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!

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24 thoughts on “How to Restart or Shutdown a Remote Computer”

  1. If i performed a shutdown on a target server using the /m command with /s, can i do the same afterwards with the /r command to restart it when it has already shut down? Would this work?

    Reply
    • No the commands only work for shutting down and restarting a computer that is powered on. To turn on a computer that is shutdown it will need to be configured for Wake on LAN.

      Reply
  2. Can I use this for a PC I know the external IP address for? Im having trouble connecting to a PC on a site in UK (I’m in Cyprus) via UltraVNC, it appears to have not disconnected properly last time I was connected and I need to get the PC rebooted so I can update my software on it?

    Reply
    • This traffic would most likely be blocked by a firewall but it can be done.

      Reply
  3. Hello can you help me with acces denied error at “/r /m \\pc2 /t 0” command

    Reply
    • Did you try it with PSShutdown instead?

      Reply
  4. Thanks

    Reply
  5. I don’t think so we can use /l with /m…please verify

    Reply
  6. It says “access denied” although I am an administrator on the local and remote machine and I started my local cmd as administrator.

    Reply
    • There are also policies to prevent remote shutdown and restart, your org could have those applied. You could have also launched cmd with the local pc’s admin account and not a domain admin account.

      Reply
    • i have the same problem still trying to solve it

      Reply
    • you need to connect to smb first \\server_name and then login with admin credentials

      Reply
      • “you need to connect to smb first \\server_name”. I did not understand. Can you explain.

        Reply
      • THANK YOU SO MUCH !!!! IT WORKS PERFECTLY …

        Reply
  7. smb is a file sharing protocol on windows server or PC.
    For connecting any window server or PC, type \\server_name in windows explorer.
    If file sharing is on and folders are shared, you will be promopted for user name and password

    Reply
  8. GRACIAS POR SU TIEMPO

    Reply
    • de nada

      Reply
  9. This isn’t working. I keep getting Error 67. Help?

    Reply
  10. You can reboot the remote computer in the following way, with credentials from powershell:

    Restart-Computer -ComputerName -Force –user

    Ex:

    Restart-Computer -ComputerName tests -Force –user

    (it will ask you to enter the administrator credentials of the team in question)

    Reply
  11. Very good page, love it.

    Reply
  12. Stop-Computer : The RPC server is unavailable. (Exception from HRESULT: 0x800706BA)

    Reply
    • This typically means it is a permission issue or the firewall is blocking the request.

      Reply
    • I blocked phones from connecting to the corporate network. It made the helpdesk so mad 🙂

      Reply

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