How can I automatically shutdown the system after a certain customizable time?


5 Answers 5


Open a terminal window and type in:

sudo shutdown -h +60

and just replace 60 with whatever number of minutes you want to take.

More info here:

http://ubuntuforums.org/archive/index.php/t-473173.html http://www.linux.org/lessons/beginner/l5/lesson5a.html

  • 3
    The -P parameter (power off) seems to be a good idea too.
    – htorque
    Jan 2, 2011 at 23:28
  • shutdown +m 60 doesn't work for me. gives me an error message and says that there's an invalid time value.
    – NES
    Jan 3, 2011 at 14:26
  • I thought it was odd... it shouldn't be "+m 60", it should be "+60" (or maybe more like "-h +60". The bottom of this page seems to know how it works: linux.org/lessons/beginner/l5/lesson5a.html.
    – Daniel
    Jan 3, 2011 at 19:04
  • "shutdown -P 1" - works well and shuts down the system in 1 minute, no time unit needed.
    – n3rd
    Aug 2, 2011 at 12:01
  • 2
    actually its sudo ..... because need root privileges May 9, 2014 at 16:29
  • You can use gshutdown Install gshutdown
  • After installation it can be found under Applications → Accessories → GShutdown alt text
  • Also have a look at this method.
  • Can anyone say me why they down vote?
    – karthick87
    Jan 3, 2011 at 6:11
  • 2
    i didn't down vote. But Gshutdown doesn't work smoothly here. When i choose shutdown it insteads log the user out?
    – NES
    Jan 3, 2011 at 14:45
  • Me too, it logs the user out and the laptop goes to sleep mode
    – lewis4u
    May 28, 2017 at 11:35

Because the topic abt shutting down PC after certain period of inactivity is redirected to this topic, I will explain this issue here.

I spent lots of time to solve this problem, so I find it useful to share it, to make the same issue simple for others. I hv tried different programmes but they haven't work for me so I found using short script with cronjob the best solution.

Firstly I refered to post Timed Shutdown - shutdown after 30 minutes

I will copy it below and then explain improvements to make it work:

Install xprintidle. This tool gives the idle time of a user.

sudo apt-get install xprintidle

Make a script autoshutdown.sh which checks for the idle time and instructs the computer to shutdown if idle for 30 minutes.


if [ $idle -gt 1800000 ]; then
    shutdown -h now

Make a cronjob for this that checks from time to time if the system has been idle for too long and if it has been idle for a longer than 30 minutes it will shutdown. Note that the cronjob has to be made for the root user.

This script needs some improvements to work, like:

idle=`env DISPLAY=:0 su OUR_USER -c xprintidle 2>&1`

OUR_USER is the user we refer to for checking idle time (not root user)

DISPLAY=:0 is correct for one desktop display (run env command to read DISPLAY in your situation)

if script is run by OUR_USER, line above can be reduced:

idle=`env DISPLAY=:0 xprintidle 2>&1`

This topic is described http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1069602

if script is run by OUR_USER, shutdown command should be preceded by sudo

sudo shutdown -h now

My script was run from cron by line in cron file:

*/5 * * * * /home/OUR_USER/autoshutdown.sh 
  • every 5 minutes
  • OUR_USER should be replaced as earlier to the user we refer to.

If script is not run by root we should remember to add the line:

ALL ALL=(ALL) NOPASSWD: /sbin/shutdown 

in sudoers file, so shutdown command won't need a password to be executed.

I tried such cronjobs on 2 similar distro Lubuntu 12.04.4 RC LXLE 32-bit ( http://www.lxle.net/ )

In one system it works only using root cronjob set in file:



Another problem is that xprintidle in my system has given sometimes random for me values and sometimes logically incremental. The final result - my system has been usually shutdown after 20 mins maybe, if I set the max idle value to 30 mins. I think the culprit is xscreensaver which doesn't work as is set by entered parameters.


You can use

ComplexShutdown https://launchpad.net/complexshutdown

or EasyShutdown https://launchpad.net/easyshutdown


You can use sleep for that. They're used to delay/ pause an operation. Combine that with shutdown you get a power off timer. Example to sleep after 1 hour:

sleep 3600 && sudo shutdown now

You can use math as well, here's to power off after 3 hour:

sleep $((3600*3)) && sudo shutdown now

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