Shutting down is one of your computer’s basic functions, but you can use third-party tools to have even greater control over it. Simply clicking the shutdown button will be a thing of the past.
We’re going to show you tools to help you block, automate, log, and speed up the shutdown process. All of the programs offered below are free and lightweight, meaning they won’t overload your system’s resources.
If you have another shutdown program to share, let us know in the comments.
1. Block Shutdowns
It’s always frustrating when your computer shuts down when you don’t want it to, especially when it causes annoyances like lost work or halted downloads. Even Windows 10 has got in on the act, forcing your computer to restart to install updates when you haven’t asked it to.
You can resolve all of this with a lightweight utility called shutdownBlocker. Download it and unzip the folder — there’s no installation wizard, so this folder will store the program permanently. Right-click the program and select Run as administrator. This will allow you to use all the features.
The program has an intuitive interface. Simply click Block to begin blocking shutdowns triggered by a user. If you want to stop those caused by programs calling shutdown.exe or by Windows itself, tick When blocking, also intercept shutdown.exe/MusNotification.exe.
You need to keep the program running for it to work, so click Hide to minimize to the Taskbar. For greater control, click Settings/About. Here you can choose to run on startup, without the tray icon, allow critical error messages to pop up, and add a shortcut to the Start Menu. Just tick whichever setting you want and click OK.
2. Automatic Shutdown
You can use the Windows Task Scheduler to automate shutdown, but it doesn’t have all the features that a dedicated third-party tool can offer. You can use it to schedule an automatic shut down when a particular program ends, if the system is idle, or even if CPU usage gets too high or low.
There’s different tools out there to do the job, but DShutdown is a good choice. Excuse the archaic website, since it’s been around a while — the program is still decent. Download it and unzip the folder, then launch DShutdown inside. All of the program’s options appear in a single window, so don’t be put off by the busy interface.
On the Shutdown Target section, you can choose which systems you want to control. Shutdown Type designates the action that’s performed. This can be shutdown, but also other things like reboot or hibernate. You can combine this with other options, like forcing the shutdown if the system is hung or taking a screenshot just before shutdown.
The Timer section offers what you’d expect, the ability to shut down at a specific time or after a particular interval has passed. Finally, there are more specific options available in the main pane. Here you can allow remote shutdown, enable a shutdown if your internet drops out, and even shut down if a pixel on your screen changes to a particular color.
3. Shutdown Logger
If you want to see a record of when your system has been shut down then you can use the Windows Event Viewer. However, it’s not immediately obvious how to use this. For a simple tool that will list startup and shutdown times, and the shutdown reason and type, check out TurnedOnTimesView.
Download it, unzip the folder and launch the EXE. The program will show you records from the past, not just from the point that you first loaded it. Each action is on its own row, which you can double click to view in a single window, and you can click the column headers to sort.
For ease of use, I find it best to go to View > Mark Odd/Even Rows so you can clearly distinguish the rows at a glance. Also, press Shift + Plus to automatically size the columns so you can see all of the information contained within.
For further tweaking, press F9 to launch the Advanced Options. Here you can choose your Data Source, for example, if you want to track a networked computer. Also, you may wish to untick Consider the sleep/resume events as turn off/on if you don’t need to know when your computer is sleeping.
4. System Tray Shutdown
There’s a myriad of ways to shut down your computer, but a utility called NPowerTray offers a new one. This handy tool adds an icon to your Taskbar tray that can be double-clicked to shut down the system. It’s that simple and it’s one of the quickest methods available.
To get going, head to the official site to download it. Unzip the folder, launch, and the icon will go into your tray. To keep it there permanently, right-click your Taskbar and go to Taskbar settings > Select which icons appear on the taskbar. Once here, slide NPowerTray to On.
You can right-click the tray icon to select other options, like Reboot or Sleep. It also includes the ability to automatically shutdown after a certain amount of time has elapsed. Just hover Shutdown after and select your required duration.
Finally, you probably want NPowerTray to automatically launch when you turn on your computer. If so, right-click the icon again and click About. Here you can tick Start with Windows Desktop. Also, you’ll see that you can also change the Default action, which is what happens when you double click the icon.
With these tools, you’ll become an expert at shutting down your computer. Who knew that could be a thing! No longer will you have to worry about other people shutting down your computer, being near the system to turn it off, and more.
If you want even more shutdown advice, check out our article on things that Windows can clear automatically on shutdown.
Will you be using any of the tools mentioned here? Do you have one to recommend that we’ve missed?