How to Shut Down Windows 8

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!

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  1. PointingOutObvious says:

    Er… or alt + crtl + del…

    • ocmodshop says:

      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.

  2. shallalla says:

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

  3. forkicks says:

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

    • ocmodshop says:

      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.

  4. kakesu says:

    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 says:

      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 says:

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

        • ocmodshop says:

          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 says:

            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. Sachbo Apokalipto says:

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

  6. Don Haynes says:

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

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