Simple ways to shut down Windows 8

When the Create Shortcut wizard prompts you, enter the command line to shut down window

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

After a recent discussion with a friend of mine about getting used to using the [Windows] key on the keyboard in Windows 8 instead of pining away for the Start button, my friend asked about shutting down Windows. As the discussion heated up in a friendly manner, he snarkily said, "There's no shut down key on the keyboard!" As a quick retort, I said "Well, there can be!"

I then told him that using a keyboard with programmable hot keys, one could easily configure a key on the keyboard to Shut down Windows 8. Even without such a keyboard, a plain old desktop shortcut can be configured to respond to a keyboard shortcut. As the discussion evolved, I also pointed out that you can shut down Windows 8 using the power button on your desktop PC or closing the lid on a laptop.

Later, I realized that while I had covered several ways to shut down Windows 8, I had not written an article about these techniques.

As you may remember, in How do I shut down Windows 8, Mark Kaelin showed you how to create shutdown shortcut that you can put on the desktop, the taskbar and on the Start screen. (While Mark's article was written during the Windows 8 Consumer Preview stage, the technique is still valid.) In Add a Shutdown menu to the Windows 8 desktop, I showed you how to recreate a reasonable facsimile of the Shut down pop-up menu on Windows 8’s taskbar. Then, in Integrate a custom Shutdown menu into the Windows 8 Desktop context menu, I showed you how to how to add a very nice shut down menu to the desktop context menu.

However, shutting down Windows 8 can be simplified to just pressing a key on your keyboard, pressing a button on your computer, or closing the lid on your laptop. In this edition of the Windows Desktop Report, I'll show you how.

Using a shortcut

Since not everyone has a keyboard with programmable hot keys, I'll start with the shortcut method. In the article about integrating a Shut Down menu into the Desktop context menu, I showed you a table containing eight command lines that perform all the options typically associated with terminating an active session. For your convenience, these eight command lines are shown in Table A.

Table A: Command lines that perform all the options typically associated with terminating an active session


Command line


Shutdown -r -f -t 00

Shut Down

Shutdown -s -f -t 00

Hybrid Shut Down

Shutdown -s -f -t 00 -hybrid


Rundll32.exe powrprof.dll,SetSuspendState Sleep


Shutdown -h


Rundll32 User32.dll,LockWorkStation

Sign Off

Shutdown -l

Switch Users


While you can use any or all of those command lines with this technique, I'll just stick with the Shut Down command for this example. So, if you right-click on the Desktop and select the New | Shortcut command, you can create a shortcut using Shut Down command line, as shown in Figure A.

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.