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Wise Tech Tips

Save Money by Automatically Shutting Down your Computer

By James Wise
web posted January 26, 2010
TECH TIPS – If you’re like me, there are times you forget to turn your computer off and it just sits there running and costing you money on your power bill. While I can’t help you remember to turn it off, today’s tech tip covers how to shutdown your computer automatically.

Windows comes with some built in power options that can help. To access these options, click on: Start > Control Panel > Performance and Maintenance > Power Options. On this screen, you can setup inactive time amounts for turning your monitor off or putting your system into standby.

From the advanced tab, you can configure what happens when you press the power button or (in the case of a laptop), close the lid on your computer.

While the power options control panel can be helpful, it may not have all the options you’re looking for. Recently, I read about “Smart Shutdown”. This free program allows you to automatically shutdown your computer after it’s been inactive for a while OR shut it down at a certain time (e.g. when you are in bed in case you forgot to shut it down first). You can read about the program and download it here: http://www.slawdog.com/products/smartsd/index.aspx

The download link is at the bottom of the page but if you just want to download it directly, you can go here: http://www.slawdog.com/downloads/smartsd.exe

The program sits as an icon in your system tray:

Clicking it is a quick way to shutdown your computer. To configure the automatic shutdown, right click the icon, choose “settings”, and choose “set time”. In my case, I used the “At” option and selected 11:30 PM but you can configure this based on your needs.

You can turn the scheduled shutdown on or off by right clicking the Smart Shutdown icon, choosing “action”, and clicking “reset” or “set” just depending on what you want to do. There are other options in the settings menu which can be helpful as well. For example, in the “Global Options” menu, you can choose to have the Windows Recycle Bin emptied automatically with the shutdown.

There are some things to keep in mind though with automatic shutdowns like activities which happen automatically on your computer even when you aren’t using it. For example, you may have backups scheduled to run, Windows updates, automatic disk defragmentation, etc… In some cases, these things may trigger your computer to start up again or they might be automatically rescheduled when your computer is running. Just think about these things though and take action as needed if you do choose to shutdown. Also don’t forget to save your work (as you should always do) to avoid losing anything that might be closed and lost with a shutdown.

If you have any questions about this or other technology related topics, shoot me an email at EdgefieldTechHelp@gmail.com.

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