Airytec Switch Off gives you total control over your PC's shutdown options

Manually shutting down your PC when you’ve finished a task is easy enough, but Windows isn’t quite so straightforward when it comes to automating the process. Playing around with the power options and the task scheduler may deliver what you need, but for real flexibility you’ll be much better off turning to the free Airytec Switch Off.

The program is a surprisingly tiny download (191KB), which once installed adds an icon to your system tray. And right-clicking this displays a menu showing the various actions it can carry out: shutdown, restart, log off, sleep, lock, and more.

If you want to activate any of these immediately, then you can do so -- just choose that action and click "Now". But there are also timed delays, from 5 minutes to 5 hours. And these can each be applied in three different ways.

For instance, you could tell Airytec Switch Off to shut down your PC in precisely 5 minutes time; or to wait until the user has been inactive for 5 minutes (no mouse or keyboard activity); or to look for 5 minutes of computer inactivity (that is, CPU usage has been below a set threshold for all that time).

This works well, and is straightforward to use -- but it’s just the start of Switch Off’s capabilities.

You don’t just have to choose from the program’s list of standard actions, for instance. Airytec Switch Off also supports scripts, so you can have it launch any program you like. For example, the default list of program actions doesn’t include "Hibernate", but you can easily rectify this yourself: just use a script which calls the Windows Shutdown command to hibernate the system for you ("shutdown.exe /h").

Airtytec Switch Off also includes a complete task scheduler. If you’d like actions to run daily, weekly, at system start or log on, perhaps, you can set them up here.

And there’s even a web interface, which allows you to shut down your PC from any internet-enabled device. (Although if you’re concerned about the security implications, this is at least turned off by default.)

Perhaps most impressive of all, though, is despite all this power, Airytec Switch Off really is very lightweight, with its core requiring less than 1MB RAM on our test PC.

One possible issue here is that development seems to have stalled. The program hasn’t been updated in almost two years, so it’s possible this will be the last version.

Right now, though, Airytec Switch Off works very well. And if you’re looking for a PC shutdown tool with some real power and versatility then it’s still worth a closer look.

Photo Credit: Sashkin/Shutterstock

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