The Easier Way to Shutting Down Windows 8

When I started AnotherWindowsBlog, I never once thought I would have to write an article on how to more ‘easily’ shutdown a computer in Windows. What is there to know about it? You hit the Start button, click on Shutdown and you’re done. So easy, a computer illiterate person can do it once they learn how a mouse works. No, really. I’m just teaching my parents how to use the computer and while I have to repeat many other tasks from time to time again, they never once forgot how to shutdown the Windows 7 computer once they were done with it. Fast forward to the new Windows 8 and well, people’s going to initially think that Microsoft now wants their users to forever leave their computers on. Why? Because the darn shutdown button is missing! Well OK, not missing but hidden is more like it but I’m sure my parents will think otherwise. If veteran professionals can be stumped on how to shut down a computer initially, how will the rest of the population take it?

Shutting Down in Windows 8

OK, let’s skip right to it. To perform a shutdown of your computer in Windows 8, here are the steps you will need to peform:

  1. Move your mouse cursor to the top most right corner.
  2. Move your mouse cursor down to select and then click on Settings in the Windows 8 Charms bar.
  3. Click on Power.
  4. Finally select Shut Down option.

Windows 8 Shutdown

OK, so maybe that’s not the end of the world as we know it but many users will probably be scratching their heads. I would never have thought that shutting down my PC would entail me heading into the ‘Settings’ menu. That just doesn’t make sense. Since when is telling my PC to shutdown a setting? When I think of settings, I’m thinking of configuration settings for different items or services. Apparently with Windows 8, I got it wrong!

So now that we know how to properly shutdown our Windows 8 computer, what’s wrong with the process? Why can’t we continue performing those procedures for each and every time we need to perform a shutdown? The answer is nothing. Shutting down a computer in Windows 8 works. There isn’t like some type of bug that prevents your computer from shutting down when you activate that command. However, for many other users, this shutting down procedure can get tiresome.

Alternative Shutdown Methods

I find it funny how on some forum boards I read about users who claims that they are ‘power users’ and yet they continuously complain about how irritating shutting down their Windows 8 computer can be without offering alternative solutions to the problem. Here, I’m going to do just that in hopes that you will find an alternative shutdown method that you will like and stick to in Windows 8. Besides, I don’t have the money like other users to keep my computer turned on 24/7. Electricity charges is a killer down here!

The Power Button..No Jokes

That’s right folks. Hard to believe it but that same button you push to turn on your computer can also be used to turn off the computer! Hard to believe it right? Jokes aside, I don’t blame you if you’ve never thought about this. I seldom see users turn off their computers this way even though it’s probably one of the easiest method one can do. By default, pressing the power button will initiate a shutdown. However, you can very well change this setting to something else that suits your needs such as putting the computer to sleep or hibernation. To confirm/change the current setting, simply head into the Power Options applet in Control Panel. Once there, click on the ‘Choose what the power button does’ link located on the left hand panel. At the very top, you see the Power Button settings. If you want to change the behavior of when you press the power button, simply change it in the drop down menu to another power option. That’s all there is to it! So, if having to navigate to the Charms bar and having to click your mouse a couple of times just to shutdown your computer is too much for you, hey, just press the power button!

Power Button

Alt+F4 Says Hello…

Ahh yes…The infamous Alt+F4 keyboard combination. If you don’t know by now, this keyboard combination is used to quickly close the focused window. In many forum boards and chat rooms (when they were popular), some users would ask how to perform a certain task on their computer. Another user would then of course play the prank of telling the user to press the keyboard combination of Alt+F4. If the user didn’t know any better, than what they would have done by doing so is closing out their browser window. Nowadays, most browsers (**cough**not Chrome**cough**) would give you a warning notification that you actually have other tabs open and so are you really sure you want to close out of the entire browser? Well, this same keyboard combination, when activated on your desktop, allows a user to pick from a drop down menu what they want to do with their computer, power wise. By default, the option is to shutdown the computer. All you would have to do next is to press the OK button and you’re done! Once again, no more having to mess with the Charms bar.

Alt+F4 Combination

Airytec Switch Off

You can download Airytec Switch Off from here.

This awesome third party utility’s main purpose is to allow a user to define when their computer would automatically shutdown. For example, you can configure your computer to automatically shutdown 5 minutes from now or you configure the utility to hibernate your computer but only if the computer has been inactive for 10 minutes. There is a lot more that Switch Off can do but for the purposes of this article, we are only interested in it giving us an easier method of shutting down our Windows 8 computer. Once started, you can simply shutdown or hibernate your computer by right-clicking on the Switch Off tray icon, hover your mouse over the appropriate power option and selecting the ‘Now” option. This method does force you to do more with your mouse than with the other two methods I mentioned above but if you are also looking for an automatic way to shutdown your computer, Switch Off might be up your alley.

