How To Schedule Windows Shutdown with ‘Vista Shutdown Timer’

Some of the latest versions of Windows have a command ‘shutdown.exe‘,which can put your system on hold, log off, restart, and shutdown. But probably you would want this to happen only at some particular time and to make this happen automatically use Scheduled Tasks tool.

1> Go to Control Panel > Scheduled Tasks.
2> Double-click Add Scheduled Task to launch the Scheduled Task Wizard.
3> Click Next and then click the Browse button.
4> Access the Windows\System32 folder, select Shutdown.exe, and click Open.
5> Follow the wizard through the next two screens to give the task a name and choose a schedule.
6> Enter your user account name and password and click Next.
7> Select Open Advanced Properties and click Finish.

In the task’s Properties dialog box, add the /r parameter to the end of the command line in the Run text box and click OK. (Be sure to include a space between the last character in the command name and the first character in the parameter list.)

Enter your user account name and password and click OK.

When the Shutdown utility runs, you’ll momentarily see a small dialog box on your screen before the system restarts.

The above process works fine, but there is an easier way to achieve this. Vista Shutdown Timer, is a simple application which allows users to achieve the same with ease. The auto shutdown process has a limitation. Scheduling cannot be done for more than an hour. With Vista Shutdown Timer this limitation can be used to overcome.

Vista Shutdown Timer is a free application that allows the user to time the machine to shutdown at their time. This currently supports support Windows 2000, Windows XP and Windows Vista. Another interesting feature is that Vista Shutdown Timer does not mess around with the registry and doesn’t introduce any .INI files, it is just a single .exe file.

Vista Shutdown Timer
Vista Shutdown Timer

The program can be configured using command line parameters. This means that we can create a batch file to automate the tool to shutdown or restart at a scheduled time. Click the windows icon at the top right of the program to know about the command line parameters. If this confuses you, use the built-in Shortcut wizard which is simple to use and hassle free.

Vista Shutdown Timer Shortcut Wizard
Vista Shutdown Timer Shortcut Wizard

Vista Shutdown Timer at times is flagged as a suspicious file by some antivirus software such as Sophos, QuickHeal, ClamAV, and eSafe. This happens for a lot of other applications even though the applications are safe and do not pose any threat to the users system. Such an alarm is called ‘False Positive’, which meant the anitvirus software is just throwing a warning of possible threat, which in reality is an innocuous file/application. This kind of incorrect flagging may be because the virus signature in the vault or database of the antivirus software may be corrected or not updated.

Related reading: Shutdown, restart, logoff windows Vista / XP remotely from any computer

How to speed up shutdown time of Windows XP and Windows Vista

This article is targeted at Windows XP and Windows Vista users. The article doesn’t scope beyond.

When users on Windows XP or vista try to shut their computer, at times it takes more time than expected. I’ve heard vista users complaining that the system takes as long as 5 minutes or more to shut down. This issue can be fixed by a simple tweak to the registry. I have tried this on XP and the vista part was tested by a friend.

Note: This tweak involves editing/manipulating the registry, which is not advised if you a newbie or a computer noob. Take help of a professional in case you do not know how to handle registries. It is also advised that you take a back up of your registry before you man handle it. This will save your life if you do edit/change something which you were not supposed to :). You can read http://support.microsoft.com/kb/322756 for more help on how to take a registry backup.

Most importantly you need to be the admin or have admin rights in order execute this tweak as this involves tweaking your registry and not everyone will have rights to do so.

If you are a Windows XP user, then read this else skip to the Vista part:

– Click “Start” and Type ‘regedit‘ in the Run box and hit “Enter“.
– Navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER >> Control Panel >> Desktop
– On to your right you’ll see a key ‘WaitToKillAppTimeout‘, double click on the key and change the value to be somewhere between 3500 and 5500. (The values here are in milliseconds, which means lesser the value, quicker the system shuts down).
– Once the value is changed, save the value by clicking “OK“.

When you try to logoff or shutdown your system, there are possibilities that a few user initiated processes are running which may need to by killed before the system shuts down completely. The key WaitToKillAppTimeout internally determines how long the system needs to wait before attempting to kill those processes which are still on.

The key WaitToKillAppTimeout will round robin each process that is running  and calls the AutoEndTasks action on those processes. Most of the processes are killed by the system implicitly or the system user kills them explicitly. If not, that’s when AutoEndTasks key, as the name specifies takes the responsibility of killing such processes.

Now you may want to do a little more tweak so that the end task dialog doesn’t pop up everytime, which can get annoying at times. You still have the registry open right, if not follow the same steps mentioned above to open the registry editor.
In registry editor Navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER >> Control Panel >> Desktop

Navigate to find the AutoEndTasks key, which will be somewhere stuffed down in the right pane and double click to open and edit it. Normally, the default value here will be 0, just change it to 1. Click “OK” to save the value. This will ensure that the end task dialog doesn’t pop up every time your systems’ WaitToKillAppTimeout calls the AutoEndTasks.

Now a bit of help for the Vista users:

You should note that the key WaitToKillServiceTimeout replaces WaitToKillAppTimeout in Vista . The functionality is the same, just the name and the location is changed.

If your registry is not open yet, the keys are same as described above.

– Once the registry is open you have to navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control
– In the right side of the registry editor window search for WaitToKillServiceTimeout. Double click on the key to open and edit it. Rest is the same what you’d do for XP and is explained above.

Try this and let me know how it changed your shutdown speed.