How To Shut Down Windows 8

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windows 8 start screen icon   How To Shut Down Windows 8Windows 8 brings the biggest changes to the familiar Windows interface since Windows 95. The Shut Down option isn’t where you’d expect to find it – in fact, the entire classic Start menu and Start button have been removed. There are a variety of ways to shut down Windows 8, and you’ll need to know at least one of them if you want to shut down a Windows 8 PC.

The Restart and Sleep options are located in the same place as the Shut Down option. Microsoft clearly doesn’t want people shutting down their system – Microsoft wants our systems to go into standby mode, much like a smartphone or tablet sits in standby mode and instantly springs back to life when we press its power button.

Use The Charms

To shut down Windows 8 from the charms menu anywhere on your system, mouse over the bottom right or top right corners of your screen, and then move the mouse towards the icons on the right side of your screen. The charms menu will appear. This works in the “modern” metro-style environment as well as on the desktop. You can also press WinKey+C to open the charms bar.

Click the Settings charm when the charms bar appears. You can also press WinKey+I to go directly to open the Settings charm from anywhere in Windows. (Check out our list of Windows 8 keyboard shortcuts for more handy shortcuts.)

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windows 8 charms bar   How To Shut Down Windows 8

Click the power button at the bottom of the Settings pane and select Shut down to shut down.

windows 8 settings charm shut down   How To Shut Down Windows 8


From anywhere in Windows, press Ctrl+Alt+Delete, click the power button at the bottom right corner of the screen, and select Shut Down.

windows 8 ctrl alt delete shut down   How To Shut Down Windows 8

Sign Out & Shut Down

You can shut down Windows 8 from the login screen after signing out. To sign out, open the Start screen (press the Windows key or move your mouse to the bottom left corner of your screen and click), click your name, and select Sign Out.

windows 8 sign out   How To Shut Down Windows 8

Click the power button at the bottom right corner of the screen and select Shut down.

windows 8 log out and shut down   How To Shut Down Windows 8

Alt+F4 From Desktop

You can shut down Windows directly from the desktop. First, ensure the desktop is focused by clicking your desktop background, and then press Alt+F4 (if you press Alt+F4 while a program is focused, that program will close.) Select Shut Down in the dialog that appears.

windows 8 alt f4 shut down   How To Shut Down Windows 8

Power Button

You can use the power button on your laptop, desktop, or tablet to shut it down. However, by default this button may do something else, such as putting your computer to sleep. To change what the physical power buttons on your computer do, use the Power Options control panel.

Open this control panel by pressing the Windows key, typing “power buttons” at the Start screen, selecting the Settings category, and clicking the Change what the power buttons do shortcut.

windows 8 open power button settings   How To Shut Down Windows 8

From this window, you can control what happens when you press the physical buttons on your computer. Some laptops may have multiple, separate buttons for shut down, sleep, or hibernate. Each button is configurable.

windows 8 power button options   How To Shut Down Windows 8

Create Shortcuts

You can create quick Shut Down shortcuts and place them on your start screen, desktop, taskbar, or anywhere else on your system, such as in a folder. These shortcuts will allow you to power off your system with a few quick clicks.

To create a new shortcut, right-click on your desktop, point to New, and select Shortcut. Copy and paste the following line into the location box to create a shortcut that shuts down your computer immediately:

shutdown.exe /s /t 0

windows 8 create shutdown shortcut   How To Shut Down Windows 8

Click Next and name the shortcut something like Shut Down. To give it an appropriate icon, right-click the shortcut, click the Change Icon button, and select an icon.

windows 8 shutdown shortcut icon   How To Shut Down Windows 8

This shortcut can be placed anywhere you like – for example, you could place it on your taskbar by dragging it to your taskbar or right-click it and select Pin to Start to place it on your Start screen.

Be careful, though – when you click this shortcut, your computer will shut down immediately with no warning.

windows 8 shutdown shortcuts   How To Shut Down Windows 8

To create a shortcut that restarts immediately instead, use this line:

shutdown.exe /r /t 0

You can run the shutdown.exe /? command in a Command Prompt window to see a full list of switches you can use to customize your Shut Down shortcut.

windows 8 command prompt shutdown options   How To Shut Down Windows 8

What do you think of Windows 8’s approach to shutting down? Is the shut down option really outdated in an age of smartphones, tablets, and computers that can suspend with very little power drain? Leave a comment and share your thoughts!

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40 Comments - Write a Comment


Richard Borkovec

Thanks for the tips! I knew the Alt+F4 to close a window, but not to shut down the OS.

Chris Hoffman

Yup, seems to work on Windows 7 to!


Tech Checkers

Am I the only one who thinks the fact that this article had to be written shows Bad #Design for #Windows 8..

Chris Hoffman

I wrote the article and I agree with you about Windows 8. They’re obviously trying to encourage people to hibernate and suspend instead of shutting down.


Sebastian Hadinata

wow.. it’s that complicated to shut down Windows 8, haha. Now shutting down needs a tutorial. But still I’ll upgrade to Windows 8 as soon as it is released :D. New stuff (OS) are always welcomed :3

Chris Hoffman

Welcome to Windows 8, my friend! It’s given us tech bloggers a lot to write about, that’s for sure.


