Windows 11 and its previous versions like Windows 10 allow you to set a schedule to automatically shut down. It’s useful as you don’t have to stop doing your activities, go back to your PC, and manually shut it down. However, it’s not a straightforward process.
This post will help you to set up a schedule auto shutdown on Windows 11 with a timer or only when it’s idle. You can use Windows 11’s basic built-in tools like Command Prompt or a third-party app for an easier method.
You can also cancel or stop the auto shutdown in case you still need your computer to keep running. You can also modify the command to automatically restart Windows 11, as well as hibernate and sleep (more on that later). You can do the same with a third-party app.
Although this post uses Windows 11 as an example, you can still apply all of these methods to Windows 10, with a slight difference in the interface (Start menu).
The automatic shutdown can be useful when you want to do anything else other than being in front of your computer or simply want to automatically shut down, restart, hibernate, or sleep the computer after it’s done doing activities (idle).
Before proceeding, you might want to read the basic
Shutdown is a command that is widely used by programs on your PC to shut down. Shutdown.exe is an executable file version of the shutdown command located in %windir%\System32\ that you can run to shut down your computer.
But you can use the
shutdown command itself in the Command Prompt, Task Scheduler, the Run dialog box, and others with a parameter, for example,
s for shutdown and
r for restart, which you will read more on that later.
You will then add another parameter for the timer which is
t. Then, you can specify the duration for that timer using the number in seconds. This is what it should look like:
shutdown -s -t 900
The above will execute a task to automatically shut down after 900 seconds which is equal to 15 minutes. You will need to convert the minutes, hours, days, weeks, or months to seconds for the command to work.
How to schedule automatic shutdown on Windows 11 (timer)
You can use a timer to schedule an automatic shutdown on Windows 11. Your computer will shut down on its own after a specified time or duration. You can use one of the following methods:
Use a desktop shortcut
A desktop shortcut for auto-shutdown can be made directly on the desktop. Right-click on the desktop and select New > Shortcut.
Normally, you would add a location of a program to open on the Type the location of the item option. For the auto-shutdown, you will add this line of command instead:
shutdown -s -t 900
It will shut down the PC in 900 seconds, and that will be 15 minutes. Click Next. Add a name you can easily identify the shortcut with, for example, auto shutdown in 15 mins. Click Finish.
The desktop shortcut will be added to the desktop and you can double-click it to start the auto-shutdown timer within the specified duration you have set earlier.
If you wish to change that duration, you can simply edit that duration in the shortcut’s target location. Always remember to add in seconds.
Use Task Scheduler
Windows also has the Task Scheduler. It does what the name suggests, including automatically shut down. You can use the same command mentioned earlier for this to work.
Create an automatic shutdown task
Open the Task Scheduler by searching the app on the Start menu.
Select Action > Create basic task.
Add a name for the task you can easily identify with. Select Next.
Select when you want to start the task. You can select daily, weekly, monthly, one time, or more. As an example, I select one time. Select Next.
You will have to specify when you want to automatically shut down. Select Next if you’re done.
You will select Start a program to automatically shut down using the shutdown.exe program. Select Next.
Here, add shutdown.exe as the program. Select Next.
Here, you can read the summary of the task for the auto-shutdown. Select Finish to save the task.
Your PC will shut down after the specified time. You can also only shut down your PC automatically when it’s idle (more on that later).
Cancel automatic shutdown task
With the Task Scheduler, it’s easy to cancel the auto-shutdown task. You can either disable or delete the task. Right-click on the task, and select Disable if you don’t need it temporarily or Delete if you don’t need it anymore.
Use the Run dialog box
The Run dialog box also uses the same command. It’s a lot simpler as you only need to press the Windows+R keyboard shortcut. Then, add the command line:
shutdown -s -t [timer duration]
Click OK to start the auto-shutdown timer.
Use the Command Prompt
You can also apply the auto-shutdown command on the Command Prompt. Open it by searching it through the Start menu.
On the Command Prompt, add this line of command:
shutdown -s -t [timer duration]
Press Enter and your PC will shut down after the timer ends.
How to automatically shut down Windows 11 only when it’s idle
You can automatically shut down Windows 11 only when it’s idle. Idle means inactivity on your computer. This is useful if you have some process running on your Windows 11 PC and you want to shut down only when those processes end for a period of time.
In other words, you can auto-shutdown only when your PC does nothing.
You can use the earlier task in the Task Scheduler and edit it. Right-click on it, and select Properties.
Select the Conditions tab. Checkmark the Start the task only if the computer is idle for option and enter the specified duration for how long your PC is idle. Enter the same amount of duration on the Wait for idle for option.
Below those options, you’ll see two options that say Stop if the computer ceases to be idle and Restart if the idle state resumes. You should probably checkmark the first option to cancel the auto-shutdown task when your computer stops in an idle state if you don’t want to shut down when your PC does something.
The second allows you to restart the auto-shutdown task if your computer is idle again. You might want to checkmark this if you want to automatically shut down anyway.
PsShutdown command for hibernating and sleeping automatically
shutdown command is tricky if you want to automatically hibernate or sleep your Windows 11 PC. It’s not compatible with a timer, requires administrative privilege, and has other issues.
If you insist on a command, you can use PsShutdown command instead. You have to install it first, then use the command on Command Prompt.
Use third-party auto-shutdown apps for Windows 11
Instead of manually using the command, you can simply use a third-party app for a more convenient way to automatically shut down your Windows 11 PC. It also includes hibernating and sleeping, which can be complex if you insist to use Command Prompt.
Wise Auto Shutdown
It’s one of the most popular apps for auto-shutdown. It allows you to automatically shut down, restart, log off, hibernate, sleep, and lock the screen. It also includes the idle option.
Shutdown Timer Classic
If you use Windows 11 and prefer a third-party app from Microsoft Store, try Shutdown Timer Classic. It also allows you to automatically shut down, restart, hibernate, sleep, log out, and lock the screen.
Windows 11 lets you automatically shut down itself using the
shutdown command, or
PsShutdown if you want to hibernate or sleep. Or, use a third-party app for easier auto-shutdown.