I'd like to be able to schedule a server reboot at a specific time, but not regularly. How can I do this without futzing with adding and removing cron entries?


If it is one-time deal, you can use shutdown command with -r as argument. Instead of using shutdown now, you can add time as parameter (e.g. shutdown -r 12:30).

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    For rebooting the -r flag is needed (e.g. shutdown -r 12:30) – esc1729 Aug 22 '09 at 21:49
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    -r is critical otherwise you will be hitting a power button somewhere to bring it back up. – egorgry Aug 22 '09 at 21:51
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    This is true, I forgot -r in initial answer. :( sorry. – Josip Medved Aug 23 '09 at 18:52
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    This also works with times in the early morning - so if it's 15:55 now, you can use 'shutdown -r 03:15 &' to reboot the server at 3:15am tomorrow morning. (the '&' shunts the command the background so you can log-off without killing the shutdown command) – Andrew Aug 25 '09 at 14:55
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    This has the advantage/drawback (depending on your use case) of alerting everyone every hour or so via a broadcast message of the upcoming reboot. – Klaas van Schelven Aug 5 '14 at 8:33

According to the man page: /sbin/shutdown [-t sec] [-arkhncfFHP] time [warning-message] found at --> http://unixhelp.ed.ac.uk/CGI/man-cgi?shutdown+8

Load of options to choose from but, to answer your question.

To reboot in 5 minutes: /sbin/shutdown -r 5 "reboot in five minutes"

To reboot at exactly 11:00 P.M.: /sbin/shutdown -r 23:00 "rebooting at 11:00 P.M."

NOTE: your message will be broadcast to all active terminals / sessions.


the at command is what you want.

at 5:00pm 
cd /
/full/path/to/init 6

at -l will list the at cmds

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    I would use shutdown instead of init. It's not necessary to do the cd or the do/done (which would probably produce an error). – Dennis Williamson Aug 22 '09 at 22:17
  • really? I've used this for over 8 years and I've never has an issue. hpux. solaris, linux 2.2 - 2.6 – egorgry Aug 22 '09 at 22:47
  • I personally prefer init 6 myself; had intermittent issues with shutdown -r on some platforms in the past – warren Aug 23 '09 at 2:04

the easiest way I can think of is, as root:

sleep 2h && reboot

  • what's about root permissinos? – Tebe Nov 3 '17 at 11:05
  • as I said, run it as root. – Omry Nov 3 '17 at 22:26

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