We help IT Professionals succeed at work.

Quicker Forced shutdown of server 2003

Tabcit used Ask the Experts™
I have a server that is losing Internet connectivity. I am working on a upgrade and trying to fix the 2003 all at once. The server loses internet access and then the shared drives are not available to the users. I need to restart the server via a Vmware box. I am looking for the fastest way to do the restart.  So the users aren't waiting that long. Would it be faster to restart the VMware machine or is there a command line or something I can type into the 2003 server that will restart faster. The restart is taking about 15 minutes and it's a VMware machine  that's is just to long when users are waiting. I am doing the restart via the windows login in the Vmware machine.
Watch Question

Do more with

Expert Office
EXPERT OFFICE® is a registered trademark of EXPERTS EXCHANGE®
I think you should be asking yourself why it is taking 15 minutes to shut-down the server and trying to fix that.

you can always spare yourself few minutes and remotely shutdown the server using the shutdown command (type shutdown /? from windows command prompt for full list of switches)
or if you get stuck you can power cycle that VM from vSphere client (not recommended in most cases)
From any desktop on your network, go to a command prompt and  type the command SHUTDOWN -M \\SERVERNAME -R -F -T 0

The -M targets the remote machine

-R is restart (use -S for shutdown)
-T 0 is the time in seconds before restart (in this case zero)
-F will force applications to shutdown

For a complete list of options you can type SHUTDOWN -?

Hope this helps
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
Fellow 2018
Expert of the Year 2017

What is causing the restart or power-up to take so long, virtual machines boot-up faster than physical servers.

If the shutdown is taking so long, just issue a cold Power Off.

Check The VM-s Event log, for errors, it should not take that long.
But if this server runs Exchange, You can manually stop the exchange services first, then reboot the server. It can speed up the shutdown process.

I think that  the slowness is because of the network problem you mentioned.
For the shutdown, you can use the shutdown -r -f -t 0 command, and in fact, you can schedule it to be executed every night, when users are not connected, if you think it can solve something. But it is not normal to take 15 minutes to start the server... I think you have a network problem, and then there is a service with problems at startup. Please get the windows events just after restart, to see if we can help any better.


Thank you all I am a return client to Expert Exchange and it's worth every penny!

This server is losing network connectivity as a proactive measure I imaged the whole server with VMware and put it on the proper VLAN. In tandem, I am working on upgrading to SBS 2008. This server is the one that the Executives need to get access to remotely at all times of the day weekends included.
Every night at some point it loses internet connectivity. I remote in via another workstation on the network then RDP in. I go to IE and there is no internet though I can ping google. But the workstation loses it's shares and to get everything working I have to restart the box.

For all the comments regarding the amount of time it takes to reboot. Yes it shouldn't take 15 minutes to reboot the server but I don't think it's prudent to check what the issue is as we are going to upgrade the box and shut this one down. I was going to retire this box in the summer but this issue started to occur.

In regard to the VMmachine. I added 4 gigs of ram and now it's on a virtual Xeon chip. It's bizarre that the imaging also took the issue from the old box that is making the server take 15 minutes or longer to reboot. My team and I thought the network issue was a physical issue. As we see it's not the physical box but something in the operating system.

Sorry for the long response but I figured someone else may benefit from the issue I am having.


Maybe this is something I should know but how can I scedule a restart?
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
Fellow 2018
Expert of the Year 2017

Do you have vCenter or use Windows Task Scheduler
Create a batch file with the shutdown command and use task scheduler to schedule it
Use the windows task scheduler (through the control panel), or run the command AT like in:
AT 23:00 /every:M,T,W,Th,F "shutdown -r -f"


Thanks for the comments but I need the server restarted when it loses connectity. I am not sure when that is .  I think the idea of having the server restart if it doesn't get a reply ping from i.e. Google.com will be my best bet.
In this case, I recommend using a free network connection state monitoring tool like EMCO ping monitor. There are dozens of free ping tools, and you can configure a ping to www.google.com for instance (to detect when internet connectivity is lost). But in the case of EMCO, you can configure a customized action to execute in case of the alert is raised (you can configure the command shutdown -r -f). In the free edition you cannot customize the action to be executed for each host you monitor, but only a global action, but in your case it is enough, because you will only monitor internet (google.com).


Executing of a specified command-line script or executable file if connection to any monitored host is lost or restored. Configuring a time period when specified actions can be executed.

Sending notifications by e-mail at specified address in case if connection to host is lost or restored and if terminate action was executed. This feature can be used to send SMS notifications through Email-to-SMS service of mobile operator.