Good News - The Windows Resource kits contain utilities that do some of the same things my program does (LOGOFF, SHUTDOWN, and SHUTGUI). Until Microsoft reorganizes their site, you can get those utilities here:
In addition, if you actually buy the resource kit (you don't get it
in the free download), you'll get a screensaver called "winexit.scr"
which can log you off. Feel free to read on about the program I
wrote before I discovered the
Windows Resource Kit.
Would you like to implement the shut down or log out of a Windows PC as either a screensaver action or as a scheduled task? This may be what you need.
Let's not go into why I needed to turn a PC off that was constantly "forgotten" and left running. We'll just say that automating a solution is easier than building new habits into users.
Copied into the PC "Windows" directory, this program will appear on the list of system screensavers and can be selected like any other screensaver. Once activated, it will either log off or shut down the PC after a visible countdown of up to 999 seconds (about 15 minutes). If the idea of a screensaver isn't what you're after, you can also use a scheduling program or batch file to activate the program. Scheduled activations can either invoke the screensaver (by using the standard Windows "/s" argument) or can cause an immediate reboot, logout, or shutdown event (by using "reboot", "logout", or "shutdown" arguments). To force the PC to shut down without saving open documents, you can add a "force" argument if appropriate.
If you want to run the program as a scheduled task or from a command line, you'll need to rename the file so it has an EXE extension instead of an SCR extension (Windows forces programs with SCR extensions to run with normal screensaver arguments).
I wrote the program for Windows 98. Shutting a computer down under
newer operating systems requires invoking security priveleges. While
that isn't all that difficult to do, I didn't do it because I didn't
need it for Windows 98! I've found that under Windows 2000, selecting
"Shutdown" won't shut
the computer down! However, if you select "Shutdown" and check the
"Password protected" box, the workstation will lock when the
screensaver countdown hits zero. In both cases, the screensaver will
continue to visibly count down below zero, which looks really stupid.
The logout function works fine though.
Sometimes Windows gets so unstable that it won't reboot or power down without locking up and hanging. This is almost exclusively a Windows 95/98 problem. If your computer has a history of instability and it is imperative that it be rebooted or reset in the middle of the night, you might want to check out some of these hardware solutions:
To get the "ShutDown" program, just click the "Download Now!" at the top of the screen. Full VB5 source code and a thrilling readme file is included.
This program needs the Visual Basic 5 runtime files which you probably already have. So I didn't include them in the download! If you need them, you can get from Microsoft or Ziff-Davis.
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