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When was the last time you actually shut down your computer before bed? I’ve had to ask myself the same thing, and I can’t remember. When you’re trying to save power and potentially preserve the lifespan of your system, it’s something that you’ve got to consider.
One of the biggest things that prevent you and me from doing this is probably the fact that our desktop or laptop is its own machine. We have it set to perform certain actions when idle, or we’ll go to bed after starting a heap of torrent downloads. But, after your your PC has finished its job, it’s left to sit there and do nothing. It doesn’t have to be that way, and I’d like to introduce you to two applications that can change that.
Shutter takes our predicament and offers the simplest solution to it: condition-based events that you can use to send certain actions to the Windows system while you’re away.
Shutter allows you to set up timed or scheduled events to shut down, reboot, log off, lock, sleep, hibernate, and more.
Shutter offers extreme flexibility that allows you to send operations when Winamp stops playing, a process or ping stops, a file reaches a certain size, a window closes, and more. Some are so specific and obscure that I can’t imagine finding such control in an alternative software.
In the screenshot above, it took me a matter of about 10 seconds to set up a rule to automatically hibernate my laptop when the battery reaches 10%. Clicking Start will immediately put the rule into effect.
The program’s options are also very extensive, and allow you to set up things that should occur when the action takes place. For example, you can trigger a message to come up on screen, force a program to run, or play a sound.
I think the coolest feature is being able to set up web access to remotely control and monitor Shutter, similar to how uTorrent offers a web UI. For such a small program, Shutter is packed with functionality and features. Shutter was tested and works with versions of Windows from 98 forward.
DShutdown takes most of the features from Shutter and offers them under a different interface.
Key differences between the two include DShutdown’s timer. You can set an exact time and date for an action, should you want to lock or shut down your PC at a much later time. Another cool feature is the pixel color monitor, which can serve a ton of purposes. If a particular pixel changes color, you can trigger an action.
DShutdown does suffer from a few gaffes. It’s been reported that DShutdown doesn’t work so well with 64-bit versions of Windows. DShutdown’s version of remote network access is also a little buggy. Allowing you to send commands to other PCs on the network is a great idea, but the application makes a lot of assumptions (such as certain ports already being open).
Overall, I’d settle for calling DShutdown the next best thing to Shutter (if you don’t like it for whatever reason). DShutdown works with versions of Windows from 98 to 7, but only on 32-bit systems.
These two applications are completely portable and give you an overwhelming amount of control over how to manage your PC while you’re away from it. Which gets the job done better for you? Let me know in the comments!