We have about 600 Windows XP PCs in a school of about 2000 students, the majority of the PCs are in ICT suites and class rooms. It is a regular occurance that half of the computers are left on overnight and about a quarter at weekends and holidays.
I would like to find a way of shutting down the computers when they are not in use, there are some additional requirements:
- Shutdown should not be initaited if a user is logged on.
- Computers should be shutdown after 60 - 90 minutes of idle time - this avoids the long start up times for classroom computers that delay the start of the lesson.
- An automatic shutdown if not in use at a specific time (say 1800).
- There should be some way of globally disabling it for Open Evenings, Parents Evenings, etc.
Looking for products, either paid-for, free or script based.
After looking at Auto Shutdown Manager and EZ GPO Tool I decided to use the solution I found for the following reasons:
- Auto Shutdown Manager was able meet all of the requirements, however even as a school it would cost £300 to licence it across the site (50p per computer, isn't much compared to the £10 - £25 pear year it costs to have them on overnight).
- EZ GPO Tool is unable to actually shut a PC down only suspend/sleep the monitor and PC.
- PowerDown is able shut the computers down after 60 minutes of inactivity, if and only if the computer is not in use, and can be disabled on a per machine basis. It is also free, only using PsShutdown and PsLoggedOn.
PowerDown is installed through a startup script, to copy the three files to the \Windows\System32 directory on each Workstation, a scheduled task is then created to trigger after 60 minutes of inactivity.