It's easy to schedule an automatic shutdown in Windows. Simply open the Control Panel and click on System and Security. Find Administrative Tools and click Schedule tasks. When the Task Scheduler opens ... well, perhaps "easy" isn't the right word. "Complicated" comes to mind, maybe even "difficult." However, scheduling an auto shutdown in Windows is actually extremely easy to do with Shanezzar's Auto Shutdown 2.0. This compact freeware simplifies the process of scheduling an automatic shutdown in Windows NT, 98, ME, 2000, XP, Vista, and 7. It also supports the Log Off and Restart commands. It doesn't do everything the Task Scheduler does; for example, its simple hours-minutes-seconds time fields limit operations to 24 hours from the current time. But it's just the tool for quickly setting an automatic shutdown before you go out, especially when you can't terminate a running process and can't be there when it finishes.
Auto Shutdown's small interface features a Time display with two 24-hour digital time displays: Current Time, which showed system time, and Custom Set Time, which showed 00:00:00. A neat little arrow control indicates AM or PM for either time field. All that's left is a panel containing six buttons: Shutdown, Restart, Log Off, Abort, Hide, and Exit. The About sheet offers information about the product and its developer as well as a link to a very basic Web site. There's no Help file or manual, but this uncomplicated tool's operations are fairly obvious and hardly require any instructions: Simply enter the time you want your automated operation to execute, and then choose the operation.
Taking our cue from experienced time travelers, we entered a Custom Set Time one minute into the future from the current time, and then pressed Restart. Auto Shutdown counted down the seconds. When time ran out, a pop-up informed us Windows was about to shut down. In due course, our system rebooted, and we logged back on. This simple freeware effectively relegates the Task Scheduler to regularly scheduled, recurring tasks and complex operations. For scheduling those simple, quick, and impromptu operations, Auto Shutdown is the easy choice.