3 Easy Ways To Restart Your Computer Over The Internet

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remotereboot I am very obsessed with technology, and I like to push the limits of whatever technology currently exists. Personally, I think it’s very cool that there are lots of remote access tools out there, like the 7 free ones listed in Aibek’s article on Screen-Sharing and Remote Access applications or the remote mobile VNC app I wrote about recently that lets you access your computer with your mobile phone.

However, there are circumstances when connecting to a PC isn’t easy or even possible, yet you still need the ability to reboot your web server or file-sharing server at home because an application is locked up or the server isn’t responding. These days, doing a remote computer restart is fast and easy – and it’s now even possible to do so from any web browser or by using the popular micro-blogging tool known as Twitter.

1. How To Perform a Basic Remote Computer Restart – Shutdown.exe

For those of you who don’t already know how to remotely reboot a computer, the simplest approach if you’re sitting on the same network as the target PC is to make use of the Windows shutdown.exe tool. The Microsoft support page makes the command a bit more complicated than it really needs to be, because there are a number of “switches” available so that you can tailor the shutdown command.

Essentially, from a command prompt or an application, you can issue the shutdown command using the syntax: shutdown -r -f -m \remotecomputerIP -t 00

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  • -m \remotecomputerIP – substitute remotecomputerIP with either the network name or IP address of the computer
  • -r forces a restart
  • -f forces all running applications to close
  • -t 00 tells the command to restart without any time delay (zero seconds)

Depending on your reason for remotely restarting, you’ll want to use these commands carefully. For example, if you just want to set up an application that does a regular reboot every two or three days, you may want to consider allowing a user who’s currently on the computer to cancel the reboot, or at least allow them the option to save whatever they’re currently working on. 

However, for the purpose of this article, all we really want to do is remotely force a reboot if you’re away from home and you’re in a situation where your web server isn’t responding. To do this, the command above will work. The one drawback with the “shutdown.exe” approach is that you need to be sure you are connected to your remote computer as a user that has administrator privileges. When you prefer to keep tight security on your PC or server, this isn’t always easy to accomplish.

2. Remotely Reboot Your Computer Through a Web Browser with Shutter

One of the easiest ways to get around this security quagmire is by installing a free application created by Denis Kozlov called Shutter. The cool thing about Shutter is that once you’ve got it set up on your target PC, you can perform various functions on your computer through any web browser on the Internet. First, install Shutter to your target PC or server and the initial screen that comes up will look like this.

setup1a

First of all, don’t worry about the settings on this screen because these are for when you use the application locally. However, your interest is in using the application as a sort of “web server” that gives you access to your PC from any browser. To set it up, click on the Options button and choose the “Web Interface” tab.

setup1

On this screen, select “Enable,” choose a “Listen IP” from the list and enter whatever port you’d like to use. Most folks just use port 80 since it’s default, however if you want added security you can use some obscure port. Finally, choose your Username and Password (required), click save and the application is set up – it’s as easy as that! The only last step is to make sure that if you’re using a router, you open up a “hole” so that you can connect to your Shutter server through the router. 

To do this, just go to your router administration control panel (usually 192.168.0.1 or 192.168.1.1, depending on your router’s brand) and configure port forwarding as shown here.

setup2

Just make sure the IP and port you defined in Shutter is defined here and that it’s enabled. Once you save, setup is complete. Now you can go to any web browser and send not only a “restart” command to your computer, but also a whole list of other commands.

To access the Shutter service, you can just type in the IP on your local network. In my case, I’d open a browser and type “192.168.1.103:1087″ to access the web interface. From an external Internet location, like a library or from work, I simply type in my external IP assigned by the ISP followed by the port, such as “65.xxx.xxx.122:1087″ and the web interface will come up after you log in with the ID and password you defined.

Editor’s note: If you don’t know what your external IP is, just visit whatismyip.com

shutterweb

As you can see, the Shutter web interface lets you perform a whole list of tasks on your remote computer, including muting the volume, turning off the monitor or running a specific program. The great thing about this approach is that all of these commands are issued from the application running on your target computer, so you don’t need to perform any special security configurations to remotely trigger these commands.

3. Remotely Reboot Your Computer Through Twitter With TweetMyPC

Easily one of the coolest applications I’ve seen in a very long time, TweetMyPC is an application you can install on your target PC, just like Shutter. The difference is that in this case, the application “listens” intently to all of the “tweet” messages that you send out from your Twitter account. Whenever you issue a command such as Shutdown, Restart, or Logoff – the computer does exactly as it’s told.

Just install the application, go into settings and enter your Twitter credentials.

tweet

Click “Save and Close,” and you’re done! No complicated security configuration, no tweaking your router’s internet settings – just install the app, insert your Twitter credentials and you’re golden. Finally, go into your Twitter account and just issue your command.

shutdown1

The convenience of this restart technique are the awesome possibilities. Just imagine, now you can pull out your cellphone and text a Twitter “Restart” update to reboot your computer. Any place where you can access your Twitter account, you can issue one of these three commands to your remote computer. The good news is that the author of this application is in the process of developing a Mac version.

