>> If you need to reboot or shut down a Windows server, but you can't get to the Start menu for some reason, well then, stay tuned. I'm Bill Detwiler, and during this episode of TR Dojo, I'll show you eight backdoor methods for rebooting or shutting down a Windows server.
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>> Bill Detwiler: At some point, nearly every Windows server needs to be rebooted or shut down, either for repairs, updates or troubleshooting. But occasionally you'll encounter obstacles to making this happen. For instance, Remote Desktop Services may not be working. Well, TechRepublic blogger Rick Vanover put together a list of backdoor methods for rebooting or shutting down a system, when you just simply can't go to the Start menu. The first backdoor shutdown method is the shutdown.exe command. Now this gem will send a remote or a local shutdown command to a system. Entering something like the command shown here -- shutdown, and then slash r slash m, followed by backslash backslash, and then the server name, and then slash f slash t, and then the numeral 10, will send a remote reboot to the system. Now shutdown.exe is current on all modern versions of Windows. On older versions, it was located on the Resource Kit. Now for more details, check out this Microsoft Knowledge Base article on shutdown.exe. For those of you who prefer PowerShell, you can use backdoor method Number 2, which is basically the equivalent of the shutdown command. So you'll want to use something like this: Start dash sleep, then the number 10, and then restart dash computer, followed by dash force, dash computer name, and then the name of the server. Now, the third method won't work on all systems, as it requires pre-installed hardware. But if the server has a management device, such as an HP iLO or Dell DRAC, there should be a remote screen console tool that shows you the system's state, regardless of what state the operating system is in. Now there should also be a virtual power button that allows you to reboot or shut down the server. Method Number 4 also requires a bit of preplanning. If the system is a virtual machine, the hypervisor should have a virtual power button, through which you can reset the system. In a situation where you don't have physical access to a system, walking someone through the process may be your only hope, and that's where backdoor tip Number 5 comes in. For security reasons, you should consider creating a single user account -- either on the domain or locally -- that has the sole permission of rebooting the server. Someone at the remote location can log in with this temporary account and then reboot the machine. Now you would then immediately delete that temporary account. If you want to get really fancy, you could even create a temporary user account with a profile that runs a reboot script, when it's logged on. If you can't access the system in any other way -- say, perhaps the Windows firewall is turned on, and you can't get in to turn it off -- you can configure a scheduled task through group policy to reconfigure the firewall state and then slip in a reboot command by locally executing shutdown.exe. The only downside to this method is getting the GPO to deploy quickly. And, if you plan to use the same shutdown.exe command sequence I showed you earlier, you'll need to remove the slash m parameter. At Number 7 on our list is another method that requires a bit of preplanning and specialized software. Enterprise system management packages, such as Symantec's Altiris and Microsoft System Center, let you send a reboot command to the software agent that runs on a server, which can be really handy. And if none of the other previous methods will work, you can always just pull the plug. Now this is definitely not an ideal approach, but it is effective, and in some situations may be your only option. And for physical servers, if you're using a managed power strip with port control, you can even cut off and restore the power to a single system, without having to physically yank the power cable. Well, that does it for this episode. For more Windows Server tips and tricks, check out TechRepublic's Servers and Storage blog, or subscribe to our Servers and Storage newsletter. I'll link to both in the TR Dojo blog. And as always, for more teachings on your path to becoming an IT Ninja, visit TRdojo.TechRepublic.com. Or you can follow me on Twitter, at twitter.com/billdetwiler. Thanks for visiting the TR Dojo.
>> Bill Detwiler: The first backdoor shutdown method -- nah, start over. But if the server has a management device, such as a -- aw -- such as a laughs. Got tongue-tied.
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