Ways to shutdown/restart your computer via Remote Desktop.

I don't how many times I've needed to reboot a machine while accessing it over Remote Desktop. I usually just open a command prompt and type shutdown -t 0 -r to reboot. However, Raymond provides four ways to do this.

When you are connected to a workstation via Remote Desktop, the "Turn Off Computer" option changes to "Disconnect". But what if you really want to turn off the computer, hibernate it, or put it on stand-by?

Note: These tips work on Windows XP, but there is no guarantee that they will work in future versions of Windows.

One way to do this is to run Task Manager and select your shutdown option from the "Shut Down" menu.

Another trick is to click on the desktop and type Alt+F4. This will call up the shutdown dialog, where you get the usual shutdown options like "Shut down", "Shut down without installing updates", "Restart", "Stand by", and "Hibernate".

These next two tricks are documented and will continue to work in future versions of Windows:

If you're a command line person, you can run shutdown.exe, but that program supports only shutdown and restart; it doesn't do stand-by or hibernate. But the shutdown.exe program has a serious flaw: It requires you to have administrator privileges. If you are a limited user with shutdown privileges, the shutdown.exe program will complain. (Which means that I don't use it.)

Finally, if your computer isn't using Fast User Switching, you can type the Ctrl+Alt+End hotkey, which is the Remote Desktop version of Ctrl+Alt+Del and consequently takes you to a dialog where you can do various system-type things, among them logging off and shutting down.

[How do I shut down a workstation via Remote Desktop?]

I wonder about the shutdown.exe requiring admin privileges. I'm running as non-admin on my Vista machine and I know I've used the shutdown.exe to reboot the computer a number of times, then again maybe this has been fixed in Vista. Anyway I'm going to keep all these ideas in mind the next time I need to reboot a computer over Remote Desktop. Thanks Raymond.


  • You can also go to the Start menu and pull up Windows Security located just above Log off and Disconnect. Doing so will bring up the standard ctrl-alt-del window with Change Password, Shutdown, Task Manager, etc.

    I like the Alt-F4 tip myself. It's faster.

  • One other way, much like the Ctrl-Alt-Delete method that works for most all Versions of windows in a Remote Desktop is to use Ctrl-Alt-End, this will bring up a menu in which you can shut down, restart, or go into standby mode.

  • FYI: ALT+F4 works on vista

  • You can use the shutdown.exe as a batch file.

    Just go to notepad and type:

    shutdown.exe -s

    Save the file with a .bat extension.

  • But my question is: How to wake up a computer that is in hibernation or stand by mode through the remote desktop?

    Any ideas?


  • FYI: Using Ctrl+Alt+Delete then the standard shutdown options shut down my local PC, not the remote one.

  • lmao @ Grant: try reading the article again buddy. particularily the part that mentions using ctrl+alt+end instead of ctrl+alt+delete ;)

  • How to reboot your remote computer when you have no right to reboot your computer at our end.

  • Is there some way to install wsus loaded updates, I get the dialog box to shutdown, hibernate, etc., but not install patches and reboot.

  • I made me a little .bat file to solve the problem with restart/shutdown.

    To make a bat file to work with you go to
    START --> Run --> cmd
    and press
    Then you get a command window.
    Type EDIT and press .
    Then a blue window opens. Press ALT+F to make the menu appear, and choose "Save As..." You just save the file on your desktop (or another place of your choosing).

    After that you close the command window. Go to the place you saved the .bat file. RIGHTclick the file and choose EDIT.

    Ok..so far, so good. :)

    Then you just paste the following text into the file and save it:

    @echo off
    echo Remote Desktop Client - shutdown or restart
    echo When you use Remote Desktop you do not have
    echo the usual restart/shutdown choices.
    echo This will RESTART or SHUTDOWN the remote client
    echo according to your choice.
    echo 1. Restart
    echo 2. Shutdown
    echo 3. Abort
    set /p userinp= Choose a number(1-3):
    set userinp=%userinp:~0,1%
    if "%userinp%"=="1" goto restart
    if "%userinp%"=="2" goto shutdown
    if "%userinp%"=="3" goto end
    echo invalid choice
    goto start

    Echo Program: Please wait....
    shutdown -r -t 01
    goto end

    shutdown -s -t 01
    goto end


    I have made this based on various sources on the internet, and almost no coding has been done by me. I'm just saying that so noone thinks it is ME that wrote all this code :)
    But here it is.

