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rulesHead I have been using Outlook as my email client for many many moons now. It is not just because I am required to for my job – I really like it and I have got it to the point where it is a help to my work and not a hindrance.

Today I am going to show how I use Outlook rules to restart my computer remotely or to shut down my system if need be.

In all actuality I have created many rules over the years and would like to show them to you – who knows maybe they will be as helpful to you as they are to me.


First let’s look at creating a rule in Outlook:

how to restart my computer remotely

Here you can see the rules window. You can get there by hitting Tools – Rules and Alerts.

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how to shut down my computer remotely

If you already have any rules created they will be here. A rule is simply a law on your computer that states when a message arrives with a specific subject, comes from a specific account or any of the other rules, a specific action will be taken. People use these to setup auto-forwards or automated responses. I use these to take actions on my computer.

My first rule shuts down my system and the second one restarts the system. After you start creating the rule hit the Start from a blank rule radio box. This gives us the most flexibility.

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Next select Check messages when they arrive. This will scan only incoming messages for your rules. Obviously if you want to be slick you can have things happen when other people send messages on your machine. You can really achieve automation with these rules!

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To be on the safe side – ie: not have someone else send me a keyword and have my Outlook jump through hoops for them as well – we want to make sure that the rules are only processed if they come from my account that I have specified for this.

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Next up I hit the specific keywords link and I specify my keyword(s). In this case I used the key word – SecretKeyWord. This is case sensitive and the email’s subject would have to have SecretKeyWord in the subject just like that. Then that will trigger our Action which you will see shortly.

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Our action is going to run a batch file so we choose start an application. You will need to create a batch file for each action. For example to shutdown the computer your batch file (a text file saved with the .bat extension) would have this line and only this line in it:

shutdown ““s ““t 00

and to create the same rule that restarts the computer just use this command:

shutdown ““r ““t 00

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When an email arrives with SecretKeyWord in the subject the batch file will be launched and the machine will be restarted – blamo just like that!

You can create any batch file or even start an application on your machine with parameters. The possibilities are endless! Let us know how you use rules in the comments!

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