How to Make Your PC Automatically Turn On on a Schedule

How to Make Your PC Automatically Turn On on a Schedule
An alarm clock next to a computer keyboard and mouse.

Do you always boot your computer at the same time each day? You can have it automatically power on at a time of your choice so it’s ready to go when you sit down in front of it.

This may seem unnecessary with modern PCs that boot quickly, but we love automating tasks. This could be useful to have your PC automatically boot in the middle of the night to run downloads at off-hours, too.

Look for an Option in Your PC’s BIOS or UEFI

This option is available on many PCs, but not all of them. Whether this option is available (and what it looks like) depends on your PC’s hardware.

To find the option, you’ll need to visit your PC’s UEFI or BIOS settings screen. (UEFI is the modern replacement for the traditional PC BIOS.) To access it, restart your computer and press the appropriate key during the boot process—it’s often F11, Delete, or Esc. It may be displayed on your computer during the boot-up process or your PC may boot too quickly to display the screen.

On some PCs, you may instead have to select a “UEFI Firmware Settings” option under Troubleshoot > Advanced Options on Windows 10’s advanced boot options screen. Hold the “Shift” key while clicking the “Restart” option in Windows 10 to access the boot options.

For more information on how to access the UEFI or BIOS settings screen, consult your computer’s manual. If you assembled your own PC, consult the motherboard’s manual.

The UEFI FIrmware Settings option on Windows 10's advanced boot options screen.

In the UEFI or BIOS settings screen, look for an option that will boot your PC on a schedule. On an HP PC we have, the option was under Advanced > BIOS Power-On.

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Here, we can choose a power-on time and which days of the week it applies to.

BIOS Power-On options on an HP computer.

The available options and what they’re called will depend on your PC. The option won’t be available on all PC configurations, so your PC may not offer it.

For example, Lifehacker‘s David Murphy found this option at Advanced Settings > APM Configuration > Power On By RTC. (Those acronyms refer to “Advanced Power Management” and “Real-Time Clock,” respectively.) You may have to do some digging in the setup screen to find it.

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How to Log In and Run Programs Automatically

If you want to save extra time—or ensure your PC runs specific applications and tasks when it boots—you can change some extra settings.

To have your PC automatically sign into the Windows desktop when it boots, you can set Windows 10 to sign in to an account automatically. This option has some security drawbacks, but it’s available and it’s your decision whether you want to use it.

You can also have Windows automatically start any program when you sign in. Here’s how to add your own preferred programs to the Windows startup process.

With Windows set to start, sign in, and launch programs automatically at a specific time, you can have your PC do more than just boot automatically—you can automatically accomplish and start tasks at a specific time.

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The "Automatically sign in" options window on Windows 10.

How to Make Your PC Wake From Sleep Automatically

If there’s no option to enable automatic startup in your PC’s BIOS or UEFI setting screen, you can have your PC wake from sleep automatically. This is also useful if you put your PC to sleep when you aren’t using it.

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To set this up, use the Task Scheduler to create a task that wakes your computer at a customizable time. You’ll have to enable “wake timers” in Windows, too, or the task won’t activate. Once you have, you can put your PC to sleep and it’ll wake at your chosen time.

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Lucila is a freelance writer and lifelong learner with an ongoing curiosity to study new things. She enjoys checking out the latest grammar books and writing about video games more than anything else. If she's not running through Colorado’s breathtaking landscape, she's indoors hidden away in her cozy game room trolling noobs and leveling up an RPG character. She is a Final Fantasy IX apologist (although she loves them all… except XV), coffee aficionado, and a bit of a health nut. Lucila graduated from Western Kentucky University with a B.A. in English Literature with a minor in Creative Writing.

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