To have Switch Off start automatically with Windows 8, download the portable version of the utility and dump a copy of the executable in: “C:UsersusernameAppDataRoamingMicrosoftWindowsStart MenuProgramsStartup”

Switch Off

The Batch File Way

This is one of my favorite methods in Windows 7. Windows 8 and previous versions of Windows as well provides a built-in command line tool that deals with power options intelligently called “shutdown”. This command line tool allows a user to not only shutdown/hibernate their local computer but on a remote computer on the network as well. In our example here, we will only work with the local computer. Rather than having to open the command prompt and retyping the command each and every time we want to shutdown the computer, what we are going to do is create a very simple batch file that will execute those commands for us. Then whenever you want to shutdown your computer, you simply double-click on the batch file and that would be it.

First open up Notepad and then type in the exact commands as you see here (those are two number zero’s, not the letter O):

shutdown /s /f /t 00

Finally, save the file. In the save dialog box, in the Save as Type drop down menu, select All Files. Finally, give your batch file a name but the most important part is that you give it an extension of .bat. I simply named my batch file shutdown.bat. You should save this batch file in your Documents folder because we are not going to be using this file directly. We need to create a shortcut to it. Once you have it saved, right-click on the batch file and select Send-To. I’m going to put the shortcut on the Desktop so I choose that option. This will create a shortcut to the actual batch file in that location. The reason we need to do this is because we need to run the batch file as an administrator but we can only do that on the shortcut file. Right-click the shortcut and select Properties. Hit the Advanced button. Finally, check the option to ‘Run as administrator’.

Actually, you can run the original batch file as an administrator. You have to right-click on the file and select Run-As Administrator each and every time. The shortcut method are for lazy people like me who want to just be able to double-click the shortcut and have it run as an administrator by default. You would still need to authorize the batch file to run though in the resulting security prompt.

Whenever you activate the  shortcut batch file what will happen is the shutdown command would activate. The /s parameter tells it to perform a shutdown. The /f parameter forces the shutdown process to forcefully close all opened applications and processes. We want this because we do not want the shutdown process to hang due to a non-responsive process. However, you must remember to save all your work prior to activating this batch file otherwise you will lose data. Finally, the /t parameter tells shutdown to perform the shutdown procedure at a specified time. By specifying 00, we are in turn telling it to perform the shutdown process immediately without delay. The slight irritation is that when activating the batch file, you would need to hit OK in the UAC prompt because we are running as administrator.

Shutdown Batch File

In the End…

Well, there you have it. A couple of alternatives to more easily shutting down your computer in Windows 8. Again, there is no right or wrong way of performing this simple task. It’s just that I personally do not like using the Charms menu bar on my LCD monitor. Also, I just can’t get over the fact that performing a shutdown process does not equate to a ‘Setting’ as Microsoft suggests here! I know, I’m petty like that. I love Windows 8 but there just some things that drive me crazy. Some tasks can be easily worked around and some may not. Fortunately, shutting down our computer falls into the former category.

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  1. Hi to you all…

    Just read this above. Follow the steps in one of mine articles to create your own tile in Windows 8.
    I personally find it easier… 🙂

    Hope this will help you all…

    • That method you’ve showed did not actually work for me. I am using the Windows 8 Enterprise RTM build. What I actually had to do to get the shortcut to show up on the Start Screen is by placing it here:

      “%appdata%\microsoft\windows\Start Menu\Programs\”

      Adding the shortcut to the All Application Packages security group had no effect whatsoever.

  2. I guess now I should download the RTM of Win 8. Hope it fares well. I have been reluctant because I already have Win 7 and ubuntu and installing a windows after linux mess up things. I would have to fix lot of things if anything goes wrong.

    • Then you should install Windows 8 in a virtual machine! Your scenario makes for the perfect case of utilizing virtualization. If you don’t like it, simply blow up the virtual machine and forget that Windows 8 ever existed. Creating a virtual machine also keeps your current system configuration intact so you won’t have to worry about if anything will go wrong or not. If you have a decent computer with RAM to spare, there is no better way to try out Windows 8 than installing it in a virtual machine. Have fun!

  3. I have not tried Win 8 as yet but I never thought I would be reading something like ” how to shut down PC” or alternatives to do it quickly. This sounds bad.

    • It’s not too bad. I think you really should try it out though. The final bits have already been finalized and the public will get it officially on October 26. However, anyone can feel free to download and install the 90-day Enterprise Evaluation version right now to get hands on experience. I actually really like Windows 8 but of course, there are just some things that drive me nuts! This shutdown problem is not actually a problem at all. The only problem I see is when users first turn on their Windows 8 computer and not knowing how to actually turn it back off because they can’t find the button!

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