It's not especially difficult to use the Windows Task Scheduler to shut down your PC at a specific time, but it's not particularly convenient, either. And if you need more options or commands, your choice is limited. GoldSolution's PC Auto Shutdown answers many needs with flexible options for scheduling automatic shutdown, power-off, restart, hibernate, and other commands. Its wizard-based interface makes setting custom schemes a breeze. PC Auto Shutdown is shareware that is free to try for 15 days. The latest version fully supports Windows 8. We tried it in both 32-bit and 64-bit Windows 7.
When the program's installer closed, a compact window opened to its Timer tab, which displayed Add, Edit, and Delete buttons and a grid view sorted by Title, Status, Shutdown Event, Activation Time, and Frequency. Clicking Add produced the Timer Settings tool. We named and configured our timer from a range of features, including a weekly menu and various activation options, and clicked OK. We set our Shutdown time for 3 minutes and clicked Next.
The Wizard walked us through the remaining Tabs in turn, each clearly labeled by function: General, Hotkeys, Sound, Clean up, Password, and Log. The Clean up tab offered a menu of additional actions such as emptying the Recycle Bin and clearing browser data. The password tool is a valuable option when other users have access to your PC. After we'd set everything, we clicked OK, closed all our open programs, and waited. On schedule and without fuss, PC Auto Shutdown shut our system down. When we rebooted, everything ran normally. One thing we'd like to see is a visible countdown timer, perhaps with a flashing alert for when sound isn't an option.
Advanced users can program commands into PC Auto Shutdown, though we didn't try. For most users, PC Auto Shutdown offers more than enough extra capabilities, compared to Windows. It's quite inexpensive, so you can try it for a couple of weeks and see if it makes your life easier.
Editors' note: This is a review of the trial version of PC Auto Shutdown 5.3.