Scheduled Windows Server 2003 Reboot

It is not uncommon for a server to require a reboot after a Windows Update, virus protection install, backup software install, or pretty much any third party software that runs as a service.  However, most businesses prefer any Network downtime to occur after hours.

Most businesses prefer any Network downtime to occur after hours.


Accordingly, the solution is to schedule an unattended server reboot.  Following are the steps to perform an unattended and scheduled reboot of a Windows 2003 Server.


Before you proceed, some things to consider: 


  • Make sure you have previously performed a manual reboot and know for a fact that the server will reboot successfully without requiring user interaction to complete it's reboot. Make sure your server doesn't have BIOS prompts that require you to press F1 or similar to continue.  Make sure, you don't have any failed Services at start-up that require a manual start.
  • Make sure there are no Scheduled Tasks or other schedule processes that run at the time when you plan to schedule the reboot.




  1. Create batch file containing the commands to reboot the server
  2. Create a Scheduled Task to execute the batch file


Step by step:


Create Batch File


  1. Open Notepad
  2. Type a line with the following: shutdown -r -f -t 30
  3. Select Save As from the File menu and change the extension from .TXT to .BAT. Place file on local server hard drive (remember location).  The location must be accessible via the User Account whose permission you will use of the Scheduled Task.




Create Scheduled Task

  1. Schedule Batch file as Scheduled Task via Control Panel.
  2.  Browse for previously created Batch file.
  3. Select appropriate Administrator account to execute Scheduled task.
  4. IMPORTANT: Schedule task to run "once", unless you want to be rebooting server on a regular basis daily, weekly, monthly, etc. 

Sample Notepad file

Sample File Location

Sample Scheduled Task

Sample Scheduled Task Entry

Sample Scheduled Task Schedule Tab

Sample Scheduled Task Permissions