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How to schedule automatic shutdown with Group Policy

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In companies it is quite common to see users forgetting to turn off their computers before leaving... To save our planet and some dolphins we can automaticaly shutdown computers at a specific time with group policy (GPO).

Create Group Policy Object

  • Open Active Directory Users and Computers :
Run Active Directory Users and Computers
  • Move Users to a OU (Organizational Unit) :
Run Active Directory Users and Computers
  • Open Group Policy Manager :
Run Group Policy Management Console
  • Create GPO and link it to the OU :
Create a GPO
  • Give a name to the new GPO :
Give name to a GPO
  • Edit the GPO :
Edit a GPO
  • Go to User Configuration > Preferences > Control Panel Settings > Scheduled Tasks > Right click > New > Scheduled Tasks (At least Windows 7)
GPO New Scheduled Task

Set Group Policy Object

  • Set the New Task Properties :
    • Action : Create
    • Name : Auto_Shutdown
    • User Account : System (⚠️ Just write it, don't use "Change User or Group..." button).
Note : As an alternative, we can also use the universal SID code for System : S-1-5-18 (source: New Registry Properties
  • In Triggers Tab, click New :
New Task Properties
  • Specify the time when the computers will shutdown :
New Trigger Window
  • In Actions Tab, click New :
New Task Properties
  • Set the New Action Properties :
    • Action : Start a program
    • Program/script : C:\Windows\System32\shutdown.exe
    • Add arguments(optional) : /s /t 0
New Trigger
  • In Conditions Tab :

It allows to avoid shutting down a computer if a user is still working.

Conditions tab of a Windows Create Scheduled Task window.


  • From a Workstation open the Task Scheduler with administrator rights (otherwise you won't see the task), you should see the Auto_Shutdown task.
Windows Task Scheduler

Note : I also recommend to use WMI Filters to apply only to Desktops profiles.

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