Windows has been able to shut down since its inception. You’ve probably done it thousands of times. But do you know all the different methods and tricks to maximize efficiency and customize it to full potential? We’re going to show you how.
From all the different shortcuts to shut down, how to change what your power button does, and editing the shutdown sound, we’ve got a bunch of tips on how to be a shutdown master.
If you have your own advice to share, be sure to let us know in the comments section.
1. Use Shutdown Shortcuts
We all know that the Start Menu can be used to shut down the computer. But there are other quick ways to shut down your computer.
One of these is pressing Alt + F4 followed by Enter while on your desktop. You can quickly switch to your desktop at any time by pressing Windows key + D.
Another is to press Windows key + X, which opens the Quick Access Menu, followed by pressing U twice.
A third option is to press Ctrl + Alt + Del, click the power icon, then click Shut down.
2. Shut Down With Cortana
Cortana is the virtual assistant of Windows 10 and can help you find flights, read the news, send messages, and more.
When it first launched it didn’t have the ability to shut down the computer, but that changed with the Fall Creators Update.
Simply say “Hey Cortana, turn off PC” or “Hey Cortana, shut down PC”. It’ll ask for confirmation before doing it, so say “Yes”. Your computer will then shut down.
3. Remove Power Button From Lock Screen
On the login and lock screen there’s a power button that gives you the option to Sleep, Hibernate, Shut down, and Restart the system. You can hide this entire button if you choose, perhaps if you don’t want someone else to be able to perform those actions while your system is locked.
Do a system search for regedit and open the relevant result. This will open the Registry Editor. Follow these instructions carefully because a mistake in the registry could screw things up on your system.
Go to View and click Address Bar if it’s not already ticked. Then paste the following into the address bar:
On the right-hand pane, double-click shutdownwithoutlogon. Change the Value data to 0 and click OK. Done! The power button is now removed. If you ever want to change this back, switch the value to 1.
4. Change Physical Power Button Action
By default, the physical power button on your computer is set to shut down.
If you want, you can change this to something else. Besides, you have many other ways to shut down!
Press Windows key + I to open Settings and navigate to System > Power & sleep > Additional power settings > Choose what the power buttons do.
Use the When I press the power button dropdown to make your change. You can choose: Do nothing, Sleep, Shut down, and Turn off the display. Once done, click Save changes.
5. Change the Shutdown Sound
For whatever reason, Windows 10 doesn’t let you change the shutdown sound out of the box. It’s always fun to customize Windows sounds!
We can change that using a Registry Editor tweak. Follow these instructions closely because registry editing can cause system damage if you mess with the wrong thing.
Do a system search for regedit and open the relevant result. Go to View and click Address Bar if it’s not already ticked. Then paste the following into the address bar:
On the right-hand pane, double-click ExcludeFromCPL. Change the Value data from 1 (disabled) to 0 (enabled). Click OK. Close the Registry Editor.
Right-click the speaker icon in your Taskbar notification area, at the bottom right of the screen, and click Sounds. Scroll down and select Exit Windows. Use the Sounds dropdown to select a different choice or Browse… to one on your computer. When done, click OK.
6. Create a Shutdown Timer Shortcut
It’s really easy to create a desktop shortcut that will shut your computer down after a certain amount of time has passed. Right-click your desktop, select New > Shortcut. Input shutdown.exe -s -t XXX.
Replace XXX with a figure, in seconds, of how long you want the shutdown to be delayed once the shortcut is clicked. For example, to delay the shutdown by three minutes you’d input shutdown.exe -s -t 180.
To create a shortcut that will cancel this, repeat the above and input shutdown.exe -a.
If you don’t want a shortcut and just need to do this as a one-time thing, you can do the same thing in the Command Prompt. Use the same above commands without .exe and it’ll do the job.
7. Force a Quicker Shutdown
If you haven’t closed all your applications before shutting down, Windows will wait a period of time for them to automatically close. To change this behavior, there’s three different registry values:
- WaitToKillAppTimeout: Windows will wait 20 seconds for applications to save before giving the option to forcefully close them.
- HungAppTimeout: If a program doesn’t respond within five seconds, Windows considers it to be hung.
- AutoEndTasks: After those five seconds, Windows will give you the ability to force shutdown.
We can edit all of these values in the Registry Editor. Again, be careful when editing the registry and follow these instructions exactly.
Do a system search for regedit and open the relevant result. Go to View and click Address Bar, if it’s not already ticked. Then paste the following into the address bar:
Go to Edit > New > String Value and input the value name from the three above that you want to adjust. You can edit all three in turn, if you want. Once you have created the value, double-click it to edit it.
For WaitToKillAppTimeout and HungAppTimeout, enter Value data in milliseconds.
For AutoEndTasks, input 1 if you do want Windows to automatically close programs at shutdown and 0 if you don’t.
You can set any of these values back to their defaults by right-clicking on the value and clicking Delete.
Who knew there was so much variety when it came to shutting down your computer? No longer will you just click shutdown — now you can customize your system to make it work efficiently for you.
If you’re after more shutdown advice, check out our article on things that Windows can clear automatically on shutdown.
What is your favorite shutdown tip from this list? Do you have your own to share?