How to Schedule Windows 10 Shutdown and Startup

Whether you’re a freelancer who works from home in their dressing gown (guilty as charged) or a startup business owner who wants to make sure everything’s up and running as soon as you arrive in the office, there are a myriad of reasons to automate the startup and shutdown of Windows 10.

In this article we’ll show you how to use task scheduler and your BIOS to get Windows turning on and off at the exact time you want so that it’s ready when you sit down at your PC and shuts down at the end of the day.

Note: If you are still on Windows 7, you can follow the instructions here to auto shut down your PC.

First, open Task Scheduler. This is an excellent tool that lets you not only schedule startups and shutdowns, but also any other app on your PC (so you can use it to open Sticky Notes at PC startup, for example). But all that’s for another guide.

Click “Create Basic Task” in the Actions pane on the right side. In the Wizard that opens, type a name for the task (we chose “Shut Down”) and click Next.

schedule-windows-10-shut-down-start-up-create-basic-task

Now you’ll need to select a trigger time for Windows to shut down. We’ll set this as being 1am in the morning, which should ensure that computers in an office aren’t left running overnight needlessly.

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To do this, click “Daily,” then enter the date and time you want Windows to shut down. You can change the frequency with which this occurs in the “Recur every …. days” box.

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Click “Next,” then select “Start a program.” On the next screen type “shutdown.exe” into the Program/script box and “-s” into the arguments box. Your screen should look like the image below.

schedule-windows-10-shut-down-start-up-shutdown-exe

Click Next, then Finish. Your regular shutdowns are now scheduled.

You can do more. though – for example, only triggering the automatic shutdown when Windows has been idle for at least “x” amount of time.

To do this, open Task Scheduler, click Task Scheduler Library in the pane on the left, then find your “Shut Down” task (or whatever you named it), right-click it and click Properties.

In the new window click the Conditions tab, tick the “Start the task only if the computer is idle” box, then select the amount of idle time you want before Windows shuts itself down. Click OK when you’re done.

schedule-windows-10-shut-down-start-up-idle-time

If you ever want to edit or delete this task, just go to “Task Scheduler -> Task Scheduler Library,” and right-click it from the list to see the available options.

Starting up your computer on a schedule is a little different, and you’ll need to go into your motherboard BIOS to set it up.

To do this, reboot your PC, then as it’s starting up, repeatedly press Del, F8, F10 or whatever button your specific PC uses to enter the BIOS.

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Once there, look for a function called “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.

You should now have a Windows 10 setup that starts up and shuts down in accordance with what you set above. There’s a lot of flexibility in Task Scheduler for shutting down Windows on a schedule, such as setting different triggers and different rules for the shutdown under the ‘Properties’ tab of the task you created, so feel free to experiment.

Just be careful, lest your PC shuts down on you while you’re in the middle of something.

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