Windows Command line Shutdown & Restart

The ability to restart a computer either local or remote from the command line is useful in a variety of circumstances.

  • When remote desktop into an XP machine only log off and disconnect are the options
  • When a remote computer is unresponsive your can sometimes force a reboot.
  • Using scheduled tasks and a one line batch file you can reboot in the middle of the night.  This is especially useful on servers to minimize downtime.


Usage: shutdown [-i | -l | -s | -r | -a] [-f] [-m \\computername] [-t xx] [-c “comment”] [-d up:xx:yy]
No args                 Display this message (same as -?)
-i                      Display GUI interface, must be the first option
-l                      Log off (cannot be used with -m option)
-s                      Shutdown the computer
-r                      Shutdown and restart the computer
-a                      Abort a system shutdown
-m \\computername       Remote computer to shutdown/restart/abort
-t xx                   Set timeout for shutdown to xx seconds
-c “comment”            Shutdown comment (maximum of 127 characters)
-f                      Forces running applications to close without warning
-d [u][p]:xx:yy         The reason code for the shutdown
u is the user code
p is a planned shutdown code
xx is the major reason code (positive integer less than 256)
yy is the minor reason code (positive integer less than 65536)


Shutdown -r -t 0
Restart the current computer now (that is zero and in no seconds delay for time).  Place this command into a batch file and put it in a scripts folder on servers.  Then create a scheduled “one-time” task that can be configured as needed to reboot at a desired time.

Shutdown -r -m \\computername -t 10 -f
Restart a remote computer called computername in 10 seconds.  This displays are dialog warning and countdown.  Or you could just go with the zero.   The -f forces the restart because the reason you probably need this is the computer is not responding the remote desktop or other attempts at access.

Shutdown -i
Gives you a dialog box to select remote or local computer and configure all the options as needed.  This includes the ability to search for computers in AD by name.