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Dublin: 8 °C Sunday 20 October, 2019

This is how you can tell your computer to switch off automatically

Why do it manually when you can just time it automatically?

It's a little bit more complicated than just pressing backspace, but not *too* complicated.
It's a little bit more complicated than just pressing backspace, but not *too* complicated.
Image: Dominic Lipinski/Press Association Images

WE USE OUR laptops and PCs more than ever now, especially when we have a bit of free time.

If you use it constantly, there’s a chance you might just leave it running overnight, in sleep mode, instead of turning it off entirely.

It’s normally better for your computer (and maybe your electricity bill) to not do that but if you keep forgetting to switch it off, you can set it up so it does it automatically.

This works better if you absolutely know you’re not going to be near your PC for a certain period like when you usually sleep. If you’re the kind of person who forgets to turn it off, it can be a godsend.


The process for Windows is a bit longer than usual, but it’s manageable. What you need to do is first go into Control Panel > Administrative Tools > Task Scheduler.

Here type in your task name and tick Run with Highest Privileges at the bottom. This is vital if you want to turn your PC on or off. You can also select Run whether user is logged in or not to ensure it happens for all users.

Create Task

Now go into the Triggers thumbnail and click on new. In this case, we want to begin the task on a schedule so leave it as it is. Set in your selected time, select an expire timer if you need to and press OK.

Schedule Tasks Triggers

Now go into Actions and type in shutdown.exe into Program/script. In Add arguments (optional) type in ‘/s /f’ with space separating them (s stands for shutdown while f stands for force running applications to close).

Schedule Tasks New Action

Finally, and this is optional, go into Conditions if you want to set specific criteria for this task to activate. For example, you can trigger an action if your computer is idle for a certain amount of time on top of the scheduled time, you can do that as well.

If you schedule your PC to shut down at 10pm, but say it can only do that if it’s idle for 20 minutes, it won’t shut down if you’re still working on it come 10pm.

Scheduled Tasks Conditions


Doing the same thing on a Mac is a little more straightforward. Go to the Apple menu, click on System Preferences and look for Energy Saver. Here you will see the schedule option at the bottom where you tell your Mac when to turn on or sleep, restart or shut down.

Put in how often you want it to happen and the time for it to shut down and save your settings

Screen Shot 2015-12-08 at 9.01.40 p.m.

This piece is part of 12 days of tech, a series offering quick tips and tech advice for you during the Christmas holidays. You can find more entries here.

Read: If you’re changing phones, take time to disconnect your old device from your account  >

Read: This is how you can strengthen your accounts’ passwords >

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About the author:

Quinton O'Reilly

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