How To Shut Down Windows 8

Martin Brinkmann
Mar 1, 2012
Windows, Windows 8, Windows tips

With the start menu gone for good in Microsoft's upcoming operating system Windows 8, some users have run into problems shutting down the PC properly. The shutdown button, originally attached to the start menu, has been moved by Microsoft to the new start screen. It is not directly visible on the screen though, and it might take users some time to find its new location.

Move the mouse cursor over the charms button in the lower right corner of the Metro UI start screen. Click the settings button there on the Charms menu, and there the Power button. This displays a context menu with the three options Sleep, Shut Down and Restart.

metro shut down

Quite a few alternatives are available. You can for instance use Ctrl-Alt-Del to bring up an administrative screen that lets you lock the computer, switch a user, sign out or open the task manager. The lower right corner of the screen displays the same power button that you see on the Start screen. A click opens the same menu with the shut down option included.

The Windows-i shortcut displays the Settings menu with a power button on both the desktop and the Start screen of the operating system.

windows i shutdown

A fourth option lets you define what happens when you press the power and sleep button, and when you close the lid if you are using a mobile computer. The system is configured by default to put the computer in sleep mode on all actions. This can be changed individually to shut down the PC instead. You can configure the PC to shut down when you close the lid or press the power button.

power button shutdown

The fifth option is a command that you can run in the following way. Press Windows-r to open the run box, and run the command shutdown -s -t 0. It may be impractical for you to run the command every time you want to shut down your computer. You can create a shortcut for the command to shut down whenever you double-click the shortcut.

Right-click your desktop and select New > Shortcut from the options. Enter shutdown -s -t 0 as the command and follow the wizard. The shortcut should now be ready for use on the desktop. (Thanks Caschy for the inspiration)


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  1. Casey said on March 6, 2013 at 2:40 pm

    I’ve used many operating systems over the years – DOS, UNIX, Windows, Linux, OS X, and others that have fallen by the wayside. This release of Windows is absolutely appalling and the first time I have ever needed to Google how to shut down the computer from a graphical user interface. I also had no idea, when Bing launched full screen, how the hell to get out of it. Thank god I tried this in a VM or I would have been hard-rebooting the computer several times in order to get to a web browser. I’m not sure what the big fascination is with an overabundance of whitespace, huge fonts, and boring rectangles everywhere. In my opinion this is not only counterintuitive, but the ugliest GUI I have ever seen. Now I’ll by no means claim that *nix UI’s have been all that great, and generally stick to the command line, but do think that this is something that Apple has gotten very very right. Despite whatever other criticism you may have of them, their interface is intuitive, and only grows moreso over time, without sneaking in huge confusion points like this. I shouldn’t have to force myself to use a painful interface for months in order to make it feel “natural”. It simply should inherently, and that’s what Apple has been solid at. I wish Microsoft would gear their products around user experience and efficiency like they did through the 90’s.

  2. Neil Katz said on April 15, 2012 at 12:50 am

    Seems like some people just do not like change. For those who cannot handle a different interface, stick with windows 7. It is not difficult to shut down Windows 8 from the Metro, the Win Key + I and click on Shut Down, or Power off, or something like that. The mouse strokes are equally easy – just different. Maybe those people should have stuck with Windows 3.0. Not everything about Windows 8 is perfect by any means, but it is different, in some ways very different. Either give it a chance, try it for a few months, not a few days, or just stick with what you know.

  3. Eric said on April 12, 2012 at 9:25 pm

    One more thing… Why does just about any function in Windows require instructions?

  4. Eric said on April 12, 2012 at 9:23 pm

    What a piece of garbage. I’ve used Windows on a daily basis from 1995 to present, but broke down and bought a MacBook in 2008. It was one of those moments, after playing with my Mac for only 15 minutes, when I scratched my head and asked myself, “Why was a using Windows all this time?”. I felt stupid. After 15 minutes of trying out Windows 8 (and another 15 minutes trying to figure how to shut the f’ing think off), I can’t believe of MSFT just doesn’t “get it”. As one poster eloquently stated, “The simple fact that there is a need for a tutorial on how to shutdown Windows 8 is a good indication of interface problems…”. You think? I was actually giving MSFT a shot a getting me back as a customer with Windows 8. Thanks, MSFT for letting me try this beta out before I dropped a dime on your “turd-ware”

  5. Rizonesoft said on March 4, 2012 at 10:17 am

    Microsoft removed the Start Menu from Windows 8. It seems like they are only catering for the tablet market. Rizonesoft decided to petition Microsoft to at least give us a choice between the different interfaces. However, for this petition to be successful we need a few million signatures; this seems impossible, but can be done. You can go to for more information. Only those who can see the invisible can accomplish the impossible.

