Shutting down the computer is essential to give a cooling-off period to the internal components of your PC. However, compiling code, rendering a video, or downloading a game can force you to leave your PC unattended, which could result in no downtime.

Not shutting down your PC can be harmful in the long run as it will hamper the longevity of the electrical components and will also impact its performance.

The solution? Scheduling an auto-shutdown of your PC to let it rest before you start your grind the next day. There are multiple ways you can do that, and we will showcase all the methods in this guide.

1. Schedule a Shut Down Using Run Utility

This is the most convenient and fastest method to schedule a shutdown out of the lot.

Press Windows+R keys on your keyboard to bring up the Run Command utility on your screen. Then, type or copy and paste the below-mentioned command in the textbox and hit Enter on your keyboard or click 'OK.'

shutdown -s -t <number of seconds till shutdown>

For your reference, putting down the value '1' will shut down the PC in 1 second. Other values you might want to use include:

  • 3600 seconds = 1 hour
  • 7200 seconds = 2 hours
  • 10800 seconds = 3 hours

Though you will receive no confirmation, a window might flash on your screen.

In case you wish to adjust the time or cancel the shutdown, copy and paste the below-mentioned command and hit Enter or click 'OK'. For time adjustment, run the original command with the new time once you've canceled the shutdown using the below command.

shutdown -a

2. Auto-Shutdown Computer Using Command Prompt

The command using the Terminal is basically the same as the Run utility command. You can use it in case the Run utility does not work for you for some reason.

First, head to the Start Menu and type 'Terminal.' Then, from the search results, right-click on the 'Terminal' tile and click the 'Run as administrator' option to proceed.

A UAC (User Account Control) window will appear on your screen; if you are not logged in with an admin account, enter the credentials for one. Otherwise, click on the 'Yes' button to proceed.

Next, click the 'chevron' icon (downward arrow) and select the 'Command Prompt' icon to proceed. This will open the Command Prompt in a separate tab.

Then, type or copy and paste the below-mentioned command and hit Enter to execute.

shutdown -s -t <number of seconds>

Note: Replace the <number of seconds> placeholder with the actual duration in seconds.

3. Schedule a Shutdown with the Task Scheduler

First, head to the Start Menu and type 'Task Scheduler' to perform a search. Then, click on its tile from the search results.

After that, click 'Create Basic Task' from the right section of the window. This will open a separate window on your screen.

On the next screen, select the 'One-time' option. In case you wish to schedule the shutdown at the same time for a longer duration, you can select your preferred option. Once done, click 'Next'.

Now, select the date and time to schedule the shutdown. Then, click 'Next' to proceed.

Select 'Action' from the left sidebar. Then, select 'Start a program' and click 'Next' to continue.

Afterward, type or copy and paste the below-mentioned address in the space given for the directory path. Next, type -s in the arguments section. Once done, click 'Next'.

On the next screen, give an apt name to the task and then click 'Finish.' Make sure you ensure the shutdown is scheduled at a time preferred by you.

4. Make a Desktop Shortcut to Schedule Shutdown

You can also create a Desktop shortcut for a shutdown timer, which, when executed, will start a shutdown countdown. The only caveat is you can only define the time duration at the time of creation, which cannot be altered later. However, you can still have the convenience of scheduling automatic shutdown with just a click of a button.

To create a shortcut, right-click on the Desktop and hover over the 'New' option. Then, select 'Shortcut'. This will open a window on your screen.

After that, type or copy and paste the below-mentioned command and hit 'Next.'

shutdown -s -t xxxx

Note: Replace the 'xxxx' placeholder with the actual duration in seconds, as shown in the screenshot.

On the next screen, give an apt name for the shortcut and click 'Finish'.

Once created, you shall be able to see the shortcut on the Desktop. Run it to schedule a shutdown.

Scheduling a computer shutdown can be really beneficial if you tend to leave your computer with tasks running. It will ensure the longevity of internal components whilst also maintaining the optimal performance of the computer.