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Leaving your computer on to download files can be a smart move, but what happens when the download completes? Your computer will stay powered on, doing nothing but wasting electricity and costing you some money. If you want to leave your computer on to download files, you can have it automatically shut down after the download process completes.
You can also use these tricks to hibernate or suspend your computer instead of performing a full shut down. You’ll still get the power-saving benefits, but you’ll be able to resume your session without losing any data. You can even wake your computer at a time you specify.
SmartPower is an application for automatically turning your computer off and waking it up. You can use SmartPower to set a schedule that controls when your computer will turn off and on. SmartPower can also automatically power your computer off when its CPU isn’t being used, allowing you to have your computer power off when it’s done doing other long-running, intensive tasks.
To have SmartPower automatically power your computer off when a download process is finished, use the Schedules tab to set a Power Off rule. For example, if you usually go to bed around midnight, you can set a rule that will automatically power your computer off at midnight. (You can also optionally have your computer turn back on at a specific time, so it’ll be ready and waiting for you in the morning.)
Next, click over to the Networks tab and enable the Stay on checkbox. Select your network interfaces and specify a traffic threshold. At the scheduled time – midnight, for example – SmartPower will try to automatically shut down your computer. If there’s network traffic, SmartPower will wait until the network traffic drops below your configured threshold (in other words, it will wait until the download is finished) and shut down your computer.
Note that this traffic threshold also takes into account uploads, so take that into account. In other words, if you’re using BitTorrent and your BitTorrent client continues uploading after all downloads are complete, SmartPower will consider the interface active as long as the upload continues.
You can get around this by setting an upload speed limit in your downloading program and setting the threshold in SmartPower above the upload limit, ensuring that uploads alone won’t keep your computer on.
AMP WinOFF is another app you can use to automatically power your computer off when certain conditions occur. It’s more flexible than SmartPower for scheduling shut downs based on network activity. You can have it pay attention only to input (download activity) rather than output (upload activity). Enable the Network transfer trigger in AMP WinOFF, select Input transfer, enter a speed, and select your network adapter.
Once you’re done setting it up, click the Activate button to activate an automatic shut down based on your triggers and settings.
AMP WinOFF works well if you’re stepping away from your computer and want to have it shut down when a download is complete, while SmartPower works well if you want to set up an automatic schedule that shuts your computer down at specific times – except when it’s downloading.
Integrated Shut Down Features & Commands
Many file-downloading programs contain integrated support for automatically shutting down your computer when they’re finished downloading files. They may also contain a “run a program when a download completes” feature, which you can use to run a program that shuts down your computer. The following examples are for uTorrent, but other download applications will often have similar features.
For example, if you’re downloading files with uTorrent, you can click the Options menu, point to Auto Shutdown, and select one of the options to hibernate, suspend (standby), or shut down your computer when your downloads complete.
Let’s say you instead wanted to shut down your computer when a single download completes – perhaps you’re downloading multiple files and only one is important. Or perhaps you’re using an application that doesn’t have an automatic computer shut down feature, but does have a “run a program when download completes” feature.
In uTorrent, right-click a downloading torrent file and select Properties.
Whatever program you’re using, enter the following command into the “run a program” box:
When the download completes, your file-downloading program will run the shutdown.exe command and power off your computer. (If you want to hibernate your computer instead of shutting it down, use the shutdown.exe /h command instead.)
How do you automatically shut down your computer after downloads are complete? Do you prefer another application we didn’t mention here? Or do you leave your computer running overnight instead? Leave a comment and let us know!