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How to automatically shut down on idle on Windows 10

Your computer goes to sleep if it’s idle for a certain amount of time. You can also set the system to enter hibernate mode if you prefer it over sleep mode. That said, people do still shut down their systems and if you tend to forget, you can automatically shut it down if it’s been idle for too long. All you need is a scheduled task to handle it. Here’s how to set it up.

A word of caution

A System is idle when there is no user activity and no system processes are active. It does not check for unsaved work on your system. If you happen to have a file open with unsaved work, the shut down is not going to save it first. On that note, some apps can and do prevent system shut down if they’re open with unsaved work. If you have an app like that open on your system, it can interfere with the task.

Shut down on idle

Open the Task Scheduler and click Create Task in the column on the left.

In the Create Task window, enter a name for the taskĀ  and make the following changes;

  • Enable ‘Run with highest privileges’
  • Set the Configure for dropdown to ‘Windows 10’

Move to the Triggers tab. Click New at the bottom to add a new trigger. Use the following settings for the trigger;

  • Set Begin the task to ‘On a schedule’
  • Select ‘Daily’ from the schedule options. Set the Start time to 12:00:00 AM. Leave the date as it is.
  • Enable the task to recur every 1 day.
  • Enable the ‘Synchronize across time zones’ option

Go to the Actions tab. Click the New button to add a new action and set the following action.

  • Under Program/Script, enter Shutdown. There is no space between shut and down. It must be one word.

Go to the Conditions tab and make the following changes;

  • Enable the ‘Start the task only if computer is idle for’ option
  • In both the time fields, enter the same time. This time should be how long your computer should be idle before it is shut down. You only have preset options here but you can go as high as two hours.

Click Ok, and when your system is idle for more than the set time, it will be shut down. As for apps that may block the shut down, you can find free apps that can quit all running apps on your system or you can create a script that do the same thing. In both cases, you can run the script or the app as an action for the task.

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