Windows 8

Shutdown Windows 8 right from the desktop

The power options

This gallery is also available as a post in the Windows and Office Blog.

In the last couple of blog posts in the Windows and Office Blog, I've shown you how to boot Windows 8 straight to the desktop and add a Start button to the taskbar. These two techniques basically allow you to emulate a Windows 7 style interface in Windows 8 without having to use any third-party utilities. As you know, the Start menu in Windows not only provided you with a way to launch your application but also a way to shut down your computer. For example, in Windows 7 there is a Shut down as well as a pop-up menu that displays six other related options: Switch user, Log off, Lock, Restart, Sleep, and Hibernate.

In Windows 8, these options are spread out between the Power Charm and the context menu associated with your user picture on the Start screen, as shown in Figure A. Unfortunately, this new arrangement isn't convenient for everyone. I've heard numerous complaints about this as well as requests for the ability to shut down or restart the system to be put back on the desktop.

Credit: Images by Greg Shultz for TechRepublic

About

Greg Shultz is a freelance Technical Writer. Previously, he has worked as Documentation Specialist in the software industry, a Technical Support Specialist in educational industry, and a Technical Journalist in the computer publishing industry.

65 comments
remmeler
remmeler

I don't like to have to remember too many shortcuts to do the same thing. The one works both places and if you have some app like calculator, To do or Sticky Note up on your desktop Alt F4 will have to close each individually before it shuts down, so you would have to Alt F4 several times whereas with CTL ALT DEL it is just one time. Bonus - If you are loading a small app automatically at boot like a sticky Note on your desktop, guess what, you boot directly to desktop.

Neon Zeon
Neon Zeon

Shuting down Windows 8 from the desktop - Alt+F4 !!! Simple.

jcoons
jcoons

Great article. This non third party approach is great for getting use to W8 while still holding on to UI items we need for productivity (a security blanket so to speak) while transitioning. Life should be fun and being dumped into a whole new interface and way of thinking about our navigation is no cake walk for some (most normal ones anyway) users. Thanks Greg, I'm sure I'll use your many tips-n-tricks where they can add user comfort and relieve frustration.

harryhill2475
harryhill2475

Working with Students with limited know-how--or actually caring-I put two icon shortcuts on the Desktop: SHUT DOWN and RESTART. They both have keyboard commands if they want to use them.

techrepublic
techrepublic

Just set this up on a client's PC and thought I'd see what happened if he (accidentally or deliberately) closed the Shut down taskbar. Well, what I saw was that it was no longer available in the list and that the original folder in which I'd created the shortcuts to the various power options (including customising icons) had disappeared, too.

moganti
moganti

I feel Shutdown/Restart on right click menu on desktop is elegant as I read in some PC magazine. The following registry entries do the trick. The entries contain Lock Computer, Shutdown, Restart, Hibernate and Sleep. You can selectively add the functions. This also works in Windows 7. After adding the entries to registry, right click on the desktop back and select the shutdown or other options. [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\DesktopBackground\Shell\Lock Computer] "icon"="shell32.dll,-325" "Position"="Bottom" [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\DesktopBackground\Shell\Lock Computer\command] @="Rundll32 User32.dll,LockWorkStation" [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\DesktopBackground\Shell\Restart Computer] "icon"="shell32.dll,-221" "Position"="Bottom" [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\DesktopBackground\Shell\Restart Computer\command] @="shutdown.exe -r -t 15" [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\DesktopBackground\Shell\Shut Down Computer] "icon"="shell32.dll,-329" "Position"="Bottom" [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\DesktopBackground\Shell\Shut Down Computer\command] @="shutdown.exe -s -t 15" [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\DesktopBackground\Shell\Sleep Mode] "icon"="shell32.dll,-331" "Position"="Bottom" [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\DesktopBackground\Shell\Sleep Mode\command] @="rundll32.exe powrprof.dll,SetSuspendState" [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\DesktopBackground\Shell\Hibernate Computer] "icon"="shell32.dll,-16771" "Position"="Bottom" [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\DesktopBackground\Shell\Hibernate Computer\command] @="rundll32.exe powrprof.dll,SetSuspendState 0,1,0"

sysop-dr
sysop-dr

With your mouse click the desktop background (in desktop) Press + and up pops the shutdown dialog (standard one the same except window dressing since Windows 3.0) Why do people always try the most complicated things to do stuff? All of the short cut keays are there from all of the old windows versions including all of the alt shortcuts, ctrl shortcuts and the windows keys short cuts (Windows+m) for show desktop. Alt-tab works both in desktop and metro, and alt-f4 also closes metro apps as well. Remember that anything you would swipe with a finger also scrolls with the mouse wheel as well, such as the start screen, scrolling the mouse wheel moves the screen side to side. So my best advice for mouse and keyboard on Windows 8, use the mouse wheel and alt key shortcuts and you will be fine.

