How to Cancel Shutdown in Windows 10 & 11

Don’t want Windows to shut down? You can cancel it. Here is how to cancel shutdown in Windows 10 and 11 operating systems.

Recently I’ve shown you how to schedule a shutdown in Windows with a single command or Task Scheduler. Once you set the shutdown timer, it gets executed automatically.

When the system is about to shut down, Windows will show a simple message like “You are about to sign out.” This message prompts you to save the work before Windows shuts down. As good as it is, the message doesn’t offer any way to cancel the shutdown operation for apparent reasons. If you are doing something important, you might not be ready for the shutdown.

Cancel shutdown - auto shutdown warning

If you ever face this situation, you can abort the shutdown. i.e., cancel shutdown in Windows with a simple trick. It is far easier than you think to cancel the Windows shutdown.

Table of contents:

The steps below work the same in Windows 10 and 11.

Cancel shutdown command

Though Windows doesn’t offer any visible option, you can use single line command to cancel the shutdown. Let me show you how to use it.

  1. Right-click on the Start menu.
  2. Choose “Windows Terminal.”
  3. Execute “shutdown -a” in the PowerShell tab.
  4. With that, the scheduled shutdown is canceled.

Steps with more details:

First, search for Windows Terminal in the Start menu and click on it open. Alternatively, right-click the Start menu and choose “Windows Terminal.”

In the terminal window, ensure the PowerShell tab is opened. Next, execute the shutdown -a command.

An interesting tip: You can execute the above command in the Run dialog box (Win + R).

Cancel shutdown - execute command

After executing the command, Windows shows a notification letting you know that the scheduled shutdown has been canceled.

Cancel shutdown - shutdown canceled

If there is no scheduled shutdown, the command prompt window will inform you with an error message “Unable to abort the system shutdown because no shutdown was in progress.” In simple speak, which means that there is no scheduled shutdown.

Cancel shutdown with a shortcut

If you are frequently canceling the shutdown, you might find it easy to click on a shortcut than manually entering the command. Fortunately, it is relatively easy to create a cancel shutdown shortcut. Here’s how.

  1. Go to the desktop.
  2. Right-click on the desktop.
  3. Choose “New > Shortcut.”
  4. Type “shutdown.exe -a” in the Location field.
  5. Press “Next.”
  6. Type “Abort shutdown” in the name field.
  7. Press “Finish.”
  8. With that, you have created a cancel shutdown shortcut.
  9. Double-click on the shortcut to cancel the shutdown.

Steps with more details:

First, go to the desktop, right-click on the empty space and select “New > Shortcut.”

Cancel shutdown - select shortcut

In the “Type location of the item,” enter shutdown.exe -a and click “Next” to continue.

Cancel shutdown - abort shutdown command

Enter the name of the shortcut and click “Finish.” In my case, I chose the name “Abort shutdown.”

Cancel shutdown - name the shortcut

After clicking on the “Finish” button, the shortcut will be created with a generic icon.

Cancel shutdown - shortcut created

(Optional) Change Abort Shutdown Shortcut Icon

If you don’t like the generic shortcut icon, you can change it with the one you want. Here’s how.

First, right-click on the shortcut and select “Properties.”

Cancel shutdown - select properties

Click the “change icon” button in the shortcut properties window.

Cancel shutdown click change icon button

Scroll sideways in the Change Icon window, select the icon of your choice and click “Ok.” If you see any warning message, click the “Ok” button and then proceed to select the icon.

If you don’t like the default system icons, download an icon of your choice from the internet, convert it to .ico format, and select it using the Browse button.

Cancel shutdown - select icon

Click the “Apply” and “Ok” buttons to save changes.

Cancel shutdown - save changes

The selected icon will be applied immediately.

Cancel shutdown - icon added to shortcut

You can assign a keyboard shortcut to the shortcut by selecting the “Shortcut key” field in the Properties window. After assigning the shortcut, pressing it will execute the desktop shortcut.

In summary, execute shutdown.exe -a command in the Command Prompt or Run dialog box to cancel the shutdown. If you are using this command extensively, then create a custom shortcut.

That is it. It is that simple to cancel the shutdown in Windows 10 and 11.

I hope this simple and easy Windows how-to guide.

If you are stuck or need some help, send an email, and I will try to help as much as possible.

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