I find this function very useful for automatically turning off my Windows computer after a long, unattended MATLAB calculation is complete. Of course, the usual issues with Windows processes occasionally refusing to halt emerges, but when MATLAB is the only "serious" process executing, I find that the SHUTDOWN function almost always works in turning off the computer. The system shudown command is executed with the appropriate options to force any running applications to close, so be sure so save your data and close other applications before beginning your unattended MATLAB calculation (and design your MATLAB calculation to save its own data before terminating). I've used this function myself with no problems, but as always, there are no warranties; use at your own risk.
Note: you can use this function BEFORE starting your calculation, by estimating the required execution time, or you can use this function AFTER the calculation (recommended) by calling it when your calculation is complete.
Note: If you change your mind, you can use this command to ABORT a shutdown as well. (Use "help shutdown" for more information.)
Michael Kleder, Oct 2005