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How to Schedule a Windows Reboot at a Later Time



Updated on 8/26/2008 with corrected information!

Window’s simple shutdown command works well, but has some major drawbacks. The major one is that it will only schedule a reboot up to 10 minutes into the future (600 seconds). Linux’s shutdown command makes this easy, just issue the command ‘shutdown -r +60′ for example to reboot an hour in the future.

No such luck in Windows, you need to download a separate program to do this. It is a sysinternals program, you might remember sysinternals from such utilies like FileMon and ProcessMonitor.

The program we use for this is called PsTools and more specifically the file psshutdown.exe.

[Download PsTools here]

Place psshutdown.exe into a directory for future use, for this example we will use c:\tools\.

Easiest Method:

Type the following command into the command prompt:

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c:\tools\psshutdown.exe -r -f -c -t 02:00 /accepteula

PSshutdown will respond with:

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2
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PsShutdown v2.52 - Shutdown, logoff and power manage local and remote systems
Copyright (C) 1999-2006 Mark Russinovich
Sysinternals - www.sysinternals.com

Local system is scheduled to reboot in 15:08:00.

If all goes will, Windows will reboot at 2:00am, or your specified time. This command will start a system service with the psstools scheduling program, PSSDNSVC.EXE.

Alternate Method:

Then open a command prompt and type the following command:

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at 2:00am c:\tools\psshutdown.exe -r -f -c -t 10 /accepteula

This will result in:

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Added a new job with ID = 1

You can verify this task has been added by looking at the Scheduled Tasks – the job name will be At1 if you haven’t scheduled any other tasks via the command line.


Originally posted 20080527 and last touched 20080826
Dave Drager+ is the Chief Technology Officer at XDA-Developers, where he keeps the server farm running efficiently for millions of visitors per day. He has written previously for the technology blogs Lifehacker and MakeUseOf.


  • Ronny Ong

    Actually, the shutdown command is built into virtually every version of Windows released in the last 8 years:

    XP (Pro/Tablet/Media Center Editions)
    Vista (All Editions)
    Server 2003 (All Editions)
    Server 2008 (All Editions)

    The only exception is XP Home Edition.

    Syntax example: shutdown -r -f -t 10

    In fact, your use of psshutdown with Scheduled Tasks is silly because one of the main reasons to use psshutdown instead of the built-in shutdown is that the -t option of psshutdown supports HH:MM (time in 24-hour format) in addition to NN (number of seconds). So your example could have been:

    psshutdown -r -f -c -t 02:00 /accepteula

    Which is better because it does not rely upon the Task Scheduler service being enabled and running. Instead, psshutdown temporarily installs its own service. Occasionally, anti-malware which has been set to paranoid settings may block this, but typically such settings would also block the addition of a Scheduled Task.

  • Ronny Ong

    Actually, the shutdown command is built into virtually every version of Windows released in the last 8 years:

    XP (Pro/Tablet/Media Center Editions)
    Vista (All Editions)
    Server 2003 (All Editions)
    Server 2008 (All Editions)

    The only exception is XP Home Edition.

    Syntax example: shutdown -r -f -t 10

    In fact, your use of psshutdown with Scheduled Tasks is silly because one of the main reasons to use psshutdown instead of the built-in shutdown is that the -t option of psshutdown supports HH:MM (time in 24-hour format) in addition to NN (number of seconds). So your example could have been:

    psshutdown -r -f -c -t 02:00 /accepteula

    Which is better because it does not rely upon the Task Scheduler service being enabled and running. Instead, psshutdown temporarily installs its own service. Occasionally, anti-malware which has been set to paranoid settings may block this, but typically such settings would also block the addition of a Scheduled Task.

  • http://solfrejazz.livejournal.com/ http://solfrejazz.livejournal.

    I’m assuming you mean turn of the computer, and not restart it. Please tell me if I’m wrong. And if I’m right – my comment is this: I would like to know how to schedule a shut-down of a mac computer.

  • http://solfrejazz.livejournal.com/ http://solfrejazz.livejournal.com/

    I\’m assuming you mean turn of the computer, and not restart it. Please tell me if I\’m wrong. And if I\’m right – my comment is this: I would like to know how to schedule a shut-down of a mac computer.

  • http://davedrager.com Dave Drager

    Ronny, Thanks for the info. I’ve updated the post with your information! I agree – it is better to run it outside of task manager as it just leaves more points of failure.

  • http://systembash.com Dave

    Ronny, Thanks for the info. I’ve updated the post with your information! I agree – it is better to run it outside of task manager as it just leaves more points of failure.

  • http://www.RolandByrd.com Roland Byrd

    I’d just like to add the the “-accepteula” switch seems to be required. Otherwise the reboot just hangs there and eventually times out–if it’s a scheduled task.