How To Make Someone's Computer Shut Down Automatically

Shutdown a Windows PCImage: Lifehacker

If you really want to make somebody rage against their own machine, you can use this one simple command to make a PC shut down automatically after a given amount of time. You can it run straight from the Start Menu in Windows.

There's nothing more annoying than having your computer suddenly shutdown on you, especially when you're in the middle of something. If you really want to drive somebody mad, you can use a very basic command to force a Windows-based computer to shut down and you can set the delay before it will happen.

Here's what you'll need to do:

  1. Have access to the target's unlocked computer. If you're trying to do it on a family member, you can always ask to borrow their computer briefly. If it's a colleague, wait until they go on a short break when they're likely to leave their computer unlocked.
  2. On Windows 7 or later operating systems, you can run commands straight from the Start Menu. Just open it up and type in this command: shutdown -s -f -t [seconds]. You'll have to type in how many seconds you want the computer to wait before it shuts down. For example, if you want the PC to shut down in 30 minutes, the command would be shutdown -s -f -t 1800. Hit "Enter".
  3. A message will pop up immediately after you've typed in the command to tell you when the computer is due to shut down. Ideally, you'd set the delay between 10-11 minutes as once you dismiss the first message it won't appear again. Any other delay will result in a small warning message just before the shut down occurs; not that it really matters if they don't know how to cancel the shutdown.
  4. Now leave the computer and wait.

If you suddenly have a change of heart and want to abort the automatic shutdown, use the following command: shutdown -a.

Just make sure the person using the PC isn't doing anything important at the time that you've scheduled a shutdown. If you make somebody lose an important file because they couldn't save it in time, you'll carry that guilt for years.

This post is part of our Evil Week series at Lifehacker, where we look at the dark side of getting things done. Sometimes evil is justified, and other times, knowing evil means knowing how to beat it. Want more? Check out our evil week tag page.

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    And you do you know that you can run this remotely if you have administrator access to that person's computer and know the computer name.

    shutdown -s -f -t 1800 -m \\computername

    Have fun.

    If you have access to "someone elses" computer, it's not their computer anymore, it's now yours.

    what's it with all the negative articles lately? yesterday filter keys to 'break' someone's keyboard, today the shutdown command? tomorrow the fake bluescreen screensaver? or a desktop screenshot as background and then delete the icons?

      Hi atomar,

      It's Evil week:

      This post is part of our Evil Week series at Lifehacker, where we look at the dark side of getting things done. Sometimes evil is justified, and other times, knowing evil means knowing how to beat it. Want more? Check out our evil week tag page.

      Don't worry. It will be over by next week!



        Yeah and I think you've clearly overstepped your definition of "getting things done". Sometimes evil is just being a dick, preventing someone from getting their work done, and potentially putting their work and your job at risk through your own malicious actions. Shutting someone's computer down is a total dick move. Maybe tomorrow we'll introduce ransomware to someone's computer and collapse in uncontrollable fits of laughter at the malicious lols. This isn't a dialog box with a funny message, or some way of introducing less predictable keyboard behaviour (which is still interfering with someone's work), it's just being a malicious dick and making someone's work life frustrating and unhappy. For your own amusement.

        Take a long hard look at yourself.

        Maybe you should rename it to "Being a complete dick week", or "Workplace harassment week", or maybe just "Getting yourself fired week".

          Hi pinchie,

          Thank you for your comment.

          First off, just wanted to say that Evil Week has been running on Lifehacker for years now; it started way before I joined the team.

          Secondly, our aim for Evil Week isn't for readers to go out and cause destruction with reckless abandon. It's to highlight things you can do that a) aren't illegal b) are slightly amusing and b) that we usually don't get an opportunity to report on.

          I personally try to ensure that when I do write Evil Week posts that I do provide a warning about using these tips. I did mention in this article that you shouldn't schedule an automatic shutdown when somebody is doing something important. I'm thinking more when it's the late afternoon and somebody's just browsing Imgur online.

          As I've mentioned before, Evil Week only happens once a year.



    the other thing you can do for evility sake is create a new shortcut on the desktop, give it the same name and icon as their favourite internet browser, or other most used shortcut on their desktop or taskbar and in the script text put '-t 0' which means as soon as they execute their favourite shortcut, it will immediately go into shutdown.

    by the way @spandaslui, how many people have you got with this one at work?

      Where I work both parties would face disciplinary action. The perpetrator for maliciously using a pc, and the victim for leaving it unlocked in the first place.

      Given she still has a job, I'm guessing none. Given the fact she's trying to pass it off as a joke, I'd guess nobody's done it to her either.

        No, because I lock my computer every time I leave my desk... Also, by knowing about these kinds of tricks I'm a) more cautious and b) know how to deal with them if they do happen.

        Hopefully people who have read this will be more cautious now?

        Also, I responded to your previous comment. I know Evil Week isn't everybody's cup of tea. Sorry if the content upsets you.

      No one yet, but I'll probably do it to Chris Jager at some point on a Friday afternoon. We're good mates so he'd probably have a good laugh about it :P

    I'd guess that if someone does this and causes material damage to the another by their action, they would risk civil action for damages (potentially in the millions of dollars), and criminal prosecution for malicious damage, if not more serious charges. Don't forget, the law still applies if computers are involved and malfeasance using or with a computer remains malfeasance.
    Just because a machine is not password protected does not create a right for another person to damage it or its contents.

      It's article in the vein of evil week. Get over yourself.

    I've been using the shutdown command for years and only just recently discovered that it has a GUI. Run shutdown -i.

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