I am looking for a program that reliably prevents the computer from shutting down. This can be useful in various cases:

  • during PowerPoint presentations
  • while running a huge download over night
  • when backing up an entire disk

The tool should

  • be gratis
  • run on Windows 7 and higher
  • prevent shutdown done via the shutdown command
  • prevent reboot due to Windows updates
  • prevent shutdown via power button switch
  • prevent reboot of other installers (whatever software might cause this)
  • just do this and not a bunch of other stuff like some system enhancement tools do

I have tried the Registry switch HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\WindowsUpdate\AU\NoAutoRebootWithLoggedOnUsers but it was not very helpful and applies to Windows Updates only, not to other software.

Don't sleep is a free tool that is small (200 kB on disk, 5 MB in RAM) and does the job. It can run in the system tray, so it does not disturb you. It prevents shutdown, reboot, standy, hibernate and even turning off the monitor (configurable).

Don't sleep screenshot

Though it has links to other system tools, these are just shortcuts and not built-in overhead which is not needed.

What about a script or batch file that runs shutdown -a (Abort Shutdown) repeatedly during the time period? Could be made into a Scheduled Task or launched from a batch file.

Another alternative is Shut It!

Shut It! is a bit of a dual mode shutdown utility because in addition to the standard monitoring function of intercepting shutdowns and restarts etc, it can also watch for specific application processes or windows and perform a different action for those that match. For example, you could let the system shutdown normally if none of the checked programs match, but cancel the shutdown or warn you beforehand if something matches from the predefined list.

The number of actions you can perform on a shutdown check is slightly different depending on your operating system. Windows XP and newer have Do nothing, Cancel and Show warning dialog available.

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In the tray menu is also an option to schedule a shutdown/logoff and there’s quick access to all the standard shutdown

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