    Wish someone could write a Win app that looked a little nicer than this DOS-window.
    If someone do that, mail it to me, please.

    --Sorry for the bad english. It is not my native language :) ---

  • For Vista, just press CTRL-ALT-END on your keyboard the using the mouse to select the power icon on the bottom right of the screen and select restart or shutdown or whatever...

  • "For Vista, just press CTRL-ALT-END on your keyboard the using the mouse to select the power icon on the bottom right of the screen and select restart or shutdown or whatever..."

    Vista bluescreens when shutting down with your method

  • Hi, StrAngel!

    Thanks for the script. But I got one question. How can I run this from one computer, but it will restart another??

    Ex. I'm using one computer (Home) and want to reboot or shutdown another (Backup) using that script you created with some modifications.

    Please help :-)

  • Actually the procedure can works but now how do u run the program? if u have the procedure of running the program plz e-mail on kwobafred@yahoo.com.

  • to choose a remote computer to shutdown use the IP address, as you can see in the below example

    shutdown -s -m \\ -f -t 00

  • The easiest way to restart your computer through remote desktop is to go to taskmanager on the remote desktop and select the Shutdown, restart from that screen.

  • For the "Windows Security above Log Off" I would like to point out that it's a tiny red square in the bottom right corner. My remote desktop was a smaller window so I didn't see that the first time I tried it.

  • This was clutch, thanks alot.

  • alt + F4 works on Windows 7

  • To shut down a remote computer when you are using Remote Desktop, press CTRL+ALT+END, and then click Shutdown. Or, use the shutdown command at a command prompt.

  • Very useful. Thanks

  • My RDP systen by mistake went to standby mode.
    Now I am unable to connect the server back using mstsc. Please guuide


  • It works in windows 7.

  • Ctrl-Alt-End works great.

  • CTRL + F4.. it work.. thans dude..

  • Ctrl-Alt-End and click "Shut Down", and from drop down menu select "Restart"...works perfect..no need of being geeky and type in all script in command.

  • shutdown -s -m \\remoteComputerIP -s -t 00 at cmd doesn't worked. Both work and remote machine have the same the subnet IP addresses.

  • I encountered this problem when using Remote Desktop to control a computer with XP x86 from a computer with Windows 7 x64, and developed a GUI solution for dealing with it. It works to my satisfaction and I am now, before publishing, looking for beta testers. Email me if you want to help: sven@svenp.com. Please write "shutdown reboot solution" in the "Subject".

  • ctrl + alt + end does not work if you are remote desktopping from a remote desktop. windows security and alt + f4 and cmd shutdown -r all do though

  • Start --> Run --> cmd

    shutdown -s

    this will shut any machine down after 30 secs. also you can do

    shutdown -m \\computername -s

    to shut down a remote machine...

  • Thanks a lot for the information, I just tried the Ctrl+Alt+End and it worked perfectly to me on a Windows XP computer.

    Greetings from Mexico.

  • btw,

    DO NOT do the topmost command (shutdown -t 0 -r)
    I did that to my remote PC and it did NOT reboot, it just shut down.

  • Really helpful post.... I used to login with logmein just to re-start my remote computer....
    Thanks for sharing this valuable info.... CTRL+ALT+END works just fine with.... thanks a lot

  • Alt+F4 - saved the day!
    Thanks for the post!

  • Thanks for the Alt F4 trick!! I worked for me using xp

  • CTRl+ALT+END also works for Windows 7. I tested it out on a windows 7 enterprise version and it works like a charm.

  • User this command after closing all the application

    Shutdown -m -r \\x.x.x.x

    -r for Restart
    -m just to shutdown

    x.x.x.x - Your remote PC IP.

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