Windows 8 Shutdown

Windows 8 Shutdown is awkward - we show some easy ways to turn off you computer quickly. The start menu and start button are gone from the Windows 8 OS, and in addition how you restart and shutdown your computer with the new operating system has changed as well. Find out how you can use the Windows 8 keyboard shortcuts, charm bar, or the click of a mouse to restart and shut down your computer.

Shut Down Windows 8 through Charms

The most basic way to shut down Windows 8 is through Charms bar. In the Metro interface, hover your mouse over the Zoom icon that appears in the lower right corner of the screen. The Charms bar should then pop up displaying several icons.

Moving your mouse up the screen will reveal the names of each icon, including Search, Share, Start, Devices, and Settings. Click the Settings icon and then the Power Icon. You should see three options: Sleep, Restart, and Shut down. Clicking Shut down will close Windows 8 and turn off your PC.

Windows 8.1 Shutdown Button

So, there you have it. In Windows 8, it requires four actions to shut down your PC: hover, click, click, and click. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. It’s always been something of a joke that shutting down your PC required a click of the Start button. Now the joke has turned downright cruel, with Microsoft seemingly going out of its way to hide one of the most basic computing options. In the Settings Menu.

Windows 8 Turn Off Keyboard Shortcuts

Microsoft has concocted a series of maneuvers and keyboard shortcuts to shut down the new OS. You can more quickly reach the settings screen by pressing the Windows key and the i key. From there, clicking the Power button will give you access to the same three options mentioned above. Though slower and clumsier than going through the Start button, the new steps at least let you fully turn Windows 8 off.

Another alternative is to sign out of your account and then shut down. You can either click your account photo or image at the top or press Ctrl/Alt/Del. Click the option to sign out. That will bring you to the opening screen for Windows 8 which you then need to pull up to access your login screen. The Shut down icon will be in the lower right corner. Click it to reveal the options for Sleep, Restart, and Shut down.

Here’s a little trick that sort of brings back that time saver. All you need to do is pull up the power tools menu with WIN + X (one of the best keyboard shortcuts in Windows 8), then U and the underlined letter for the shut down option of your choice. Alternatively, once you’re on the desktop (WIN + D), hit Alt+F4 to bring up the shut down menu, but the above option is quicker, I think.

Windows 8 Shutdown Shortcut Icon

The fastest option is to create a Shut Down shortcut and place it on your Desktop taskbar and Metro Start screen. Right click your Desktop, click New > Shortcut, and then type in:

shutdown /s /t 0

You can then right click the new shortcut and Pin to Start — and then you can drag it onto your taskbar. Clicking the shortcut will shut down your PC immediately.

Shutting down Windows 8: Update to Windows 8.1

If you update - for free - to Windows 8.1 Update, Microsoft has made it considerably easier to shut down, restart or switch users. In Windows 8.1, you can right-click on the "Start button" on the traditional desktop. This brings up a menu, which is also accessible by pressing Win+X (the Windows key on your keyboard, along with x), where you have the old Shut down or sign out menu.

If you prefer using the Start Screen, tap the Windows key and you’ll find from the latest Windows 8.1 Update which adds a power button to the top-right corner of the screen. Click this, and you’ll get the similar shut down and restart options.

Windows 8.1 Shutdown Button

Shutdown Windows 8 with PC’s Power Button

There’s another way you can shut down a Windows 8 PC or laptop, and it will take you less than 30 seconds to configure:

  1. When on the Start screen, begin typing "Control panel". Click it in the list of results which appear.
  2. In Control Panel’s search box, type "power". Under Power Options, click "Change what the power buttons do".
  3. By default, "When I press the power button:" is set to Sleep. Simply change this to Shut Down.

If you have a laptop, you can choose separate behaviour depending on whether it’s running on battery power or connected to the mains.

Windows 8 Shutdown with Power Button

Windows 8 power button options

Now, instead of using your mouse to shut down your computer, you can quickly press the power button to achieve the same thing. We’d advise against doing this if you have children likely to press the power button, as you may lose unsaved work (a valuable lesson learned through first-hand experience).

Of course, if you’re happy to leave your PC in sleep mode, you don’t need to configure anything at all. Simply get into the habit of pressing your PC’s power button instead of using any of the methods above to actually shut down your machine. If you have a laptop, you can merely close the lid to put Windows into sleep mode, but using the steps above you can change what that action does, too.