When I connect to my Windows 7 desktop computer via Remote Desktop (MSTSC.exe), the options under the Start Menu are "Log Off" (the default), "Lock", and "Disconnect". How do I restart (or shutdown)?


5 Answers 5


Open a command window (or Windows Key + R) and type the following...

...to restart:

shutdown /r /t 0 

...to shutdown:

shutdown /s /t 0 
  • 13
    /r does a reboot /t sets the number of seconds. if you want to shutdown without rebooting and turn the computer off as well use an /s
    – Kravlin
    Commented Apr 6, 2010 at 17:00
  • 18
    be careful of /s somebody will need to be local to powerup the workstation!
    – tonyr roth
    Commented Apr 6, 2010 at 17:16
  • 4
    Unless you have Wake-On-Lan functionality. Commented Apr 6, 2010 at 21:34
  • 8
    This answer would probably have a lot more upvotes if everyone who did wasn't immediately logged off. Commented Jul 22, 2016 at 18:30
  • Just doesn't work
    – Dims
    Commented Nov 17, 2016 at 8:16

The answer Marcus Adams gave also has a keyboard shortcut: Ctrl+Alt+End. You do have to be in full screen and/or have the RDP session set to Apply Windows key combinations on the remote computer. This effectively sends a Ctrl+Alt+Del to the remote computer (so it's handy to know for other occasions/uses too). From there, as Marcus said, you can get to Restart, Shutdown, etc. from the little red power button icon in the lower right corner.

Alternatively, you can click once on the Desktop (or the Taskbar) of the remote computer, then press Alt+F4 and you get the old-fashioned pop-up with all the shutdown options in the drop down.

Update: as noted in the comments, Ctrl+Alt+End in Windows 10 only gives you the option to Disconnect. You can't Restart or Shutdown from there. I also can't find a Windows Security option in the Start Menu... But no worry, as mentioned the Alt+F4 method still works, and I use that exclusively now (I remote in for work every day, and also manage multiple machines at home).

  • 9
    Alt+F4 is my favorite method to do this. Gives you the option to disconnect, restart, shutdown, etc.. Ctrl+Alt+End doesn't work with Windows 10. Well, it works, but doesn't give you the option to restart.
    – dub stylee
    Commented Aug 3, 2015 at 22:49
  • 1
    Couple of notes. First, Win 10 (at least as of 20H2) will obey the CAE command as a CAD now (not sure when that changed). Second, I found myself where Windows Explorer had crashed so no taskbar (Win + R wouldn't work). CAE gave me the ability to reboot when I got stuck.
    – Machavity
    Commented Apr 6, 2021 at 15:26

From Ways to shutdown/restart your computer via Remote Desktop

Another trick is to click on the desktop and type Alt + F4. This will call up the shutdown dialog, where you get the usual shutdown options like "Shut down", "Shut down without installing updates", "Restart", "Stand by", and "Hibernate".



Start button, then Windows Security. Click the little red shutdown icon, and you'll see the "Restart" option.

You use the Windows Security option for XP and Vista also. The restart option is deliberately removed from the normal location to prevent accidents.

  • (depending on domain settings) this works from XP to 8. Near the Logoff option in the start menu there is the "Windows Security" item. Clicking it will open a screen or dialog similar to the one you get locally after pressing ctrl-alt-del, that is: the logoff, restart, shutdown, Task Manager, change password options etc.... Commented Jun 30, 2014 at 18:04
  • Added bonus: this gives access to the Task Manager as well…
    – user394247
    Commented Aug 22, 2017 at 8:44
  • This works even when special keystrokes are being intercepted by the local machine (eg when running Citrix in a browser). Commented Apr 5, 2018 at 16:35

If it is Windows Server but not desktop, you can issue below command:


Then enter number

13) Restart Server
14) Shut Down Server
15) Exit to Command Line

Enter number to select an option:

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