Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums


Automatic shutdown on idle

  1. #1


    Posts : 9
    Windows 8 Pro

    Automatic shutdown on idle


    Can anyone direct me to a Windows 8.1 tutorial for using Task Scheduler to configure an Automatic Shutdown after a user defined amount of idle time. I can't seem to find one...or is it not possible...or is there another way to skin this cat.

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #2


    Sloe Deth, Californicatia
    Posts : 3,908
    Windows 8 Pro with Media Center/Windows 7


    You can do this through Advanced Power Options in the Control Panel, pull up your power plan and then go into advanced settings. But it would be a Hibernate function, not a full shut down.

    We'll have to find you a script that will do this, that you can add to Task Scheduler, I'll see if I can find one.

    OK< I found this:

    Set Up Your PC to Shut Down Automatically at Night When Idle

    See if that might to the trick.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #3


    Posts : 9
    Windows 8 Pro


    Thanks, X. I'll give it a whirl.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #4


    Posts : 446
    Win 8 64-bit


    You could try something like this:

    Open Task Scheduler and go to 'Create Task' on the right hand side. Then enter the details similar to the following screen shots. Using these settings will mean that after being idle for 40 minutes it will start the shutdown procedure and display a message on the screen for 5 minutes telling you that it's going to shutdown in 5 minutes. So in total it will shutdown after 45 minutes.

    However, be aware that any open programs will obviously close and any unsaved documents will also be forced to close, therefore you WILL LOSE any unsaved work (and I would guess that's the reason Microsoft don't have it as an option). The much safer option would be to set the power options to put the computer to sleep, however making it shutdown instead would for example be used if you have an encrypted system drive and so want it to shutdown instead of sleep for security reasons.

    Obviously, you'll also need to go to power options and change the power plan settings so it doesn't go to sleep beforehand.


    Click image for larger version


    Click image for larger version


    The 'actions' screen is cut off in the next screenshots, so it's as follows:

    Program/script:
    %windir%\system32\shutdown.exe

    Add Arguments:
    -s -f -t 300 -c "This computer will automatically shut down in 5 minutes"


    Click image for larger version


    Click image for larger version


    Click image for larger version


    Click image for larger version
    Last edited by ARC1020; 06 Oct 2013 at 18:52. Reason: Forgot to add the -f argument for force shutdown. Updated now. Without the -f argument, it could prompt whether to shutdown or cancel shutdown if programs are open, therefore preventing auto shutdown
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5. #5


    Sloe Deth, Californicatia
    Posts : 3,908
    Windows 8 Pro with Media Center/Windows 7


    That looks good, thanx for that solution!
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  6. #6


    Posts : 9
    Windows 8 Pro


    Thanks, ARC. That's pretty close to what I ended up with. I should know for sure how well it works after a couple of days. I'll report back then.

    Thanks again.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  7. #7


    Posts : 9
    Windows 8 Pro


    Well, It's works like a charm and shuts down the computer whenever I'm away for a specified time which is what I wanted.

    I'm reasonably disciplined about saving my work if I know I'm going to be away from the computer for any length of time, so the only significant changes to the task scheduler are:

    General tab: Ticked Run whether or not the user is logged on and checked Run with the highest privileges

    Actions tab: Program/Script: shutdown, Argument: /p

    Conditions tab: Start the task only if the computer is idle for 30 minutes, Wait for idle for 1 hour and Stop if the computer ceases to be idle.

    Somebody should add a more comprehensive tutorial for this with caveats.


    Thanks again!
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  8. #8


    Posts : 2
    Windows 10, 8, 7, XP


    Quote Originally Posted by ARC1020 View Post
    You could try something like this:

    Open Task Scheduler and go to 'Create Task' on the right hand side. Then enter the details similar to the following screen shots. Using these settings will mean that after being idle for 40 minutes it will start the shutdown procedure and display a message on the screen for 5 minutes telling you that it's going to shutdown in 5 minutes. So in total it will shutdown after 45 minutes.

    However, be aware that any open programs will obviously close and any unsaved documents will also be forced to close, therefore you WILL LOSE any unsaved work (and I would guess that's the reason Microsoft don't have it as an option). The much safer option would be to set the power options to put the computer to sleep, however making it shutdown instead would for example be used if you have an encrypted system drive and so want it to shutdown instead of sleep for security reasons.

    Obviously, you'll also need to go to power options and change the power plan settings so it doesn't go to sleep beforehand.


    Click image for larger version


    Click image for larger version


    The 'actions' screen is cut off in the next screenshots, so it's as follows:

    Program/script:
    %windir%\system32\shutdown.exe

    Add Arguments:
    -s -f -t 300 -c "This computer will automatically shut down in 5 minutes"


    Click image for larger version


    Click image for larger version


    Click image for larger version


    Click image for larger version
    what is the purpose of "Wait for idle"?
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  9. #9


    Posts : 2
    Windows 10, 8, 7, XP


    Quote Originally Posted by IML8 View Post
    Well, It's works like a charm and shuts down the computer whenever I'm away for a specified time which is what I wanted.

    I'm reasonably disciplined about saving my work if I know I'm going to be away from the computer for any length of time, so the only significant changes to the task scheduler are:

    General tab: Ticked Run whether or not the user is logged on and checked Run with the highest privileges

    Actions tab: Program/Script: shutdown, Argument: /p

    Conditions tab: Start the task only if the computer is idle for 30 minutes, Wait for idle for 1 hour and Stop if the computer ceases to be idle.

    Somebody should add a more comprehensive tutorial for this with caveats.


    Thanks again!
    What does "Wait for idle" do
    or how it works?

    I don't
    understand...
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

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