bobmackett
bobmackett

1) Open file explorer and find folder C:\Apps\pwr (see fig. pwr1) with icons created from Greg Shultz article: Shutdown Windows 8 right from the desktop http://www.techrepublic.com/photos/shutdown-windows-8-right-from-the-desktop/6396886?seq=2&tag=thumbnail-view-selector;get-photo-roto Note: you can leave the taskbar option as shutdown if you prefer. 2) Click on Name header to reorder icons (see fig. pwr2) 3) Click taskbar, click toolbars and New Toobar (see fig. pwr3) 4) In New Toolbar, find folder C:\Apps\pwr and type pwr and click Select Folder to make pwr option on taskbar (see fig. pwr4) 5) Click on >> beside pwr, click and hold shutdown icon to move it to the top of list. (see fig. pwr5 & pwr6) 6) Click on the toolbar separator to the left of pwr and drag it to the left (see fig. pwr7) with about half the icon visible. 7) Click on lock toolbar so that pwr icons do not reorder. Sorry! I can't figure out how to attached the figures referenced...

BeanerECMO
BeanerECMO

What are the short cut commands for 1) restart in safe mode and 2) restart in safe mode with networking?

debortolim
debortolim

easiest way is ctrl-alt-del at any time and select shutdown

myangeldust
myangeldust

Jensen Harris talks about deciding to make something that's familiar versus making something than expands on the original. (http://uxweek.com/2012/speakers/jensen-harris/) I don't think what he says is gospel, and I think he likes Toyotas more than any one person should, but he touches on the basic concept of changing what everyone is familiar with to something believed to make the original product (environment?) better or different enough to get more people using it. Check out the aforementioned link.

three6t
three6t

Why would I now seek any other workaround, this is so straightforward that primitive shutdown from mouse or keyboard Is now obsolete people just don't get it as now they are so used to shutdown from a start menu

brandane
brandane

Just do ALT+ F4 from the desktop, same as it has been since Windows 3.1.

djhays
djhays

My mother bought a laptop with win8 and no touch interface. I have been trying to find easy ways to help her use mouse [her favorite tool]. I am very grateful for sysop-dr's suggestions. I can teach these to her with no problem! I hope MSFT understands that a lot more should have been done to pass on simple ways of moving around -- not even touch could help us find the shutdown location. OMG!!! Sigh. I love win8; I am sorry these little difficulties are giving the OS and MSFT such bad press.

remmeler
remmeler

On regular Windows I have all the programs as shortcuts with an icon on the desktop. People say how difficult it is to get to the desktop. As soon as I finished the upgrade, I had a big tile that said Desktop. I then went to apps and made small tiles for my applications that I use. These look a lot like my old shortcuts on my regular desktop. So you either click desktop or click the application tile and you are now in desktop mode. Also my apps are in the lower bar for me to choose from just like on regular windows Isn't that an extra step? 1. I don't think so. 2. The system boots up in a fraction of the time it took my old windows, so I have time to click on desktop once.

remmeler
remmeler

I don't understand the problem. I just upgraded a system to Win 8 and I can mouse to the right corner and press power and shutdown from either the desktop or the active tile (metro) or whatever their calling it. So with the old start button I would have to click on it then click on turn off computer and then click on turn off or restart. It seems pretty much the same process.

harryhill2475
harryhill2475

I borrowed my SHUT DOWN and RESTART shortcuts from Win 7 which I generated. Put them on the Desktop and assigned Keyboard Shortcuts and Icons to both. If I remember, they are in System 32 for both. Same place in Win 7 and Win 8.

Engine Air
Engine Air

Is it W7 better than W8? It is not the question for me! I think Greg selflessly offers his hits and I very appreciate it.

FTAdmin
FTAdmin

Most modern PCs have the ability to go into a very low-power sleep mode and can wake easily by input or schedule. I don't know about other companies, but I have our systems set to do maintenance and such after hours and weekends. With that in mind, our PCs pretty much never shut down--no need to have a power button handy. Mobile devices also basically just sleep when not active. And then there's the whole thing of using physical button(s) (combinations) for powering down, as mentioned by someone else. So, other than shear personal preference, I don't see a particular need for a software power button. Personally, I really don't want a way to over-simply swap users and/or restart. That's something I prefer to leave as a task that requires particular intention and specific procedure, not a "click, click... opps!" Now, I do understand that some PCs will need a simple, fast way to swap users, such as a kiosk or similar massive-multi-user system, but those are special circumstances and will likely their own custom procedures for handling such things.

