Shutdown Windows 8 from context menu

Accessing the Registry Editor from the Start screen is easy

So as I was creating my article outline I decided to take into account that there would be folks who would want the whole menu as I have created it and there would be folks who would like to be able to customize the menu to their own liking. For the former, I have created a REG file that can be used to instantaneously add my full Shut Down menu to your Windows 8 system. For the latter group of folks, I'll walk you, step-by-step, through the process of editing the registry to manually add the Shut Down menu to your Windows 8 system. Even if you opt to use the REG file method, I encourage you to read through the manual steps in case you later decide that you want customize the menu.

Make a backup

Before you begin, keep in mind that the Registry is vital to the operating system and changing it can be dangerous if you inadvertently make a mistake. As such, you should take a time to back up your system by creating a system image as I showed you in Restore Windows 8 with System Image Recovery. That way if anything goes awry, you can restore your system and get right back to work.


Before we get started let's take a generalized look at the procedure that we'll be performing as we create a custom Shut Down menu on Windows 8's Desktop context menu. To make this happen, we'll be working in two different sections of the registry.

You'll go to the HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\DesktopBackground\Shell key and create a new subkey called Shut Down. You'll then add several entries to this new subkey to configure it as a cascading menu on the Desktop's context menu. Essentially, this new subkey will create an outline of the cascading menu.

You'll then go to the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\CommandStore\shell subkey. Here, you'll define entries containing the command lines for each item that you want to add to the Shut Down menu.

As you may know, the registry in the Windows operating system is huge and navigating in it can be tricky. To make navigation easier, I'll show you how to use two features in the Registry Editor: Find and Favorites. With this in mind, let's jump in.

Launching the Registry Editor

To launch the Registry Editor in Windows 8, use the [Windows] + Q keystroke to access the Apps Search Settings page. Then, type Regedit in the text box and click Regedit.exe, as shown in Figure B. If you prefer, you can use the [Windows] + R keystroke to bring up the Run dialog box. Then, type Regedit in the Open text box and click OK.

Either way that you launch the Registry Editor, you'll see a User Account Control dialog box and will need to click the Yes button. You'll then see the Registry Editor.

Credit: Images by Greg Shultz for TechRepublic

By Greg Shultz

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.