How to Force Shutdown or Restart with commands

Your Windows Operating System does come with different ways to turn it off or restart. Whether you shutdown, restart or log off, the file that is responsible for this is shutdown.exe in the system32 directory of your Windows installation. We will now learn to play with shutdown.exe giving it different parameters 😉 To do this, we’ll be keying in shutdown.exe in the RUN command window (available from Start >> Run) along with its parameter(s).


Casual Shutdown: When you run shutdown.exe with the parameter -s, your system will turn off normally, just as it would shutdown when clicked from the Start menu. For this, you’ll run it as shutdown -s.

Force Shutdown: To forcefully shut down your PC, you’ll run shutdown.exe with the parameter -s -f, i.e shutdown -f. This will forcefully terminate all of your running processes and initiates the shutting process. This saves your shutting time when you are in a hurry and you want to turn off your PC safely.

Timed Force Shutdown: Lets say you want to forcefully turn off your PC after 60 seconds, here is when the parameter -t comes to the rescue. When you run shutdown.exe with the parameters -s -f -t xx (where xx is the time in seconds), your PC will forcefully shutdown after the specified time. For instance, to turn off after 30 seconds, you will enter the parameters as -f -t 30 and for 60 seconds, -f -t 60. shutdown -f -t xx

Restart : If you are familiar with shutdown, it’s not much of a deal for restart. To restart, you’ll just replace -s with -r. Confused? For Casual Restart, the command is shutdown -r, and for Force Restart, it is shutdown -r -f, and for Timed Force Restart, it is shutdown -r -f -t xx. Simple, right?

Log Off: When you run shutdown.exe without any parameter, it stands for log off, meaning, your PC will log off. You can also use -l as a parameter to log off. shutdown or shutdown -l

A Quick Recap:

shutdown.exe / shutdown the associated process. Logs off when used without a parameter
-s shutdown
-r restart
-l Log off
-f force
-t xx timed. xx for seconds


Alok Singh February 22, 2010

thanx a lot for this wonderful info. its really very helpful.

meh April 1, 2011

you can also use -c “comment” to comment