How to restart or shutdown a computer remotely

Man working remotely using remote desktop software to restart computer remotely


#GoToGetsIT: This article is part of an ongoing series from GoTo’s thought leaders on the frontlines: Our Solutions Consultants deeply understand our customers’ unique challenges and connect the right solutions to meet their goals using GoTo technology. Here, they share their industry knowledge on what it takes to help businesses everywhere thrive in a remote or hybrid world.


The ability to restart or shutdown a remote computer is a remote access feature that usually comes standard in remote monitoring and management (RMM) and remote support solutions. IT agents can proactively manage a remote computer and restart it when necessary, using unattended access in an RMM solution, without the end user’s involvement. Remote support, on the other hand, is more reactive in that it’s on-demand remote support. During a live support session with an end user, the agent may need to remotely restart a machine for troubleshooting or for updates to take effect.

Why is remote access important?

Remote work is here to stay, according to a recent report by WFH Research. In fact, today, nearly 30% of all work is done remotely despite a vigorous back-to-the-office movement last spring. What’s more, 63% of high-growth companies use a “productivity anywhere” hybrid model. With the remote and hybrid model now very much a part of “business as usual,” remote access support software has become more critical than ever.

Simply put, remote access software enables IT agents to access and control computers from a distance. This gives them the ability to restart a computer remotely, to troubleshoot issues, perform maintenance, and complete tasks that would otherwise require physical access to the computer. Remote access eliminates the time and cost to travel to the end user’s site, which benefits the bottom line and use of resources.

Another benefit? Faster issue resolutions. Since the agent can view what’s occurring on the computer, they can easily resolve the matter. They don’t have to base their troubleshooting on what a user says, nor do they have to instruct the end user—someone who may not be tech savvy.

Why remote restart or shutdown?

The ability to restart a computer remotely, or shutdown a computer remotely can be a game-changer for many situations, like when:

  • Troubleshooting and maintenance
  • Security
  • Power management
  • Convenience

In fact, whenever a device is acting up or needs some sort of update, a restart is in order. Yet end users often don’t take this step, which can lead to problems. Technicians should be able to remotely restart the device when appropriate. A seamless remote restart can happen during an on-demand remote support session, without losing the session connection, for first-call resolutions, or during an unattended access session using RMM tools.

How do you restart the computer remotely and shutdown the computer remotely?

Here’s how to do a remote restart or shutdown using most remote access, remote support, and RMM tools, including GoTo Resolve, the all-in-one IT management and support solution.

1. Connect to the Remote Computer:

  1. Launch the remote access software on your computer.
  2. Choose the endpoint you would like to connect to.
  3. Click the "Connect" button to establish a remote connection. Enter the login credentials for the remote computer.

2. Access the Start Menu:

  1. Once the remote connection is established, the remote computer's desktop will appear on your screen.
  2. Click the "Start" button on the remote computer's desktop to access the Start menu.

3. Access the Power Options:

  1. In the Start menu, click the "Power" button to access the power options.

4. Select the Restart or Shut Down Option:

  1. In the power options menu, select either the "Restart" or "Shut Down" option depending on which action you want to perform.

5. Confirm Your Action:

  1. A confirmation window will appear asking if you are sure you want to restart or shut down the remote computer.
  2. Click "OK" to confirm your action.

6. Wait for the Remote Computer to Restart or Shut Down:

  1. Once you confirm your action, the remote computer will begin to restart or shut down.
  2. Wait for the process to complete before disconnecting from the remote connection.

7. Disconnect the Remote Connection:

  1. Once the remote computer has restarted or shut down, you can disconnect the remote connection from your computer.
  2. Click the "End session" button in the remote access software to end the remote connection.

Fact is, restarting or shutting down a computer remotely is a quick and simple process. Yet it’s important to remember that not all remote support software is alike. GoTo Resolve, for instance, is a unified platform. This means that an IT agent doesn’t have to jump from one tool to the next to provide on-demand remote support, proactive monitoring and management, or even ticketing.

This unified approach is more efficient on many levels. Whereas IT teams or managed service providers (MSPs) with multiple tools in their tech stack must pay multiple vendors for various platforms, GoTo Resolve encompasses multiple features and capabilities in a single platform, including remote access. Everything that an IT professional would need to manage, monitor and support the IT infrastructure for remote employees is in one solution. Agents work within one dashboard versus having to navigate multiple windows or tabs—saving considerable time and effort, which translates to cost savings and a better use of resources.