How to remote restart your Windows PC

You’re remoting in from home and some app goes haywire on your (Windows) work PC. You’ve already asked your co-worker to power cycle your PC but now the problem is happening again. You don’t want to keep bugging your co-worker and you don’t want to have to drive in to work. You could have enabled the Remote Registry service, but you really don’t want to do that. Are there any other options?

There is, and a pretty simple one. You can issue a shutdown command from another PC on your network. The trick is to establish a connection to your main PC with your username first. At a command prompt on the second PC then:

net use \\MyMainPC\IPC$ /user:mydomain\myuser *
shutdown -m \\MyMainPC -r

There are other options you can send to the shutdown command, but this gets us (re)started. I tested this on Windows 7.

Did you know you could do that?!

HOW MANY TIMES have I typed the text of an error messagebox into an IT or internal tools team task I log, because I can’t copy and paste the text?  How many times have I tried in vain to select the text with the mouse cursor, hoping that somehow I remembered wrong and you really could select that text?

Many times, my friends*.

So after years of retyping, today a quick Googling for copy text from windows message box turned up a blog post titled Copy message box text to the clipboard.

You just press Ctrl+C while the message box has focus, and then you can paste the text (title bar, button text, everything!)  Nice!

How would I have ever thought to try that?  (I guess it goes back to Jonathan’s article about signifiers and affordances.)

Anyway, I’m glad the functionality’s there!

*Sometimes I just take a screenshot of the message box and paste it into an email, but that has the undesirable side effect (in MS Outlook anyway) that the screenshot is not propagated when people reply, so it’s easy to lose track of what you’re discussing.  That’s one reason I prefer to put the message in as text.