How to Shut Down Windows 8


Editor’s Note: Updated 09/08/2012 with alternate methods.

You would think that it would be completely obvious how to shut down your computer, but Microsoft’s new Metro UI (or Windows 8 UI or whatever they want to call it now) obfuscates this and many other common features.  Since the new Windows forces a “tablet” experience onto all users regardless of their platform, they must assume that most people will let their PCs enter sleep mode, as most tablets do.

Earlier beta versions of Windows 8 included the familiar Start button, so it was rather easy to figure out how to shut down your PC just by doing that.  Alas, there is no more Start button (even in Desktop mode), so most people will not be able to figure out how to shut down their shiny new Windows 8-based computers.

No more Start button, even in Desktop mode.

The shutdown procedure is a little more complicated now.

First you have to open the Charms bar (Press Window Key + C).

Open the Charms Bar

Press Win + C to open the Charms Bar

Click on “Settings”.  Then click on “Power”.

Click on Settings, then Power

Click “Shut Down”.

Finally, click on “Shut Down”.

Wasn’t that easy?

Alternate methods

The purpose of this article was to point out the usability differences with Windows 8 in regards to shutting down your PC… the method that MOST people will be looking for and won’t be able to find.

Of course there are some alternate methods.  You can tap the power button on your laptop, tablet or PC, but that may not work all the time.  For one, your laptop manufacturer could have the button configured to go to sleep mode rather than shutting down.  Additionally, there could be a hung program (one of the primary reasons people reboot) that could prevent the button action.

If you press and hold down the power button (about 3 to 5 seconds), then your PC will do a hard shutdown… as in abrubtly power off without saving any data.  This is dangerous and could leave your drive “dirty” (meaning it will want to do a disk scan on the next boot, read the fix here), or could corrupt your Windows installation (which means you’ll be reading our fix-it tutorial here.)

You can also press Ctl + Alt + Delete, which will bring up a menu with various options (Lock, Switch User, Sign Out, and Task Manager).  In the bottom right corner of the screen is a power button.  Click that and you’ll get a shutdown option.

You can also create a short batch file and place it on your desktop.  Create a text document in Notepad and type in “shutdown -f”.  Save the file to your desktop and name it “Shutdown.bat” or something similar.  Of course you could also open up a command prompt and type in this command.

Enjoy your new Windows 8 experience!

Alan is a web architect, stand-up comedian, and your friendly neighborhood Grammar Nazi. You can stalk him on the Interwebs via Google+, Facebook and follow his ass on Twitter @ocmodshop.


  1. Don Haynes

    October 10, 2012 at 3:22 pm

    My suggestion is that Microsoft has a rectal-cranial separation and just puts the damned start button and menu back where it belongs.

  2. Pingback: News and Reviews for Saturday September 8th 2012

  3. Sachbo Apokalipto

    September 7, 2012 at 8:02 pm

    A batch file with "Shutdown -f" command on the desktop will be most simple solution… unless you prefer pulling out the electricity cable.

  4. kakesu

    September 7, 2012 at 6:08 am

    I hope you do know that you can use the power button to turn off PC or put it to sleep. And that's especially nice for laptops – but also should be easy enough for most desktop users.

    • ocmodshop

      September 7, 2012 at 8:40 am

      Yes, you can shut down a laptop by holding down the power button for 3 seconds or so… but then Windows will tell you that the shutdown process didn't complete and will want to do a disk scan. If you want to risk corrupting your hard drive, then by all means power off your computer with the power button.

      • kakesu

        September 19, 2012 at 5:33 pm

        you're wrong – in windows 8 pressing (not holding) power button starts normal shut down procedure. and holding the power button starts hibernation.

        • ocmodshop

          September 20, 2012 at 7:38 am

          That may depend on the hardware. New hardware that has been made for Windows 8 may behave this way, but other laptops and computers will power off… it's built into the hardware of the power switch. You can't override hardware with software.

          • kakesu

            September 20, 2012 at 6:20 pm

            It works on very old sampron machine (that doesn't even support newer win8 builds) and on aged acer netbook. and on few other PCs I checked.

  5. forkicks

    September 7, 2012 at 5:53 am

    The fact that an article is needed explaining HOW to shutdown is in itself evidence that the process is wrong.

    • ocmodshop

      September 7, 2012 at 8:38 am

      I agree. Sit any average person in front of Windows 8 and they won't be able to figure out the simplest thing. I wrote this article because unfortunately people are going to be Googling how to shut down Windows 8.

  6. shallalla

    September 7, 2012 at 2:31 am

    How about just quickly pressing the power button on your case? has been initiating shutdown since at least win98.

  7. @amey1983

    September 7, 2012 at 2:27 am

    How about Alt + F4

    • ocmodshop

      September 7, 2012 at 8:37 am

      That will close your active application, not shut it down.

  8. PointingOutObvious

    September 6, 2012 at 9:20 pm

    Er… or alt + crtl + del…

    • ocmodshop

      September 6, 2012 at 9:42 pm

      Doing that will bring a menu to do various things. If you look in the bottom-right corner then you will see a Power icon. Click that and you'll have the ability to shut down.

  9. Pingback: How to Shut Down Windows 8

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *