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Cool Tip: Scheduling an Automatic Shutdown without Blindsiding Users

Novell Cool Solutions: Trench


By Matt Colwell
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Posted: 11 Feb 2004
The following Cool Solution will allow you to schedule an automatic shutdown tim
e for your ZEN managed workstations. It will allow you to prompt the user before
shutdown, so if someone's working late it won't shutdown their computer in the
middle of their work.
This solution was developed using ZfD 4 with WinXP. I don't see any reason why i
t shouldn't work with any Windows workstation OS, but I have yet to test it.
Poweroff is a freeware app written by Jorgen Bosman. He's given me permission to
mention his software in this Cool Solution. The software can be obtained from h
is website under the Application link. The URL is http://users.pandora.be/jbosma
n/ His software will do a lot more than just shutdown a workstation - but for th
is Cool Solution we'll only be using the command line options of his program.
Procedure
Copy poweroff.exe into a directory that your workstation objects have read a
nd file scan rights to.
Create (or modify an existing) workstation policy package. Under the policie
s tab of the workstation policy package, click the Add button to create a schedu
led action policy. This will require that you give the scheduled action a name.
Use something creative like 'Auto Shutdown at 5pm'.
Edit the properties of the Auto Shutdown policy you created in Step 2. Click
the Add button to add an action. Add the UNC name of the poweroff.exe applicati
on (i.e. \\server\vol\dir\poweroff.exe). Add the UNC name of the working directo
ry of the poweroff.exe application (i.e. \\server\vol\dir). Set the priority to
above normal.
The parameter's line will vary depending on how you want to shut the machine
s down. Execute 'poweroff -?' to get a list of command line options.
I use the following options: poweroff -force -warn -warntime 60 -msg "Comput
er will shutdown in 60 seconds. CLICK CANCEL TO STOP AUTOMATIC SHUTDOWN!!" This
set of options gives users a 60-second warning and close all open applications b
efore turning the computer off.
After setting up the action, click on OK to save changes.
NOTE: poweroff is a command line option, as well as the name of the exe. The
exact syntax if running this from a command prompt would be poweroff.exe powero
ff -force -warn -warntime 60 -msg "Computer will shutdown in 60 seconds. CLICK C
ANCEL TO STOP AUTOMATIC SHUTDOWN!!". WARNING: Use of these options will shut dow
n the computer regardless of whether a user has saved their work or not.
Click on the Policy Schedule tab to setup when you want the machines to shut
down. This will vary depending on your environment. I've setup our student machi
nes to attempt shutdown at 3:25pm, stop attempting at 8:30pm, and repeat the att
empt every hour.

IMPORTANT: In order for the poweroff application to prompt the user for shut
down you must set the following options. Under the Policy Schedule tab, click on
Advanced Settings. Under the Impersonation tab set option to 'Unsecure System'.
Now you need to make sure you've got all your ZEN associations in a row. I u
se workstation groups for all workstation policy associations. Just create a wor
kstation group, add the desired workstations to it and associate the group with
a workstation policy.
Now your workstations should shutdown at the time you want -- saving your compan
y money on electricity... money that can be used for a raise or bonus.