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How to Stop Windows from Shutting Down or Rebooting

If you’ve ever accidentally triggered a system shutdown and then suddenly changed your mind, here’s the simple trick to tell Windows to abort the shutdown and let you get back to goofing off.

Note: This isn’t a new trick to most serious geeks, but it’s something useful that quite a few people don’t know.

The Scenario

So there you are, minding your own business and wasting time on Facebook, when Windows pops up a message telling you that you need to reboot right now… and you accidentally choose Restart now.

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While you’re learning new stuff, you should check out our article on how to Prevent Windows Update from Forcibly Rebooting Your Computer, to make sure that Windows doesn’t automatically restart on you while you’re away from your keyboard.

Aborting the System Shutdown

To prevent Windows from shutting down on you, just type in shutdown /a into the Start menu search box, and then use the Ctrl+Shift+Enter shortcut key combination to run the command as administrator—of course, if you’ve already disabled UAC you can just hit the Enter key.

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If you already have an Administrator mode command prompt window open, you can just type it into there instead, if Windows hasn’t closed it already.

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There you go. You’ve learned something new—or maybe you already knew it already, in which case I’m not sure why you are reading this line.

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 08/24/10

Comments (9)

  1. ShAshtii

    can someone make a batch fileof this command an a hot key script

  2. Greg Edwards

    How long does it take for your system to shut down that you have time to type all that?

  3. Msidiiq

    Batch file is not that hard. Just open Notepad and type the command, then save it using .bat extension.

  4. Daniel

    I tried this method you describe. When I enter the command: shutdown /a from an Administrator command prompt, I get the response: Unable to abort the system shutdown because no shutdown was in progress. So apparently this command will work when executed in the five seconds shutdown is in progress, otherwise it’s useless. By the way, when I tried this command, I did in fact have a Windows Update alert in my task tray reminding me that my computer will reboot in 10 minutes in order to complete an update I recently installed.
    HowToGeek has another article that tells how to actually do what this article is trying to tell us to do:
    http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/windows-vista/prevent-windows-update-from-forcibly-rebooting-your-computer/

  5. Nike

    @ShAshtii

    Can’t you just create a new .bat file and type?

    shutdown /a

    Why do you need a hot key script for this?

  6. NR

    I think its meant for Pentium 1 computers as my computer takes less than a second to start shutting down(the desktop disappears immediately).

  7. Karl k

    Those that are still smart enough to be using Windows XP, can type THIS info:

    net stop wuauserv

    into the Start>>Run>>Open box and the auto-reboot will be ended until the next time you reboot your computer.

  8. takdog

    Thankyou so much Karl k ………………and yeah it works

  9. charles849

    obviously you never seen me type

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