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How to Remotely Shut Down or Restart Windows PCs

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Windows includes Shutdown.exe, a simple utility for remotely shutting down or restarting Windows computers on your local network. To use Shutdown.exe, you must first configure the PCs you want to shut down or restart remotely.

Once you’ve configured the PCs, you can use a graphical user interface or command to restart the PCs from another Windows system. You can even remotely shut down or restart the PCs from a Linux system.

Configuration

The remote registry service must be enabled on each computer you want to shut down remotely – it’s disabled by default.

To enable it, first launch the Services control panel on the computer you want to shut down remotely. To do this, click the Start button, type services.msc into the Start menu and press Enter.

Locate the “Remote Registry” service in the list, right-click it and select Properties.

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From the properties window, set the Startup type to Automatic and click the Start button to launch the service.

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Next, you’ll have to open the required port in the computer’s firewall. Click Start, type “Allow a program” and press Enter. In the window that appears, click the “Change settings” button. Scroll down in the list and enable the “Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI)” exception.

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Your user account must also have administrator permissions on the remote computer. If it doesn’t, the shutdown command will fail due to lack of permissions.

Remote Shut Down

To shut down the computer, launch a Command Prompt window on another computer (click Start, type Command Prompt, and press Enter). Type the following command into the command prompt window for a graphical interface:

shutdown /i

From the remote shutdown dialog window, you can add one or more computer names and specify whether you want to shut down or restart the system. You can optionally warn users and log a message to the system’s event log.

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Not sure what the name of the remote computer is? Click Start on the remote computer, right-click Computer in the Start menu, and select Properties. You’ll see the computer’s name.

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You can also use a command instead of the graphical interface. Here’s the equivalent command:

shutdown /s /m \\chris-laptop /t 30 /c “Shutting down for maintenance.” /d P:1:1

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Shut Down From Linux

Once you’ve set up the computer, you can also shut it down from a Linux system. This requires the samba-common package installed – you can install it on Ubuntu with the following command:

sudo apt-get install samba-common

Once you have, use the following command from a terminal:

net rpc shutdown -I ip.address -U user%password

Replace “ip.address” with the numerical address of the Windows computer, “user” with the username of an account that has administrator privileges on the remote computer, and “password” with the user account’s password. You can add a “-r” option to the command if you want the computer to restart instead of shutting down.

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If you have remote desktop access, you can also access the desktop and shut down or restart that way. The shutdown.exe command is a faster way of doing the same thing designed for system administrators – you can shut down or reboot multiple computers much faster than you could by logging into them one-by-one.

Chris Hoffman is a technology writer and all-around computer geek. He's as at home using the Linux terminal as he is digging into the Windows registry. Connect with him on Google+.

  • Published 03/26/12

Comments (25)

  1. bemymonkey

    Why all the drama? Just press CTRL+ALT+END and then hit shut down…

  2. bemymonkey

    Never mind, thought this was RDP-only… ignore me ;)

  3. Yugius

    If you want to shut it down over the internet I recommend an alternative solution. In that case you should switch to a 3rd party program like Shutdown7.

  4. Paul

    Another alternative which is far more simple is to install ControlByMail (www.vic2pc.com) on your PC, and then you can remotely reboot it, or remotely shut it down, just by sending an email with the text “[[reboot]]” in the body and a one-time password in the subject field. So simple and easy, and you can do it from any device that has email.

  5. Nate

    Don’t forget the PowerShell approach for remote restarts.

    Restart-Computer -ComputerName

  6. Nate

    Ugh, comment got cut off. Be sure to put the remote system’s name after the ComputerName parameter.

  7. Loser

    I do it by making a ipc$ link.

  8. Alan

    I just yell ” kids, get off your bloody laptops NOW”
    Then switch off the router

  9. Aviad

    I’ve been meaning to look for the Linux way, thanks :)

  10. John M. Keller (ITBeast)

    Nice Article Chris, I have know about the shutdown /i gui interface for sometime on Windows and use it at work often. If you have alot of Workstations to restart or shutdown at one time this is a nice little trick to know.

    P.S. Thanks for showing us the Linux way as well, just out of curiosty does it work with Solaris?

  11. r

    …can I use a similar method to shut down my mother-in-law whenever she wants to visit?

  12. Mick

    Can you configure this on XP?

  13. Chris Hoffman

    @John M. Keller

    The Linux approach uses Samba, so I believe that it should work on Solaris if you have the appropriate Samba packages installed

    @Mick

    This should work similarly on XP, yup.

  14. Tariq

    Try a free version of logmein,

  15. andria

    Thanks for giving the more information about the How to Remotely Shut Down or Restart Windows PCs

  16. Paul

    LogMeIn doesn’t work from every PC, so it’s limited in its usefulness. It assumes that you have web access available with no firewall issues, which isn’t always the case.

  17. Chris

    It didn’t seem to work for me on Linux. I’m wondering if I did something wrong.

    I’m running Windows 7 (the machine to shutdown) and Linux 2.6.27.25-78.2.56.fc9.i686. I entered the following from Linux:

    rolf:root [580] $ net rpc shutdown -I 192.168.2.102 -U carlson%password
    Could not connect to server 192.168.2.102
    Connection failed: NT_STATUS_INVALID_PARAMETER
    Could not connect to server 192.168.2.102
    Connection failed: NT_STATUS_INVALID_PARAMETER

    Note that when I do ping, it finds the machine:

    rolf:root [579] $ ping beaker
    PING beaker (192.168.2.102) 56(84) bytes of data.
    64 bytes from beaker (192.168.2.102): icmp_seq=1 ttl=128 time=0.395 ms
    64 bytes from beaker (192.168.2.102): icmp_seq=2 ttl=128 time=0.252 ms
    64 bytes from beaker (192.168.2.102): icmp_seq=3 ttl=128 time=0.226 ms
    ^C
    — beaker ping statistics —
    3 packets transmitted, 3 received, 0% packet loss, time 2281ms
    rtt min/avg/max/mdev = 0.226/0.291/0.395/0.074 ms

    Any ideas?

    Thanks.

  18. Michael

    can you remotely put it to sleep instead of shut down? I use Windows Remote Desktop Connection for Mac (it comes with Office 2011) to remote into a windows machine on my network. It will not let me put the device to sleep, only disconnect my session.

  19. Malcolm

    I have windows XP and Remote Registry doesn’t appear in the list when I start services.msc. Does it only work on Win7?

  20. Paul

    ControlByMail (see my post above) lets you remotely put it to sleep/standby.

  21. Chris Hoffman

    @Chris

    That’s a Samba error message, so there’s some sort of issue with Samba — I Googled around to see what the common thread with the error message is, but I couldn’t find much information.

    Does anyone else have an idea?

  22. Scott Macdonald

    in the shutdown /i gui, I can click add and manually type the name of the pc I want to shutdown, but if i click browse, i get the error message ‘the active directory domain services is currently unavailable’ is this normal in win 7 or is there a way of making this service available?

  23. Chris Hoffman

    @Scott Macdonald

    It seems like it only works with Active Directory, which is used on corporate networks and such.

  24. Andry

    Hi, you can use a special programs for remote shutdown and wake on lan, suck as Remote Computer Manager form http://www.mylanviewer.com/remote-computer.html or other.

  25. Systems Governance

    hello Friends,

    I was searching the Internet and found your awesome blog. I really like what you have been going here. Lots of information on a lot of subjects that I find interesting. I would like to tweet your blog and will be back again soon.

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