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
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