Scheduling your Server to Automatically Reboot


Windows Server 2003

Windows Server 2003 comes with the built-in ability to schedule your server to reboot at any time of your choosing. It is quite simple to set up.

Navigate to Start -> All Programs -> Accessories -> System Tools -> Scheduled Tasks.

Click on the icon which says Add Scheduled Task.

You should now see the Add Scheduled Task Wizard. Click Next.

Disregard the list of programs, and click the Browse button.

By default, the browse button will bring you to the root of the C: drive. Navigate to WINDOWS -> system32 and locate the file named ‘shutdown.exe’. Highlight it, and click Open.

Enter your desired name for this task. For the purposes of this article, we will name this task ‘Auto-Reboot’. Next, choose how often you would like your server to reboot, whether it is daily, weekly, or monthly. For example, let’s select monthly. Once selected, click Next.

Here, you can select the time and date of the month you would like the server to automatically reboot. For example, we will select 1:00 AM for the time. As you can see, you have many configurable options available for which day of the month you prefer. For example, we will choose the Last Thursday of the month. Once your desired options have been set, click Next.

Type in the password for the user you would like this task to run under. If you are setting this task to run under your ‘ServerAdmin’ login, enter the ‘ServerAdmin’ password. Once entered, click Next.

On the next screen, place a check-mark in the option for ‘Open advanced properties for this task when I click Finish’. Once the check-mark is entered, click Finish.

Now, we need to enter a specific command to make the server reboot rather than simply shutdown. Add the following line in the Run field after ‘shutdown.exe’, without the parentheses:

(-r -t 00)
The Run field should now look like this:

You will need to enter your ‘ServerAdmin’ password to confirm the changes. Once entered, click OK.

You have now set Windows to automatically reboot as the time you have specified.

Windows 2008

Navigate to Start > Administrative Tools > Task Scheduler

Name the task to reflect the nature of the request. Click Next

The next two screens will allow you to set the frequency of the task. Do so then click Next as you are ready

Select “Start a program“, then click Next

In the “Program/Script” box enter in “C:\Windows\system32\shutdown.exe.” If this is a x64 bit operating system, you will want to use “C:\Windows\SysWOW64\shutdown.exe“. Click Next when finished

The last screen will allow you to view the settings before creating the task. When ready, click Finish.


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