How to Restart or Shutdown a Remote Computer

There will be times as a Windows Administrator that you will need to reboot or shutdown a remote computer or server.

In this tutorial, I’ll show you two easy methods for rebooting and shutting down remote computers.

The first method uses a built in Windows command and the second method uses PowerShell.

Check it out.

Windows Shutdown Command

Windows systems has a built in shutdown command that can be used to restart or shutdown local and remote computers.

The command is shutdown.

To use this command just open the windows command prompt and type shutdown.

To view the full list of command options type shutdown /? in the CMD window.

There are several command line switches, below I list the most useful options.

/s – Shutdown the computer

/r – restart computer

/m \\computer – Specify the remote computer

/l – Log off

/t xxx – Set the time out period before shutdown to xxx seconds

/c “comment” – Message to display on the screen before restart or shutdown

Now lets move onto some examples

Restart or Shutdown Examples with Command Line

In these examples, I’ll be on PC1 and will initiate a remote restart or shutdown on PC2.

I’ll be using the /r switch in these examples, you can change them to /s to shutdown instead of restart.

Example 1: Restart Remote Computer

By default, this will prompt the remote computer and give it about a minute before it restarts.

shutdown /r /m \\pc2

The pop up below is what a Windows 10 system will display.

Example 2: Restart With a Custom Message

You may want to display a custom message to the logged on users, to do that just use the /c command.

shutdown /m \\pc2  /c "The IT department has initiated a remote restart on your computer"

Below is the pop up on the remote computer with the custom message.

Example 3: Immediate Restart no Countdown

If you want to immediately restart with no countdown or message use this command.

shutdown /r /m \\pc2 /t 0

If you want a longer countdown just specify the seconds /t 60

Example 4: Log user off remote computer

If you just want to log a user off the remote computer use this command.

shutdown /l /m\\pc2

Restart or Shutdown with Powershell

Here are a few examples of how you can restart or shutdown computers with PowerShell.

The downside to PowerShell is it doesn’t have as many options as the shutdown command. There is no option to prompt users with a custom message or provide a countdown.

Example 1: Use Powershell to restart a computer

This command will immediately restart a remote computer. The -Force option will force a restart even if a user is logged on.

Restart-Computer -ComputerName REMOTE_COMPUTER_NAME -Force

Example 2: Use PowerShell to shutdown a computer

This command will shutdown a remote computer. Use the -Force to force a shutdown even if a user is logged on.

Stop-Computer -ComputerName REMOTE_COMPUTER_NAME -Force

Example 3: Use PowerShell to restart a list of computers

This is handy if you have several computers to restart. Just list all the computers you want in a text file and add that to the PowerShell command.

restart-computer (get-content c:\work\computers.txt)

Example 4: Use PowerShell to shutdown down two computers

Stop-Computer -ComputerName "Server01", "Server02"

Have fun!

See also:

How to View Open Files On Windows Server
How To Check Windows Server Uptime

Recommended Tool: SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor (SAM)

This utility was designed to Monitor Active Directory and other critical applications. It will quickly spot domain controller issues, prevent replication failures, track failed logon attempts and much more.

What I like best about SAM is it’s easy to use dashboard and alerting features. It also has the ability to monitor virtual machines and storage.

Download Your Free Trial of SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor. 

Leave a Comment