How To Make Someone’s Computer Shut Down Automatically

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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