  6. Radrick said on March 3, 2012 at 4:59 am

    Hiding the Power-Off button/icon is ridiculous. In the past I have added shortcuts for this action (for my users) right on the Desktop or on the TaskBar/QuickLaunch toolbar just to make this action very obvious. It needs to be obvious. If not obvious, users will just press the physical power button on the machine from frustration.
    These days, I guess that is not such a bad idea if the machine is setup to hibernate when that button is pressed.
    With my pre-XP experience, I have never encourage my users to press the physical Power button/switch. Maybe with the huge hard disks available today, MS wants users to push the Power button (just like your TV)! Hibernation must be the expected norm.

  7. jose said on March 3, 2012 at 1:16 am

    thanks for the help not know how to turn off my computer thanks

  8. Bret said on March 2, 2012 at 8:48 pm

    Thanks for the how-to, Martin. Too bad it is so ridiculous that Microsoft hid the simplest of functions.

    This is a perfect example of Microsoft taking something simple like shutting down or restarting and making it difficult with obstacles in the way. It’s all because *they* think they know what’s better for us than we do. I wish there was some way to make them realize they’re living in their own Microsoft bubble where hollow-heads rule and logic has disappeared.

  9. Farmers said on March 2, 2012 at 5:19 pm

    The old Alt-F4 key combination still works too for shutdown, from the desktop.

  10. 23 said on March 2, 2012 at 5:11 am

    how can I turn back the windows start menu?

  11. JeffB said on March 2, 2012 at 4:30 am

    I have to agree. I’ve been using Windows since 3.1 and this is the first time I had to ask someone how to shut down my computer.

    I don’t use a tablet and I’ve never used a smartphone (I know I’m in the minority here) so I think I’ll just stick with Windows 7; I should be getting updates for it for another 3 to 5 years and that will do me fine for now. I build and repair computers for a living and have been using them since the halo-con days of DOS; I can just image what people like my parents and my brothers, who were barely able to get around in XP are going to think of this new UI.

  12. Dude said on March 2, 2012 at 4:16 am

    I I hate Windows 8 and I heat Microsoft.

  13. Jacknife said on March 2, 2012 at 2:00 am

    The mockup theme that did the rounds last week is a million times better than any of this. While this flat look looks great on a Phone, it really doesn’t translate that well to a full screen.

    This could well be the new Vista.

  14. John Nagle, Silicon Valley, CA said on March 1, 2012 at 11:37 pm

    Interfaces with invisible buttons are getting out of hand. Facebook is notorious for this; the “x” for making an ad go away only appears if you mouse over the white space to the upper right of the ad. Google does it in a few places, and they’ve also removed the “log out” button. (You now log out of Google by clicking on your login name, which brings up a menu. This is not obvious, and there’s now a Google support page on logging out.)

  15. ilev said on March 1, 2012 at 8:08 pm

    Does the shutdown process close all applications and create system restore point like in previous versions on Windows ?

  16. Claude LaFreniere said on March 1, 2012 at 6:53 pm

    5 way to shutdown W 8! Danke schön… :)

  17. Nerdebeu said on March 1, 2012 at 5:49 pm

    I dont have sleep button on VM. Is it normal ?

  18. Nebulus said on March 1, 2012 at 3:44 pm

    The simple fact that there is a need for a tutorial on how to shutdown Windows 8 is a good indication of interface problems…

    1. Gary said on March 1, 2012 at 10:22 pm

      Don’t forget, there was confusion a long time ago on how to shutdown windows.

      They put Shutdown in the “START” menu afterall.

      When people get used to it it won’t be a problem anymore. I figured it out by just playing with the interface for a few minutes.

    2. bastik said on March 1, 2012 at 8:04 pm

      I wanted to write the same. There’s something wrong, when you have to search for tasks like that. And it’s really totally wrong when there’s a blog that has an article on “How to shut down windows 8”.

    3. David Zakarias-Welch said on March 1, 2012 at 4:34 pm

      I don’t think I can begin to put into words how rubbish this new gui + desktop interface is.
      I may have to ditch windows full for osx if this is where they are heading

      1. bastik said on March 1, 2012 at 8:09 pm

        I don’t like the interface, too. It doesn’t look that far from Windows 7, but somehow it’s strange. I’m sure there are nice features and M$ made decent decisions on how things have to work and look like, but I’ll don’t like what I have seen an heard so far, so I won’t install Windows 8. Not even for free.

      2. Martin Brinkmann said on March 1, 2012 at 8:16 pm

        In my opinion, they should have merged the two interfaces. Update the Windows Desktop to include much what Metro has to offer, but with a taskbar at least and the standard desktop way of working with the PC. Some new features, like the direct search when you start to type in Metro are awesome.

  19. Carsten Knobloch said on March 1, 2012 at 3:44 pm

    WIN +W! :)

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on March 1, 2012 at 3:50 pm

      Windows-W öffnet bei mir nur ein Settingsmenü, von Shutdown ist nix zu sehen.

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