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Prevent forced system shutdowns and restarts with shutdownblocker

19 November 2016, Mike Williams

shutdownblockerShutdownblocker is a simple tool which intercepts and blocks shutdown, restart, logoff and related commands.

The program offers some protection from user mistakes or poorly designed software which forces a restart, as well as preventing forced Windows 10 Update restarts.

Getting started is easy. Launch the program as an administrator, check “When blocking, also intercept shutdown.exe…”, click Hide and shutdownblocker adds an icon to your system tray.

Has it worked? Open a command window, enter shutdown.exe /? , and you should see, well, nothing at all. The command prompt moves to the next line, but there’s nothing else. Shutdown.exe no longer does anything, whether it’s launched manually or from a process.

It’s the same story with musnotification.exe, a file used by Windows 10 to force system restarts (typically for Windows Update).

shutdownblocker

Allow or block shutdowns with a click

You can still manually shut down or restart your system in the usual way, for example from the Start Menu. You’ll be warned that shutdownblocker is running, in the same way you’d be told that Notepad has a file open, but choose the “shut down anyway” option and your system will close.

Shutdownblocker also offers a right-click “allow shutdowns” option from its system tray icon.

Although we found shutdownblocker swallowed our test shutdown commands, it has a few wrinkles.

In particular, you need to launch the program with admin rights to assign or remove its maximum protection. But if you don’t do that, shutdownblocker doesn’t recognise it or display any warning. You might choose the “Allow” option and think you’ve disabled the program, but the protection will still be active.

If you have problems removing shutdownblocker’s protection, reboot, launch it as an administrator and click Allow > Quit, then enter shutdown.exe /? at a command line to confirm it works (if you see help on shutdown’s options, shutdownblocker is gone).

Shutdownblocker is a free tool for Windows 7 and later, we think (it’s not specified on the site).

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