler Create Basic Task Shutdown Command
  1. Click “Finish.” Your shutdown is now scheduled.
Schedule Windows11 10 Shutstart Task Scheduler Create Basic Task Shutdown Finish
  1. As soon as the shutdown date and time arrives, your Windows PC will initiate a shutdown with the message “You’re about to be signed out. Windows will shut down in less than a minute.”

You can opt to have this message omitted to force a shutdown. (See the FAQs below for more details.)

Schedule Windows11 10 Shutstart Task Scheduler Shutdown Initiated

Schedule Windows 11/10 Restart with Task Scheduler

With Task Scheduler’s help, it is again easy to schedule Windows 11/10 to automatically restart. The process is nearly the same as automatic shutdown. Follow the steps below.

  1. Run a new basic task on Task Scheduler.
  2. Follow the on-screen steps until you reach the “Action -> Start a Program” menu. This time, use /r as the argument with the shutdown command, then click Next.
Schedule Windows11 10 Shutstart Task Scheduler Create Basic Task Restart Command
  1. Name the action, set the time and date, and click Finish.
Schedule Windows11 10 Shutstart Task Scheduler Create Basic Task Restart Finish
  1. At the scheduled time, the PC will shut down and restart automatically.
Schedule Windows11 10 Shutstart Task Scheduler Restart Initiated

Shut Down Windows 11/10 PC Using Command Prompt

With a single command in the command prompt, you can set a timer for your Windows 11/10 PC to automatically shut down. Not many are aware of this method. Here’s how the process works:

  1. Open the Windows 11/10 Start menu and search for the command prompt. Run it as an administrator.
Schedule Windows11 10 Shutstart Command Prompt
  1. Type the below command and hit the Enter key.
shutdown /s -t [seconds]

Note: replace [seconds] with the actual number of seconds. After doing this, your Windows 11/10 PC will shut down automatically. Instead of /s, you can also use the -s argument.

Schedule Windows11 10 Shutstart Command Prompt Shutdown Command Timer
  1. If you wish to cancel the Windows 10 PC shutdown timer, then simply enter the below command in the terminal:
shutdown -a
Schedule Windows11 10 Shutstart Command Prompt Shutdown Abort
  1. A notification saying shutdown has been aborted or scheduled shutdown has been canceled will show up on your screen.
  2. To restart the PC using the command prompt after a certain number of seconds, type the below command and hit the Enter key. Instead of /r, you can also use the -r argument.
shutdown /r -t [seconds]

Note: the -s in the command stands for Shut Down, while -a stands for “Abort.”

Schedule Windows11 10 Shutstart Command Prompt Restart Timer

Shut Down Windows PC Using a Desktop Shortcut

There is another awesome way to automatically shut down your Windows PC. It can be done simply by creating a desktop shortcut. Follow the instructions below:

  1. On your Windows desktop screen, right-click on the free area.
  2. In the newly opened menu, head to “New -> Shortcut.”
Schedule Windows11 10 Shutstart Shortcut Menu
  1. This will open the Create Shortcut wizard.
  2. In the “Type the location of the item” box, enter the command shutdown -s -t [seconds] and click “Next.”
Schedule Windows11 10 Shutstart Shortcut Location Browse

Note: you have to replace [seconds] in the command with the actual number of seconds.

  1. You will be asked to name the shortcut. Feel free to name it whatever you feel appropriate.
Schedule Windows11 10 Shutstart Shortcut Shutdown Name
  1. A desktop shortcut with the given name will appear on your desktop. Simply double-click on it to enable the shutdown timer.

Start Up Windows 11/10 on a Schedule

Starting up your computer on a schedule is a little different from shutdowns and restarts, and you’ll need to go into your motherboard BIOS or UEFI to set it up. Follow the steps listed below.

  1. To do this in Windows 11, go to “Advanced startup” from the Search menu (or Start menu search). For Windows 10, go to “Change advanced startup options.”
  2. Click “Restart now” to initiate safe mode booting.
Windows11 User Profile Advanced Startup Restart Now
  1. Once the blue screen shows up, click the “troubleshoot” button among the on-screen menu options.
  2. Click “Advanced options” and follow any other on-screen menu options.
Schedule Windows11 10 Shutstart Advanced Startup Troubleshoot
  1. Select UEFI Firmware Settings. Restart when prompted.
Schedule Windows11 10 Shutstart Advanced Startup Uefi Firmware Settings
  1. The BIOS screen will come into view after a restart.

Note: to arrive at the following BIOS screen, you could have also rebooted your PC normally. As it starts up, repeatedly press Del, F2, F12 or whatever button your specific PC manufacturer advises you to use for BIOS.

Schedule Windows11 10 Shutstart Advanced Bios Power Management Auto On Time
  1. To initiate an automatic startup on a Windows 11/10 device, you need to adjust the Power Management settings. Different PCs have different ways to do it. On some PCs, you can go to the “Auto On Time” menu option where the default setting is “disabled,” preventing the system from automatically powering up.

You can change it to “every day” if you want your PC to power up at a certain time every day.

Schedule Windows11 10 Shutstart Advanced Bios Auto On Time
  1. On other PCs, look for a function named “Resume By Alarm,” “Power on by RTC Alarm” or similar. (It varies depending on your motherboard manufacturer.) Set the time on it to when you want, save your changes, and exit the BIOS.

Make sure the PC battery is charged adequately for this automatic startup process to initiate (or keep it powered on). Once done, your PC will cold start on its own even in shutdown mode.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How do I force Windows to shut down or restart?

While by default the shutdown command gives you a message or warning (so that you can abort if you want to), it is possible to force a shutdown or restart. Use the following in command prompt admin mode:

shutdown /s /f -t [automatic shutdown in seconds]
shutdown /r  /f  -t [ automatic shutdown in seconds]
Schedule Windows11 10 Shutstart Command Prompt Shutdown Forced

2. How do I disable automatic shutdown on my Windows PC?

Automatic shutdowns can be annoying especially if you do not remember setting them up in the first place. You can always undo this setting from Task Scheduler.

If you ever want to edit or delete this task, just go to “Task Scheduler -> Task Scheduler Library” identify the automatic shutdown activity and right-click it to delete the automated activity.

Schedule Windows11 10 Shutstart Task Scheduler Delete Basic Task Shutdown

The same procedure from Task Scheduler has to be followed to remove/disable the automated restart on Windows PC.

Schedule Windows11 10 Shutstart Task Scheduler Delete Basic Task Restart

Wrapping Up

You should now have a Windows 11/10 setup that starts up and shuts down in accordance with what you set above. There’s much flexibility in Task Scheduler to shut down Windows on a schedule, such as setting different triggers and different rules for the shutdown, so feel free to experiment. If needed, you can also view your PC’s startup and shutdown history at anytime.

Read on to learn how to fix the “TaskSchedulerHelper.dll is missing” error.

Sayak Boral
Sayak Boral

Sayak Boral is a technology writer with over eleven years of experience working in different industries including semiconductors, IoT, enterprise IT, telecommunications OSS/BSS, and network security. He has been writing for MakeTechEasier on a wide range of technical topics including Windows, Android, Internet, Hardware Guides, Browsers, Software Tools, and Product Reviews.

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