The worst thing after watching a movie on the computer while staying in bed is the long trip back, to shut it down. With a bit of tweaking or using some helpful apps, users won’t have to fear about falling asleep while watching a film or anything like that. Some programs can be configured to automatically shut down a Windows / Mac OS X computer after the machine has been idle for a certain amount of time, at a certain hour of the day or using a clock-down timer.


The same principle can be applied when wishing to start up the desktop at a certain time, without any intervention, but as you are about to see in the following guide, this will take a bit of extra tweaking.

Automatically powering ON/OFF a Computer

The first thing we’ll show you is how to start up a Windows PC at a pre-determined time. Unfortunately, no application can actually perform this task if the machine is shut down, so the only way to do it is by messing with BIOS settings:

  1. Restart the PC and repeatedly press the “DEL” key right after the black screen.
  2. Navigate to the power options and depending on the BIOS version (some may not even allow it), you should find a function for automatically start-up. For my case it was “Resume by Alarm”.
  3. Enable the option and set the date and hour when you wish to start up the computer.
  4. Save and exit.

The other way around can be done by messing with the Task Manager or, using a third-party app. We’re going to take the second variant, as it offers more options and it’s user-friendly.

Using Sleepwalker

sleepwalkerSleepwalker can configure Windows to manually shut down, restart, hibernate, log off, power down the monitor (to reduce power consumption) or simply run the screensaver, by taping a desired keyword combination. For example, you could use CTRL+ALT+P to shut the monitor and Y+ALT+M to run the screensaver. All these tasks can also be performed automatically by setting some ground rules. Sleepwalker has a few modes which can be quite useful:

  • Timer – perform actions after a certain amount of time or at a specific hour, only on weekends, in a certain day of the week or just once.
  • Idle – shut the computer after it has been idle for a specific amount of time.

On a Mac

Things on a Mac can be done simpler because a dedicated function is implemented, but for those wishing to use it on laptop, the machine has to be connected to a power source for the procedure to work.

  1. Go to System Preferences -> Energy Saver.
  2. Click on the Schedule button.
  3. Check the “Start up or wake” box to configure when the machine turns on and the box beneath it to schedule restarts, shut downs or sleeps.
  4. Click OK to confirm.

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Feature Writer

Alex holds an engineering degree in Telecommunications and has been covering technology as a writer since 2009. Customization is his middle name and he doesn’t like to own stock model gadgets. When he’s away from the keyboard, simpler things like hiking, mountain climbing and having a cold drink make his day.