troymiller319
troymiller319

Apple users have constant changes made to OSX once a year and sometimes sooner and no one ever gripes about it. Sometimes these newer "versions" of OSX add key features and render older systems useless. Microsoft, on the other hand, changes a few things navigation wise and everyone is up in arms about it. Relax, rightclick the bottom left corner and everything is there people. left click the left corner and all of your most used apps are there. Dont trash the OS purely because you are refusing to accept minor changes in visual appearance.

rwnorton
rwnorton

I don't find any of this stuff hard to do in windows 8 - just different. I don't find it any harder than my first iPad, or Blackberry, or Android phone. I've been using Windows 8 for a few months now, with a mouse (I have yet to use it on a touch-screen, but am very curious to try it). I have to admit I'm still learning new things every week, thanks largely to blogs like this. However, I for one would not want to pre-judge things as "harder to do" until I've learned how to do them as intended within the O/S. More often than not, I've found that, once I know how to do them, they're really no harder than Windows 7 or earlier. Just different - but not everyone enjoys having to learn new stuff the way I do...

ITOdeed
ITOdeed

Windows 8. Evolution gone backwards.

arthomas152
arthomas152

What tiny amount of money did this save MS? For me it is an interesting way to learn how poorly ideas can be communicated and implemented. It is like watching Dilbert in a live survival tv show except it is my work PC. Not so happy that I have to type the script but I am SO grateful that Tech Republic is making this available. The 2 books I ordered just to get back to work have nothing to offer at this depth. Too bad we don't have a second, compatible competitor for MS. I can’t run the programming languages I want on Linux or Unix and I loathe Macs for the same reasons I am beginning to loathe this WinMess8 stuff. MS, I might be ignorant and impatient but that doesn't mean I'm stupid. I guess I should be happy I still have a 2D screen. 3D might tempt me to post Ballmer’s photo on the desktop just so I could thunk my finger on his nose to shut my PC down. I’d be tempted to call it Thunk the Clown Down Screen.

joe
joe

Windows 8 is just not right for desktop business use. square peg in a round hole syndrome.

ramnet
ramnet

I have been watching closely the comments of mainstream tech writers coming up with all these rather convoluted add-ins , process changes etc which when you analyse it for what its worth should have been the starting point for Win 8 development and included on Day 1. I am pretty tired of mainstream technology companies failing to listen to what the mainstream raft of users want and instead choosing to listen to the one percenters who if they had their way would force their views on the world. Windows has spent years educating all its users to use a startup and shutdown process - removing what is familiar and comforting is plain dumb and giving very unhappy users a good reason to go to Apple . Ballmer has to go and go now .

Broadoakestates
Broadoakestates

This smacks of a rushed rollout with flat edges and a chaotic assembly ... leaving us to add basic features like a start button....baaah humbug

vsandor
vsandor

A version of Windows that needs complex operations to do the simplest basics; now that's real progress.

subramaniamt
subramaniamt

i keep seeing posts focussing on bringing back the old behaviour ad wonder why. just move on folks. get used to the new way of doing things as we always did from DOS to windows.

billfranke
billfranke

I don't know about other computers, but the Acer Aspire 1 (netbook with Win 8 core) I just bought already has a shutdown button pinned to the task bar: it came that way. I click on it and get a list of what I want to do. Then I can choose from Sleep, Hibernate, Restart, and Shut Down. There's no Log Off icon. Having to scroll to the right with a bunch of gelatinous bouncing tile icons on the Start screen is a major pain. MS should eliminate that and allow users to choose to avoid a smartphone touchscreen interface if we want to. I really dislike having to be a slave to someone else's idea of what's good and bad.

myangeldust
myangeldust

In Windows 7 it's Start button > Shutdown. In Windows 8 it's Charms > Power > Shutdown. I guess all they need to do is figure out a way to shorten the process by one click. A Shutdown icon right in plain sight? Most of the non-geeks I know will be accidentally hitting that button at least once a day. Funny at the start but I can see that joke getting old quick. LOL

NerdHerder
NerdHerder

I really like how you made the options really slick in the taskbar but don't forget that a shutdown button already exists on Windows 8 devices. It's the hardware button which, by default, runs the shutdown command when you tap it. It's how I have taught people to shutdown their machines since Windows 95 (I think). The first poster also mentioned pressing Alt-F4 from the desktop. That is another good option. Both these shortcuts have worked for the last several versions of Windows.

