Tuesday, July 19, 2011

How-to: Shutdown Windows 2008 without Logging In First

Windows 2008 / 2008r2 Server
Enable Shutdown Option on Logon Screen

Display the Shutdown / Restart Option on Login (Log On) Screen

Since I tend to run a lot of software development virtual machines, I quite often want to start up, and shut-down, various instances of operating systems with as little additional effort (and wasted time) as possible. Windows 2008 (and 2008r2) is one of my Microsoft development operating-system platforms that I interact with, especially for hosting SQL-Server 2008 / 2008r2 on. And, since SQL-Server 2008 will gracefully startup and shutdown automatically as the underlying Windows 2008 operating system starts and stops, I have no "need" to truly "Log In" (logon) to the OS Desktop via CTRL-ALT-DEL logon process for most occasions.

As such, I always want the option of shutting down the Windows 2008 server without logging in; but, it turns out that thanks to a default security policy, the shutdown option is not available on the logon screen unless we make changes to the Local Security Policy to allow the shutdown button to show on the the login page.

Procedure to Enable Shutdown-on-Logon Screen

This is what we WANT to have available after we press the CTRL-ALT-DEL key combination (or, CTRL-ALT-INS when running within a VMware virtual machine):

Now, to get to where the options above are present at log on, we must take the following steps (click on image for larger views)...

Run this : gpedit.msc -- this will launch the Local Group Policy Editor (the .MSC file-extension tells you that we are working with a Microsoft Management Console Snap-in Control File)

Now, once the Local Group Policy Editor is displayed, Navigate to the proper sub-tree, which is: Computer Configuration, Windows Settings, Security Settings, Local Policies, Security Options, Shutdown.  On the right-side/pane of the screen, scroll down to the Policy labeled "Shutdown: Allow system to be shut down without having to log on" and change the value of this Security Setting column to be "Enabled".

Once you have saved this, the next time you reboot your server, you will be presented with the shutdown options on the Windows 2008 log on screen (as shown in the image I inserted at the beginning of this section) that will allow you to perform a shut down or restart without the need to login to the desktop first.  This is a HUGE time-saver for me, and I hope it saves you some time also.


TrentCats said...

Thanks its a timesaver and saves excess harddrive thrashing!

Anonymous said...

Thanks! You've helped me a lot!

Al said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you. This little article has saved me many minutes of intense frustration and high-blood pressure. As frequently as I read it, I soon forget it (i'm getting old) and need to go back it.

Mike Eberhart said...

Glad the article was helpful. I actually post some of these blogs / articles as reminders to myself for the same reason... this way, I can quickly search my own blog for "how to's" when I need to find my notes on such things. regards. m.