Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.
Your Windows boot time is record-breaking, but each and every shutdown remains an ordeal? Time to crack down on optimizing this process to save time. Most of these steps are super simple and only take a few seconds, promised!
Super Quick Solutions
Windows’ most popular keyboard shortcut, CTRL+ALT+DEL, also gets this task done. Whether you’re on Windows 7 or 8, note the power button in the bottom right, and off you go.
Both in Windows 7 and 8, clicking ALT+F4 with the desktop selected will open the Shut Down dialog. If you forget to select the desktop, you’ll note that this is also an efficient way to close any program.
Customize Power Options
Your laptop can be shut down by clicking the power button or closing the lid. Just select the respective behavior from power options. You can even choose different behaviors, depending on whether your computer is on battery or plugged in. You can find these options in the control panel sidebar under Hardware and Sound and Power Options or search Windows for shutdown.
Spare A Few Seconds
Shut Down Services Faster
Windows is notorious for testing your patience; at least if you’re on default settings. Fortunately, most default settings can be customized. In this case, you could reduce the timeout to kill an unresponsive service, which is a registry hack.
To open the Registry Editor, click WINDOWS + R, then type regedit and hit Enter. In the Registry Editor, browse to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control and double-click the string WaitToKillServiceTimeout on the right-hand side. Change the value from 12000 to 2000 and click OK. Services will now be shut down after 2 seconds, rather than 12.
If Windows takes forever to shut down, you might find solutions in the respective article.
Quick Shut Down Shortcut
If you don’t want to use a keyboard shortcut, create a quick Shut Down shortcut instead. Place it on your desktop, in your Quick Launch bar, or make it a tile on your Windows 8 start screen. Now you can click it with a mouse or tab it on your touchscreen and your computer will shut down immediately.
To create the quick Shut Down shortcut, right-click the desktop, in the menu that opens go to New and Shortcut. Paste shutdown.exe /s /t 0 (see below for more details on the syntax) into the location of the item field of the shortcut window, then click Next, type a name, and click Finish.
You can also change the default icon of your shortcut (right-click and select Properties) and drag it to a location that is most useful for you.
Shutdown Timer Tools
It’s not always about shutting down Windows easier or faster, sometimes you just need to time the shutdown. This is where tools like SmartPower (our SmartPower review), Sleep Timer (our Sleep Timer review), or Shutdown Timer (our Shutdown Timer review) come into play. You can set them up to automatically power on or shut down your computer based on a schedule or other conditions.
Sleep Timer is the most basic of the bunch, while SmartPower and Shutdown Timer come with advanced features, such as shutting down when downloads finish or when memory usage or CPU temperature reach a certain threshold.
Remote Outlook Shutdown
We first reported this Outlook hack in 2009 and recently Lifehacker picked up a similar solution posted on GuidingTech. Briefly, you can use Outlook Rules and Alerts to launch a batch file when an email that matches specific criteria comes in. Your batch file will trigger the quick Shut Down using the command mentioned above and described in more detail below.
Command Line Shutdown
The command line shutdown was mentioned briefly above, but deserves its own space to elaborate on the syntax. In the line shutdown.exe /s /t 0, s stands for shutdown, and /t 0 for the time until shutdown, in this case zero seconds. These values can of course be tweaked. Replacing /s with /r will restart the computer. Adding /f will force running applications to close. With c ” message “ you can add a custom note of up to 127 characters.
Microsoft TechNet has a complete rundown of the syntax. Once you know these values by heart, you can manually shut down your computer any way you like. Click WIN+R to launch the Run dialog , type the desired command, and hit Enter.
You may have figured out how to shut down Windows 8, but did you know it’s even easier in Windows 8.1? Microsoft added a shut down option to the power user menu, which you can open with the keyboard shortcut WIN+X. With Update 1, most users will also see a Power button next to their profile photo in the top right of the Start screen.
Why Shut Windows Down In The First Place?
Patience is a limited resource and you need it for more important things than waiting on Windows. Many users claim that Windows hibernation doesn’t work well, but for me it’s been doing fine for years. There is something reassuring about returning to where you’ve left off the previous day.
Do you shut down your computer or do you let it run? Do you know of any other smart shortcuts or options I didn’t mention? Please share in the comments!