Do you know of any other cool ways to remotely reboot your PC? Share your own tips in the comments section below.

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22 Comments - Write a Comment

Reply

Rejesh

really amazing software now only i heard this kind of software tool,, thank you for sharing this awesome software..
pls keep update with new software collection.

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matt

This is not a flame or troll or flame bait.
It would be a SERIOUS security flaw to enable port forwarding for VNC on any system. It is not secure and can be cracked by a simple brute forced attack. That would leave your whole system vulnerable for takeover. Even VNC advises against it. I would also dissuade you from opening and forwarding the remote desktop/remote assistance ports.
It is better to connect via ssh ( non standard port) and tunnel 5900.(5901 etc) or any port you want and only leave ssh open. The only port that should be forwarded by the router is a secure port only.
SSH is not the ONLY solution, but a damn good one. This can also be accomplished by a VPN as well, but they tend to cost a fair amount and are not trivial to set up.

For a simple ssh server that can be run on windows, rather than go through the cluster of setting up cygwin, use the Xlivecd that the university of Indiana has conveniently created and made available. It is an Xserver with SSH that need only be run as a cd IN windows. Since it is not writable is it less vulnerable. Your mileage may vary.
Good luck. stay secure.
xlivecd.indiana.edu/
(even though the cd is from ’04, its still far more secure than just forwarding unsecure ports.)

Ryan Dube

Thanks for the advice Matt – and your advice is certainly useful. I think for many of the end-users who aren’t quite as technically savvy to be able to set up SSH as you’ve described, the port forwarding with an ID/Password setup is a useful option. Certainly not the most secure – but some people are willing to trade security for ease-of-use.

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Ty

I use logmein to remote control my PC remotely. You can do anything pretty much, even shutdown/restart the machine.

Reply

P

You can just use Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP). Port forward 3389 from your firewall to your PC and enable the remote desktop checkbox and ta-da! Now you can remote control your PC on top of simply rebooting and shutting down.

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Jeroen R

Why would you want to restart your computer over the Internet? Rebooting is for adding new hardware and you can’t add new hardware over the Internet, so why would you want to reboot it? And why use all kinds of crappy tools if you can use SSH?
Ohhh wait, you’re still using Windows…

Ryan Dube

Read a few of the user comments and you’ll see other reasons why people need to remotely reboot. You just need to think a bit outside the box. I know you’re a Linux type, so you’re used to having fewer available choices, but still… :)

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Peter

What Jeroen R said. On top of that it is very unlikely
Now what is useful: remotely wake up a computer that is hibernating or in sleep mode.
That is something I would find useful. After the thing wakes up I can use RDP or Web based stuff to control it and obtain something useful.

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Neil Ackerman

Sounds like a very useful and easy method to hack into someone else’s computer

Reply

Brody

An inexpensive hardware solution with a password protected web interface:

digital-loggers.com/lpc.html

HTTP only, so you’ll want to put a reverse proxy in front to add support for HTTPS.

Reply

Mark O’Neill

You can also shut down your computer by sending a shutdown command email to a secret Gmail account (secret as in only known to you). I wrote about it on another blog.

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Sankar

Hey Ryan,

It’s amazing. Using twitter also we can shutdown and restart our pc. It’s pretty cool. I have to do research on it. Hope this works well for me. If any problem occurs, I will contact you.

Thanks
Sankar

Ryan Dube

Thanks Sankar – the Twitter reboot really does work well, I was pretty impressed when I tested it. Let me know how it goes!

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Shoban

Thank you for the post ;-)

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Jorge

One really interesting is how to restart a remote freeze computer, I work with a computer in another country with hamachi and sometimes I have to call a person near the location just to reset the computer.

Scotty

Jorge, I once (back in 1993) bought a power strip with a telephone interface for this purpose. It had it’s own POTS line and I could call it, enter a touchtone code, and it would power the switch off / wait 20 seconds / power it back on. Just like hitting the power switch. Im sure you could do a google search and find one still. It solved my late night search for someone to go in and do it manually….

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wpkeeper

I use logmein to remote control my PC remotely

Burkh

wpkeeper,

I too use logmein. works great but i travel sometimes and if machine locks up (blue screen of death) i need to be able to reboot. once machine is BSOD, i don’t think anything can be done except have someone on location reboot, right? I see message from scotty above, not sure if it will work – i know i could power down, but will re-applying power cause it to restart? I’ll have to see…

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Thaw Zin Htun

May I know TweetMyPC user name and password,please. What can I type?

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remote desktop software

I didn’t know about any of these options, but twitter?! I kind of used to make fun of it for not being useful… I guess I can’t anymore. I’m deeply impressed.

Reply

ijaz

i can’t understand this point.
if i have non router then it will work or not.
The only last step is to make sure that if you’re using a router, you open up a “hole” so that you can connect to your Shutter server through the router.

To do this, just go to your router administration control panel (usually 192.168.0.1 or 192.168.1.1, depending on your router’s brand) and configure port forwarding as shown here

Reply

DV

Software solutions are great so long as your PC is fully operational. Hardware solutions offer a sure way to reboot a device. See http://www.RemotePowerSwitch.com for some inexpensive options.

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