Jon Smith

do you test windows 8 on a virtual machine or have a real computer running it?

Chris Hoffman

I’ve done both, at this point. I don’t use it on my main computer, though.



he himself shutdown with bsod or other errors :)


VS Vishnu

does that need a guide..!

Chris Hoffman

On Windows 8, it does!


Noman Fayez

I think it is too early to come…. may be windows 8 could make flop like vista…. Peoples do not like vista after using XP…. why I do not know… but I have doubt that w8 could make a flop after w7… It should be released on 2015….

Chris Hoffman

Windows 7 is the new Windows XP, I think. At least for businesses.


Ganesh Kumar

thanks for nice tips


Mihovil Pletikos

on laptops there is really no need to shut down w8 i have been using cr and now rtm and i don’t remember when was last time that i had to do it. i just close my laptop and that’s it… a few seconds later i have windows up and running…

Chris Hoffman

Yup, that’s obviously what Microsoft wants to encourage.

It does make some sense — I see some people shutting down their laptops instead of hibernating and suspending. It just wastes their time. But people are locked into that habit.


Nancy B

An O/S without a shut down button?? Is that dumb or what.
Think it’s going to go the way of Vista.

I used XP and didn’t upgrade until Windows 7….8 is sounding confusing and annoying already!

Chris Hoffman

It has lots of Shut Down buttons! There’s just no Start menu to put them in.


Dougie Vantran

Way more complicated than it needs to be…

Chris Hoffman

Agreed. It should be in the menu on the Start screen that contains the Log Off option.



Crazy an article needs 2 B written on how to shut down Windows 8…means people do not know how which leads me to believe the overall design must not be 2 super….



I have been using shutdown.exe from the command line for a while now. I generally use it when the “Shut Down” button shows that it wants to install updates, but windows update claims there aren’t any. Since I like to see what updates are getting installed I use shutdown.exe which will turn it off without installing updates, and the updates generally appear next time I turn the computer on.

I think that shutting down computers is important. Apart from the fact that Windows becomes unstable if left on for long periods – something which I’m sure will remain to some extent in Windows 8 – there’s the fact that computers draw power, and a lot of it.
My phone needs to be plugged in for about 2 hours a week, drawing minimal power. Leaving my computer on all the time would mean drawing several hundred watts. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
I know in America there seems to be a culture of leaving the computer on the whole time, but electricity is expensive over here in the UK and the traditional power reserves are running out fast.

Chris Hoffman

Interesting about Windows Update; I had no idea it worked that way.

Computers can be set up to not draw power 24/7, at least — for example, you might suspend it, and it might automatically hibernate after X minutes. It does take 0 power in hibernate, but of course Windows needs to be restarted occasionally. Still, it’s clearly what Microsoft wants us to do.


It doesn’t hide the updates all the time, just an occasional glitch.

I make good use of hibernate, but many people I know will either shut it down, or leave it until the default power settings kick in. Generally this involves putting the monitor into standby and maybe spinning down the disks but it’s still consuming more power than it would be if it was turned off. I think it would be better for Microsoft to concentrate more on reducing start and shutdown times than to make it difficult to shut down.

Chris Hoffman

They’ve also made startup and shutdown faster. Sadly, there’s a lot of good stuff buried under the stuff I don’t like in Windows 8.

They probably want new computers to auto-hibernate by default, so they’re trying to encourage that use case. People don’t generally power off an iPad when they’re done with it, and Microsoft is taking the same approach with Windows 8.


I like faster startup / shutdowns, and I like the new multi-screen features I’ve read about, but it’s not enough to convince me to like Windows 8. Hopefully they’ll carry over to Windows 9

Chris Hoffman

You and me both!



Guess I should have red this when it was posted, because I installed Server 2012 last night, and it took me 10mins to figure out how to shut it down.

Chris Hoffman

I think it’s insane the Windows Server now uses Metro (sorry — “the Windows 8 UI formerly known as Metro”)


Yep… I got annoyed with it pretty quick and then installed Ubuntu Server.

Chris Hoffman

It’s sad because they were on a decent track with the increased emphasis on command-line administration tools.


Silviu Despa

All these changes made in windows 8 …. I don’t think I will ever use it!



You can also shutdown Windows via Run command.

shutdown -s -t 0

Chris Hoffman

Yup, thanks! Most people won’t want to remember that command and type it by hand every time, though.

L Sulasno

use a shortcut ?



To resolve this problem i’ve created this small program :

pw: “power”


Robert Bobby

Shut down inW8?

Couldn’t be simpler out of the box.

Tap the Power button. System shuts down. Tap the Power button. System starts. Tap the power button. System shuts down.

You guys are making this WAY more complicated than it needs to be.

Chris Hoffman

Sure, unless that suspends or hibernates your laptop by default.


Raghav Gupta

I thought it was something obvious :)



Great tips to shut down windows 8. Its a great OS by microsoft by we also noticed that some users faces some issue when trying to shutting it down. This post will definately help those guys

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