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I work on a ubuntu server located in a place where I don't usually go. I use ssh over openvpn to access it. The machine has multiple wired interfaces, many static routes and multiple default gateways to WAN. I frequently change interface adresses and routes. Most of the times the changes I do are temporarily--a reboot would reset the experiments I have done. In some cases some of those modifications have gone wrong, and the machine has gone offline. In such cases I had to call up someone at the place where the server is located to send the machine into a reboot.

Now I would like to schedule a reboot--lets say after 2 hours the machine should go into a reboot cycle. And in those two hours I can do whatever temporary experiments that I want. If all the temporary changes succeed then I should be able to prevent the "afer 2 hour" reboot from happening. So what I want is:

  1. How to tell the server to reboot after a certian time?
  2. If I decide that the machine should not go into a reboot, I should be able to cancel it.
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up vote 8 down vote accepted

On the terminal type shutdown -r 10 Waiting 10 minutes before the restart& that will make the server reboot in 10 mins, broadcast a message explaining that and pressing control+c will interrupt the reboot request.

On the terminal type shutdown -r 18:00 Rebooting at 18:00 hours& that will make the server reboot at 18:00 hours, will broadcast a message explaining that and can be interrupted with control+c.

You can also interrupt any shutdown / reboot request on your "working" terminal with shutdown -a.

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This is a bit problematic since it is interactive and blocks the shell you are running. I'm not sure if this would work predictably over SSH if the session drops. – Alain O'Dea Dec 2 '12 at 23:30
I could not find any combination of nohup and sudo that would make this work if run from a normal ssh session as a normal admin group user. – HDave Apr 1 '13 at 18:03
Could this be run in combination with Screen to allow the command to be applied and the ssh session dropped? – Andy Davies Jan 29 '15 at 9:05

You can also use at to schedule reboots. For example sudo at 22:00 to run the command at 22:00 as root. Then enter the command you want to run: /sbin/shutdown -r now and end with ctrl-d. If you decide not to run this command, run sudo atrm 1 to delete the first one in the at queue. With sudo atq you can see the queue.

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This solution is perfect! – Sukima Jan 8 '13 at 15:08
This should be marked as the correct answer! The at family of commands is something every server admin should know. – HDave Apr 1 '13 at 18:41

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