Has there ever been a time where you wanted your PC to turn off after a set amount of time? Perhaps you want to leave it to download a large file overnight, or maybe you'd like to keep your device running while you're out of the house for a few hours.

That's where scheduling your device to shutdown comes in. It's not an official feature of Windows 10, but can easily be configured without downloading any additional software.

How to schedule Windows 10 shutdown - Command Prompt

The easiest way to set a shutdown timer is to use the Command Prompt program built into Windows 10:

  1. In the search bar next to the Start Menu, type 'command' and click the relevant option
    Schedule Windows 10 shutdown 1
  2. In the window that appears, type shutdown -s -t XXXX, replacing the 'XXXX' with the number of seconds before you'd like the PC to shutdown. For example, if it's one hour, type in shutdown -s -t 3600
  3. Hit enter, and you should get a pop-up notification to confirm that your PC will turn off after the specified amount of time
    Schedule Windows 10 shutdown 2

This won't affect anything you can do on the device, and you can close the Command Prompt window if you'd like. If you'd like to restart your device with a delay, use shutdown -r -t XXXX, with the 'XXXX' again referring to the number of seconds before your device will begin restarting. 

To cancel either, just open the same window, type shutdown -a and hit enter. You'll get a confirmation that the shutdown timer has been cancelled.
Schedule Windows 10 shutdown 3

How to create a Windows 10 shutdown shortcut

If you often need to leave your device for a while before shutting it down, it's worth creating a shortcut for the process listed above. The process is relatively simple:

  1. Right-click any free space on the desktop
  2. Hover over 'New' and then choose 'Shortcut'
    Schedule Windows 10 shutdown 4
  3. In the window that appears, type the same shutdown -s -t (number of seconds) command as before and click 'Next'
    Schedule Windows 10 shutdown 5
  4. On the following screen, give the article a name of your choosing (e.g. Shutdown 1 hour) and click 'Finish'
    Schedule Windows 10 shutdown 6
  5. The icon will now appear on the desktop and double-clicking it will perform that command
    Schedule Windows 10 shutdown 7

You may also want to create a similar shutdown-a shortcut, to allow you to quickly cancel the shutdown timer. Right-clicking either icon and choosing 'Properties' will also allow you to give it a custom font and design.

If you'd prefer to use third-party software, the likes of PC Sleep and Sleep Timer are great options.  Both are free, and work in a similar way to the Command Prompt method. PC Sleep also allows you to schedule sleep and hibernate modes, so it's the one to go for if you're looking for that functionality. 

Otherwise, you might also be interested in how to fix a laptop that won't turn on, while we have plenty more Windows How-Tos available on the site.