Here’s the scenario: You’ve just hit shut down in your remote desktop session. You’re logged off Windows Server 2003 and your RDP session is closed. You wait a while and try to login again. Surely the server must have rebooted by now. But try as you might, you cannot get back in. Port 3389 shows as open and the IP is pingable.

So the options are:

1. Dig out iLO credentials (assuming that it is installed / setup) and force a reboot from a remote console.

2. Walk over to the server and force a reboot (the most recent time this has happenned to me, the server was in another building and it was raining heavily).

3. Use conventional Windows management tools to shut the server down remotely.

4. Use PowerShell.

This last option is the one that we’re going to opt for. We’re going to use the Win32_OperatingSystem WMI class to do this. Specifically we’ll be using the Win32Shutdown method.

The method takes a single flag value to determine exactly what should be done.

0 = Log off
4 = Forced log off
1 = Shutdown
5 = Forced shutdown
2 = Reboot
6 = Forced reboot
8 = Power off
12 = Forced power off

The full code for invoking the method is:

From now on I’ll use aliases. Here are a couple of examples:

Log off the local computer:

Restart a remote computer:

Restart a remote computer using alternate credentials: