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
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