Highly Versatile Scheduling Utility

excellent
key review info
application features
  • Support for remote triggering of actions via web interface
  • (3 more, see all...)

Setting your computer to turn off or restart at a specific time can be done using the built-in task scheduling utility in Windows, but a much easier alternative is to use a shutdown utility.

Although simplicity and ease of use are at the core, this sort of programs has grown in terms of functionality and can carry out tasks beyond programming the system to enter one of the supported power functions: shutdown, restart, log off, sleep, hibernate, or locking the station.

Such is the case of Shutter, a nifty utility that can trigger all of the aforementioned actions and more based on events that go beyond a specific time.

The application is absolutely free of charge and takes less than a minute to install; however, a portable release is also available for those who would rather avoid the process entirely and run the executable directly.

You should know from the start that, as per developer’s license, using this program for commercial purposes is strictly forbidden.

Looks are far from complicated as the developer made sure to make the main functions of the product stand out: the event (12 choices) and the action (18 entries) it should trigger.

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In the case of events, the options range from time scheduling and countdown timer to less common ones such as network or CPU usage, opening or closing a specific window, starting or stopping a user-defined process, as well as a file reaching a certain size.

Furthermore, the developer included some options for portable computers that can trigger events when the battery reaches a user-defined level or when the lid opens or closes.

Although some may argue that these can be easily configured from Windows power options, Shutter makes available a much wider pool of choices as far as the actions are concerned.

Each of these events has its own configuration menu, which in the case of CPU usage includes setting either the maximum or minimum threshold, as well as the time condition for maintaining the value in order to trigger the action.

The developer sought to make things as easy as possible and, when setting a process for launching an action, you are provided with a list of currently running processes to pick from; obviously, you can input your own string.

Options more advanced users would appreciate refer to pinging a certain IP address. When there is no response for a specific amount of time, Shutter will initiate the user-defined action.

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On the same note is triggering the action when a file reaches a threshold. The value can be set in bytes, KB, MB, or GB. A nifty trick is to leave the value to zero and then the action is initiated when the file is created.

The list of actions available in the application is pretty generous and includes plenty of options, apart from the common ones mentioned above. The triggers can also turn off the monitor, activate the screensaver, mute or unmute the sound, prompt the display of a custom message, play an audio file, run a specific program or open a file, close a window, or terminate a running process.

Shutter’s flexibility goes as far as to allow a suite of related events to set off one or more actions. You can establish conditions between them so that the action(s) is/are carried out under specific circumstances.

There are four options at hand, which define the state of the events: all must be in triggered state at the same time, they should reach such state independently at least once, any of them must occur for the activity to be initiated, or they should happen one after another.

By combining various events and actions Shutter can help you automate complex tasks. While setting the conditions for carrying out the tasks we experienced several freezes of the software.

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Any configuration can be saved as a preset in order to be used any time without having to make the same settings all over again. Moreover, Shutter offers the possibility to save shortcuts for these presets, as well as for most of the actions.

Sending the commands from a remote computer is another feature available in the program. By enabling the remote interface you can execute actions and run presets from a different machine.

If the computers are in the same network, things are pretty simple, as all you have to do is provide the IP of the system you want to control. For computers outside the local network it is necessary to configure the router for port forwarding.

Additional options present in the web interface include retrieving details about the computer, taking a screenshot of the desktop, as well as turning off Shutter.

Although the configuration panel provides password protection, the feature is reserved for paying customers.

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The Good

The application is simple to use, but by combining multiple events and actions it can help set up complex automatic tasks. It offers much more than the regular power actions, which can be triggered by a wide variety of events.

The web interface offers access to the main actions, as well as stored presets.

The Bad

The program froze a few times during our tests, but otherwise it behaved with no problems.

The Truth

Shutter is one of the most complex utilities in its category. It is free of charge, and the learning curve is not an issue for both advanced and less experienced users. Moreover, a portable version is also available for those who want to avoid installing it on the system.
user interface 5
features 5
ease of use 5
pricing / value 5


final rating 5
Editor's review
excellent
 
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