Reboot a Windows 2003 Server remotely without remote desktop

Most, if not all system administrators with a Windows 2003 server machine under their control has had the unpleasant experience of needing to reboot a server in the middle of the night or while they are hundreds of miles away from the data center. Every once in awhile, remote desktop may not be desirable or available and the server still needs to be rebooted. I present a method to reboot a Windows 2003 Server remotely without Remote Desktop.

Open a command prompt:

click start, navigate to  run > type cmd.exe and press enter

For this example I will assume the IP address of your server is

Create a RPC connection to

net use \\

You will need to authenticate using an administrator account:

The password or user name is invalid for \\ the user name for ‘’ : administrator

Enter the password for password

The command completed successfully.

Then if you issue the following command, windows will shutdown and the server will restart (note: -f will force a reboot, you may not need it):

shutdown -r -f -m \\

This method of rebooting has saved me many late night trips to the datacenter when Remote Desktop acts up.

Have fun!


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