WPee
WPee

Somewhere along the way we have LOST the ON/OFF button. Turning on & off a machine was once as simple and straight forward as a light switch. also does any one younger than me remember the keyboard key "Prt Scr" ? The "PrtScr" use to do something in the computer world.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Sure, we geeks do, but the average user figures the mouse is the 'easiest way to do it'. How many 'Windows for Beginners' classes teach keyboard shortcuts?

rwnorton
rwnorton

People are still used to a forced shut down using the power button, when windows would hang. Years ago, using the power button under any circumstances was nearly equivalent to a power failure, causing a "dirty" shut down - I.e. where files and programs were not closed in an orderly manner before the system shut down. (Even today, you can force it down by holding the power button until it stops.). This could cause file and program damage, possibly even preventing the system from booting again. Many IT Deartments instructed their users to NEVER shut down using the power button. In fact, doing so was likely the single most common reason for system failures, when users got impatient and shut down systems this way during Microsoft Updates to the O/S! For some time now, however, systems have been configurable for what they do when the power button is briefly pressed. I believe that on many laptops, vendors have set this to put the computer in a sleep or suspended state. Most desktops probably come with this configured to shut down in an orderly fashion. BUT truth is you can still Force a shut down by pressing and holding the power button, and unless the system is truly "hung", its still not a good idea. Before using the power button to shut down, be sure you know what the power button is configured to do (power off, suspend, or sleep), and make sure you know the difference between pressing the power button briefly, and holding it down.

remmeler
remmeler

Alt F4 does work, but you must click on the empty part of the screen. If your cursor happens to be on say calculator or calendar or some other displayed information on your screen, it will either do nothing or shut down that particular area or program. Just something that might confuse people. I don't necessarily close my calendar and To do list or my google gadget area when I shut off my computer.

remmeler
remmeler

I just very generally moused over to the right corner (not even really all the way to the corner) and it gave me the option for power and I turned it off.

JJFitz
JJFitz

I manage a few seminar rooms where the "room computer" is located in a locked AV closet. Shutting down one of the seminar room computers requires one of my techs to go to the AV closet and press the power button to turn it back on for the next presenter. I know you can get an IP switched power strip but my techs are not always available to turn on the computer physically or remotely. We manage a whole campus. No matter what I did (posting signs or changing the desktop wallpaper to say "Do not shut this computer off. Please log off and leave the computer running), it was second nature for the user to Click start > Shutdown. Then I replaced the shutdown button with a log off button for everyone but the local administrators. problem solved

Trentski
Trentski

You will have to run through hoops to do the most basic of tasks

journeyman2001
journeyman2001

The idea behind a GUI is to make it as efficient as possible so that your users can get what they want to do done. Not go backwards to a Windows 3 type GUI. If anything, I'd prefer to have a desktop type environment on a tablet (yes, I know we don't have it... yet), because it would be an efficient use of space and to be able to see/use more than one app at once.

Daddy Tadpole
Daddy Tadpole

For many years, we have been given dire warnings of the consequences of shutting down improperly. Most non-geek users won't know how the button has been configured. On the subject of shortcuts, command lines and so on, software suppliers and journalists could make a bigger effort at informing users. In particular, the shortcuts should always be be indicated when the mouse is used to select a drop-down of other menu item.

DT2
DT2

In Win7 one could create a shortcut on the desktop and enter this in the target field: C:\Windows\System32\shutdown.exe /s /t 0 Clicking on the resulting icon will perform a clean shutdown.

BeanerECMO
BeanerECMO

Alt "PrtScr" copies the active window to the clipboard and you can paste the copy into most applications. Ctrl "PrtScr" copies the display to the clipboard and you can paste the copy wherever, too. You can put it into PowerPoint and edit it or some other imaging s/w program. BTW, I'm 68.

mijcar
mijcar

PrtScr is on my keyboard and it still works. Press it, open MS Word and click Control-V and you have an image of the desktop. Same for Acrobat and Photoshop.

JJFitz
JJFitz

It takes a screen shot. Then you can paste it into MS Paint. I used to use it until Windows included the Snipping Tool.

SteveTheBee
SteveTheBee

I regularly change the power options for my customers so that pressing the power button shuts the machine down rather than putting it to sleep.

myangeldust
myangeldust

How did you replace the shutdown button with a log off button? I have a similar problem with our presentation computers.

JJFitz
JJFitz

where we are expected to support various operating systems. Windows 8 is just one of them.

myangeldust
myangeldust

LOL! You're right? Another reason to get rid of the contradictory Start button.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

WPee is referring to the original use of the Prt Scr key. Back in the text-only mainframe days, pressing that key sent the characters displayed on the screen directly to the printer. Hence the name 'PRINT Screen', not 'Capture Screen' or 'Buffer Screen'. The key will still direct the screen contents to a printer, but only in terminal emulation programs.

electrojolt
electrojolt

I have been saying the same thing... just use the Computer's built in power button. either people have tunnel vision, or they want to deter people from windows 8 since it is a threat to other systems.. I keep reading about all these types of complaints and most are just not valid.