Outage - Do you have a planned outage process?

For unplanned outages, see Outage - Do you have an unplanned outage process?

If your servers are down or have to go down during business hours you should notify the users at least 15 minutes beforehand so you will not get 101 people all asking you if the computer is down.

For short outages (under 15 minutes) that only affect only a few people (under 5 people), or are outside of business hours, then IM is the best method. If you use Microsoft Teams or Skype, a quick message will do.

Note: If they are not online on Teams or Skype, then they can't complain that they were not warned.

For extended or planned outages, or if you have a larger number of users (50+), email is the suggested method.


If you send an email it is a good idea to tell the user a way to monitor the network themselves. Eg. Software solutions like SCOM or WhatsUp Gold.

Include a "To myself". It gives visibility to others who are interested in what needs to be done to fix the problem and makes it easier to remember to send the 'done' email. E.g. "done - CRM is alive again".


Immediately before the scheduled downtime, check for logged in users, file access, and database connections.


Open 'Windows Task Manager' (Run > taskmgr) and select the 'Users' tab. Check with users if they have active connections, then have them log off.

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Figure: Connected users can be viewed in Task Manager


Open 'Computer Management' (Run > compmgmt.msc), then 'System Tools > Shared Folders'. Check 'Session' and 'Open Files' for user connections.

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Figure: Computer Management 'Open Files' View


Open SQL Server Management Studio on the server. Connect to the local SQL Server. Expand 'Management' and double-click 'Activity Manager'.

Figure: SQL Management Studio 'Active Connections' View

Once these have been checked for active users, and users have logged off, maintenance can be carried out.

Restarts should only be performed during the following time periods

  1. Between 7am and 7:05am
  2. Between 1pm and 1:05pm
  3. Between 7pm and 7:05pm

If a scheduled shutdown is required, use the PsShutdown utility from Microsoft's Sys Internals page.

Always reply 'Done' when you finish the task.

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