If you've got an older, slower PC, waiting for it to start up in the morning can be really tedious. What lots of people don’t know is that with a bit of tinkering you can actually set up most PCs to start up at set time each day, so they're already booted up by the time you sit down at your desk.
In this guide we'll show you how to do this by editing some settings in your computer's core settings, called the BIOS. We’ll also show you how to create a Windows scheduled task to automatically shut down your PC again in the evening.
The first part of this guide does require some PC knowledge, so may not be suitable for novice users.
Step 1: Enter your computer's BIOS set-up screen
Unfortunately scheduling your computer to switch itself on is not quite as simple a task as it should be.
To do it you'll need to access your computer's BIOS. This is a basic menu system that's built into your computer's main circuit board, or the motherboard as it's known.
Not every computer’s BIOS supports this feature and the only way to really find out if yours does is to check for yourself.
Start by shutting down your computer completely. Click Start and select Shutdown from the menu. Once your computer has fully shutdown turn it on again and start tapping the F2 and Del keys alternatively until you enter the BIOS set-up screen.
The method of accssing the BIOS may vary, so we advise checking your laptop or PC's manual first.
Step 2: Find Power Management
Your computer's mouse won't work in the BIOS setup screen, so you'll have to use the arrow keys as well as the Shift, Tab and Enter keys to move around and manipulate the menus.
Look for an Option called Power Management or something similar. If it's not present then your computer may not support automatic boot-up. If it is shown, select it and hit Enter.
Step 3: Enable the right setting
In the Power Management menu look for an option that says something like 'Schedule Start', 'Resume by Alarm' or 'RTC Resume'. On our PC it was listed as the last of these.
RTC stands for real time clock and refers to your PC's built-in clock that's powered by a battery on the motherboard. You need to change the 'Resume by RTC' setting - or whatever it's called in your BIOS - from 'Disabled' to 'Enabled'.
Step 4: Schedule the start-up time
Once this setting is enabled you should see extra options appear within the BIOS to allow you to set the day and time you want your PC to start up automatically.
We've set the day to 'Everyday' and the time to '8:30'. The result is that our PC starts up every morning at 8.30am. Once you've entered these settings you need to save the Changes and exit the BIOS. You usually do this by pressing the F10 key on your keyboard, but check the instructions shown onscreen to find out what key you need to press on your computer to Save and Exit.
Step 5: Create a shutdown task
While switching on your computer automatically is quite tricky, setting it up to turn off automatically is a good deal easier. All you have to do is create a shutdown task in Window Task Scheduler.
To open the Task Scheduler click the Start button, select Control Panel, click System and Security, select Administrative Tools, and then double-click on Task Scheduler. In the window that appears click on Create Basic Task.
Step 6: Setting the shutdown time
Now in the Create Basic Task window enter 'Shutdown' as the name for your task and click Next.
Select Daily - Next and then enter the time you want the shutdown to start at - say 6:30 - and click Next again.
Choose 'Start a Program' as the task you want to perform and hit Next.
Under 'Program/script:' enter 'shutdown' and in the 'Add arguments (optional):' box type '/s', as that's the command to shutdown Windows. Click Next one more time and you're done.
Just make sure you've saved and closed all your documents each evening before the shutdown time arrives and the PC switches itself off.