How to Shutdown Windows 8

I find it inane, almost roll-on-the-floor-funny, that I have to write an article about shutting down a Windows computer.  Why did Microsoft have to complicate things! Grrr.

I’m going to give you three different ways to shutdown your Windows 8 PC.

  • Keyboard Shortcut
  • Shutdown Shortcut
  • The PC Settings Way

1. Keyboard shortcut

The fastest way to shutdown, restart, or sleep your Windows 8 PC is to:

  • Go to the Windows Desktop.  (If you’re not already there press the Windows Key + d)
  • Press Alt + F4

I dialog box appears with a drop down box of shutdown options.

Shutdown Windows 8 with a Shortcut Key

2. Shutdown Shortcut

Another way to shutdown the computer is to create a shutdown shortcut so we can turn your PC off with a single click.  Then, we’ll pin it to the Taskbar for easy access.

  • Right click on a blank part of the traditional Windows Desktop, mouse over New then click Shortcut in the menu.
  • In the shortcut creation box, enter one of the below commands (also called locations) for the type of button you want to create
To Shutdown enter this location: shutdown.exe -s -t 00
To Restart enter this location: shutdown.exe -r -t 00
To Sleep enter this location: rundll32.exe powrprof.dll,SetSuspendState 0,1,0

Enter the Windows 8 shutdown command

Click Next, name the Shortcut then choose Finish

Now right click the shortcut you just created and choose Properties

In the shortcut tab click the Change Icon button near the bottom to find a better icon on your system.  I got mine for free from the Icon Archive.  I just clicked the green Download ICO button and saved it to my computer.

Now try to change the shutdown icon.  When you try to change it for the first time you’ll get this error:

The file C:\Windows\System32\shutdown.exe contains no icons.  Choose an icon from the list or specify a different file.

Windows 8 change icon error

Click OK, the message is harmless.  It’s just telling you that there’s currently no icon available. Browse to the icon you downloaded from the IconArchive and click OK.

Windows 8 change icon dialog box

Back on the desktop, right click your new icon and choose choose Pin to Taskbar.

Windows 8 Shutdown Icon in Taskbar

3. PC Settings Way

I don’t know what else to call this method.

  • Press the Windows key + i to open PC settings
  • Click the Power Button in the bottom right corner
  • Choose Sleep, Shut down, or Restart

Shutdown Windows 8

The Bottom Line

It is 100% lame that Microsoft has virtually coerced its users to create shortcut icons to avoid wasting time and frustration trying to shutdown a Windows 8 PC.  Fortunately, the above methods work.  And hopefully when Windows 8.1 is released in two weeks the shutdown process will get easier.

Update (03/28/14): Windows 8.1 Update 1 is expected to make it easier to shutdown the computer.


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Posted in How To, Windows, Windows 8 Tagged with: