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How to Shut Down or Reboot Your Windows 8 PC

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Yeah, you’re right, the title of this article should make you laugh, and with good reason: it should be easy to shut down your PC, right? Well, Windows 8 makes it a little more confusing. Here’s how to do it if you haven’t figured it out already.

Note: the idea of Windows 8 is that it’s a lot more like an iPad or similar gadget—you don’t need to shut it down entirely, because it will go into a low power mode when you shut the laptop lid, or hit the power button on a tablet. That’s why the shutdown feature is hidden away.

Shutting Down or Rebooting Your Windows 8 PC

There’s more than one way to get to the shutdown function—the first method, which is mostly useful for a tablet user, is to move your mouse to the upper right-hand corner to trigger the Charms menu (or you can use Win + C ) and then find the Settings button on there. If you’re on a tablet, you can access the right-hand menu by swiping the top right corner of the screen.

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The second method is to simply use Win + I (that’s a capital letter i ) and the Settings panel will slide right out with the Power button on it.

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The last method is to just create your own shutdown or reboot shortcuts and pin them to the regular Windows 7 desktop. You can also create shortcuts and pin them to the Metro desktop as well. If you really wanted to get slick, you could make your own shortcut keys to directly start the shut down process.

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 03/1/12

Comments (62)

  1. David

    Or – as the old joke goes – simply press Alt+F4.

  2. Asgaro

    Using Windows 8 makes me angry.

  3. Danny

    After about 5 hours with Windows 8 I got frustrated and rebooted to W7.

    Apart from the new taskmanager (Process explorer is still better though) and other things with a bit more information shown, W8 is a huge step in a direction no one wanted.

    I really want to send a message to everyone, not just this website.

    Vote with your wallets. If you don’t like windows 8, do not give Microsoft money for it. Money talks.

  4. mjschmidt

    yeah, I installed Win8 in a virtual machine yesterday to test, and, though I’ve already seen Metro UI in Win Phone 7, I still just don’t like it. I’m not sure I can explain why, except that from a visual stand point it doesn’t appeal to me, and from a usability standpoint I just can’t get used to it.

    Unless there is a way to make it look and work like Win7, I will have to consider other options for my next computer, like Ubuntu.

  5. Rattlehead

    I would LOVE to abandon Windows altogether for Linux, so many nice distros of Linux out there but the games are a joke for Linux and running anything windows is such a chore, if you can get it to work at all. And what is the point in running an OS that if I want to play good quality games I have to run the OS I just left in a Virtual setting? why not just stick with the tried and true you know already. I wish that game devs would consider making their stuff workable on Linux, would open a whole new world for alot of people. I’ll never waste money on anything Mac when it’s nothing more than a rip off of Linux, besides the fact that Mac’s are so ridiculously over-priced. sorry for my rant’s, I would love to hear if anyone has any good ideas on how to get most of windows games up and running on Linux, Ive tried wine, playonlinux and a few other emulators, and I refuse to do a virtual Windows on Linux! it’s just plain stupid, an Os in an OS, where’s the common sense there? I’m just resolving to the fact Linux just isn’t for me at the moment.

  6. r

    If I’m ever forced to use Win8 then I’m going to install my old Win3.1 disks and just live like a hermit.

  7. BXdoneSON

    @ Rattlehead…..Virtual is the way to go if you basically wanna play games on linux that are windows based. And i agree about the rip-off line about macs and ubuntu and ubuntu is free, a few tweaks and there’s really no difference between the 2, but i tried Windows 8 and i like, different, basically a windows phone with umph!!….

  8. BXdoneSON

    Bout to boot back into 8 now, lol….

  9. Anon

    That’s funny when you need a how-to, too restart your pc’s OS. *facepalm@MS’sFailure mobile OS*

    Windows 8 sucks.

    I could see that German kid that flips out at world of warcraft “w/e video game it was” video, flipping, snapping out on Win8 ROFLMFAO.

    Someone ought to make a comedy video operating Win8. It would make my month.

  10. Paul

    What’s with the “that’s a capital letter i” explanation? We can’t read or something?

  11. Rattlehead

    UPDATE: LOL ok, I downloaded and installed Windows 8 Beta, it’s different in some cases to me than the developers preview, at least the Metro desktop seems alot! easier to navigate. I played around with it more so than I did the dev’s preview and I can say “with head hung low” I Like it, I could see myself using this LOL But, I can definitely see where it’s going to cause much rage towards MS. I haven’t installed anything yet, but will have to try gaming on it and see. also, Ive found that (without re-reading the article, hopefully im not repeating anything already said) if you hold your mouse all the way to the right on the screen, a menu pops up with like 4 or 5 icons. if you click on the settings icon, the power off icon is right there. thumbs up to MS for fixing alot that I thought was wrong with the dev preview. ok, im done LOL

  12. Rattlehead

    P.S.S. LOL I just read the article and seen that they gave the info I stated in my last post, I feel kinda dumb now, but, like I said, with out re-reading, anyways, sorry for so many comments and such long posts. :)

  13. Mark

    When site have to start writing guides on how to shutdown your PC there is a problem.

    I am labeling Win 7 the next Vista already. Tried it and don’t care for it.

    Windows 7 will be the new WinXP.

  14. Mark

    Correction Win 8 is new Vista

  15. xdr

    Have you tried pressing the power button on your PC? I always shutdown my pc that way since vista had changed shutdown to standby (I use win 7 now)

  16. Cyril

    The thing is, you shouldn’t normally need to shutdown your PC anymore. You shouldn’t need to reboot either, unless prompted to do so by the OS.

    Shutdown being buried in Win 8 surprised me too, but I soon realised I don’t use it. People have got used to this (how many iPad owners know how to shutdown/reboot it?) and Microsoft have reflected this in the GUI.

    Just close the lid of you notebook or press the sleep button on your keyboard, it’ll be just fine.

  17. kenedy123

    Good to know about the How to Shut Down or Reboot Your Windows 8 PC

  18. Mohit

    Thats really informative. All this time i was first logging off then restarting or shutting down. Thanks for the great article.

  19. Anon

    @Cyril
    With the boom of SSD’s a lot of people need to reboot into bios or login screen for Trim/Garbage Collection to kick in and start to maintenance the SSD.

    Trim/Garbage Collection:
    In computing, a TRIM command allows an operating system to inform a solid-state drive (SSD) which blocks of data are no longer considered in use and can be wiped internally. While TRIM is frequently spelled in capital letters, it is a command name, not an acronym.[1]

    TRIM was introduced soon after SSDs started to become an affordable alternative to traditional hard disks. Because low-level operation of SSDs differs significantly from mechanical hard disks, the typical way in which operating systems handle operations like deletes and formats (not explicitly communicating the involved sectors/pages to the underlying storage medium) resulted in unanticipated progressive performance degradation of write operations on SSDs.[2] TRIM enables the SSD to handle garbage collection overhead, that would otherwise significantly slow down future write operations to the involved blocks, in advance.

  20. Cyril

    @Anon
    I could well be wrong but I thought Windows 8 had built-in TRIM optimization for SSD drives…

  21. saeb

    i have problem with stone:
    sorry, windows store isn`t available in your region!
    i live in Iran. how can i use it?
    and
    i cann`t see any video in windows 8! some of them play, but slomation or only play video sound!
    help me plz

  22. Anon

    @Cyril
    Very true, as so does Win7.

    I stated Trim/Garbage collection.

    To get full SSD maintenance = Garbage collection, login screen or sit in bios is recommended, requiring to reboot :).

  23. DaFoo

    @David

    But that only shuts down individual programs…

    @Asgaro

    Why?

  24. Ray Cooke

    This is gonna sink to the bottom of nowhere ! I tried it when I got it from microsoft a few months ago. Total rubbish and a cackhanded attempt of copying Apple stuff.
    It takes over your PC and tries it’s best to ruin everything.
    Mr Gates & Co is getting desperate methinks. Perhaps Windows 9 is being developed?

  25. randall

    why shut it off? shut the lid or press the power button! as was already said do you always shut off your ipad? but if i do seriously want to shut it off i just press ctrl+alt+delete and in the bottom right corner you can shut down or restart it.

  26. randall

    honestly what i see of windows 8 is that the back end to it is basically the windows 7 idea. so far i feel it basically has the stability of windows 7. which in comparison to vista is amazing and in comparison to xp it is basically equal but very different.

  27. Citrus Rain

    I’m still afraid to install it after what 7RC did.

    I have a reset button on my case. I hit that when I’m in ubuntu, and then wait a few seconds and hit power. Because for some reason… It will get stuck turning off if I shut down normally. I wish I could do the same for my windows 7 partition without chkdsk coming after me.

  28. Mark

    @Saeb: I believe the reason Windows store won’t sell to you is because your country is on the US export ban list for technology products. Certain types of technologies are banned from sale to countries specified under US law because of the potential for use in military applications. Computer products are one of those technologies. I hope that helps (or at least helps you understanding of why the store isn’t working out – I guess it doesn’t help you with Windows 8).

  29. Zarky

    If I wanted a Tablet I would buy one, now I have a massive “24″ Tablet and all I wanted was a PC.

    Just looking at these pics of Win 8 makes me sick and I love technology and gadgets!

    This might just become ANOTHER Windows ME failure.

    Is Microsoft trying to push their followers to become MAC fans because I night just do that in the next year or so.

  30. saeb

    @Mark
    tanks a lot. I understand the issue but with this issue how can use it? For example use vpn or Other way.
    and About video? help me!
    i`m so sorry my english is not good!!! :(

  31. Kevalin

    Hm… a desktop any six year-old would love.

    Too bad I’m not six years old.

  32. Jim

    The difference in speed between Win 7 and Win 8 is almost reason enough to upgrade, in itself.
    I wish MS would find a way to increase the boot up speed of Win 7. The main complaint about Win 8 at this time seems to be the Metro UI. I can’t believe that Microsoft will not provide a simple way to toggle it
    on or off, prior to releasing the final version. I played with the new version several hours last night, and
    to me it is just a matter of getting accustomed to It.

  33. Karina Kaminski

    @Mark
    Well I can see you’re totally in command of your thought processes. I’m hanging on your every word.

  34. moe

    @jim the peoblem with a huge OS like windiws was both software and hardware. Plus the BIOS booting time. This problem was fixed with the introduction of the 2nd gen intel technology and bigget ssd hard drives. The time difference between my old windows 7 with an i7 and a 10k rpm hdd was cut down from 2+ min to 7 seconds from a cold bios and OS boot in the new Zenbook i7 ultrathin with an ssd.. That takes care of the hardware part. Niw when I ran win8 dev and ubuntu 11 on both the old and the new one. Win8 booted faster than the ubuntu and of course faster than the base OS win 7. Microsoft has done a hugr structural job with the win8 dev and beta. It is a fast reliable system. Needa some getting used to. Yet then, what new system doesn’t need a transition time. I think that microsoft (and ubuntu for that matter) will change the market outcome and they are here to stay. As a unified ecosystem that runs on smartphones and tablets just as good as it doea on a laptop or a pc, microsoft has an upper hand for now. We’ll need to wait and see what Apple will do to face the jellybean icecream sandwich challange while fighting linux ubuntu unified ecosystem and win8. It is going to be an interesting fight. As long as we keep demanding.

  35. Anon

    @saeb
    Have you tried torrent sites? I am sure someone has uploaded to a torrent site. Give it a shot. If you know nothing of torrents just do a 5 min search on torrents. Very easy to operate. Download the .torrent “or magnet links which is stupid” file of the torrent “in your case, win8 preview”. Once the .torrent file is downloaded and once you have a torrent client like uTorrent downloaded and installed. Double click the .torrent file, it will start your win8 download.

    -Cheers

  36. onamish

    The shutdown procedure on W8 is as easy as the complaints process for Microsoft! ROFL!!!

  37. Wolf

    Start + r “shutdown /t 001″

    Enter

    and done….. ridiculous that they did away with the start button

  38. Teresa May

    I don’t like Windows 8 but I can’t figure how to go back to my Windows 7. It says I have no restore point or back up files and I don’t have a disc. Can anyone help?????

  39. saeb

    @Anon thanks. I`m installed windows 8 Consumer Preview but i can`t connect to windows store app!
    and i can play video on windows 8. I`m installed k-lite But had no effect!
    thanks again.

  40. pbug56

    The Win 7 GUI, while still having plenty of bugs, is a decent one that is easy to use. Bug fixes are needed. And more bug fixes and speedups to the underlying OS. But why in h–l would someone put a touch screen cell phone gui on a regular PC that doesn’t have a touch screen? Mind you, if they let us keep the Win 7 gui the way we are used to, we wouldn’t care. We’d go to Win 8 for taskmanager and the OS improvements (all of which could have just been a service pack for Win 7). But no, MS had to make sure that the blocked any tweaks to bring back the orb and the start menu. The silly thing, it is still there, sort of, well hidden, and not accessible as a menu. You can go through the hierarchy but it is not anywhere near as handy.

    And why anyone would feel a need to remove LOGOFF, or reboot, or shut down, and replace them with a POWER button (hey – my PC has a POWER button – a real one). Of course, MS assumes that like a pad or phone that a PC has only one user. But PC’s in my house are all shared, and each of us in the family has our own personal login. So we need to SWITCH USERS sometimes a few times per day.

    And then, for those who have not noticed, there was a time when MS made itself the main place to find nearly all sidebar gadgets. Most were not available elsewhere. And then MS decided that gadgets were no longer important, and removed most of them from their website.

    At this point, unless MS backs off and restores full Win 7 GUI capability, I’ll never update any PC to Win 8. If I have to buy a new PC, I’ll try to buy it with Win 7. I’m guessing that PC makers will see how badly Win 8 will be received and offer Win 7 far longer then MS wants them to.

    Hmm – sounds just like Windoze ME, and Windoze VISTA. Now Windoze 8. Hey – at least MS is consistent.

  41. Anon

    @saeb
    Ionno, is this accessed through Win8? or your browser?

    If the browser, try proxy socks5 or Tor. Other than that, I dunno.

  42. Loser

    Type shutdown /s /t 0
    It is universal.

  43. bernard parisius

    How to open the lock screen?
    ans: press ctrl….. enter password

  44. LMFAO

    There’s been always problem with new innovation in history of humanity
    This is no exception, hopefully everyone will be quite when Win8 is officially released

    I’m 16 and lucky, I can be dyed to any color

    SO I already love Win8

  45. Wayne

    And you think they would have learned from Vista.. I’ve sent them emails and I have as large network; never a reply; well good luck MicroHARD; I’ll short your stock just before the release. THEY just won’t listen.

  46. Billbug

    If it takes nearly a genius to shut down W8 then imagine what the rest will be like for the average user. I have already spent around 10 hrs trying to get it up and functional without success. And the overprotection that’s built in is a joke…you can’t do anything without a password. And I thought W7 was bad. I think I will reinstall XP or W98 even before I buy W8. It is not an OS but a nightmare.Not worth 2 cents.

  47. doogie

    Well I have a problem with Win8.

    When I click on “IE” on the MetroUI, then click on “IE” from the desktop, both are completely different.
    Why?

    Shouldn’t the “IE” in MetroUI open what is currently opened in my desktop’s “IE” browser?. Why are they different? I feel like there’s 2 OS’s on my computer now. Metro OS and Windows 8 OS. It feels so weird that there’s no connection between the 2.

    Am I alone in thinking this?

  48. Silly Huh

    When there are multiple users on a Win8 machine, how do you switch users?

  49. Zolta0

    How many failed attempts at an operating system does Microsoft need before they learn ?.
    I won’t be downgrading to windows 8 !.
    Windows XP is still the most widely used, shop tills, Businesses, etc.
    However I think Windows 7 (“Which I use”) is the correct step up from XP and is as stable.
    If Microshit want to go in to portable tablet type operating systems then I would suggest they build on Windows 7 and make a separate OS for Tablets,Phones,etc.
    There’s no businesses that will ever use Windows 8, “Another vista type Failure” even before full release
    It’s shit.
    It’s not just businesses, You have shops,dentists,doctors,hospitals,police,fire,ambulance,schools, etc.
    I don’t think any of them will wan”t an entertainment based operating system when there’s a serious job to do.
    Windows 8 is DEAD.
    Zolta0

  50. gifi4

    The other day, I installed Windows 8 on my pc to dual boot it with Windows 7. I found Windows 8 to have a few minor improvements over Windows 7 but besides that, there were many major features lost/changed. I think I’ll either obtain Windows 8 without paying or not get it until 2020 when Microsoft drops Windows 7 support.

  51. David Ludlow

    Having spent the weekend playing with windows 8 I am truly impressed. My initial hesitation was quickly laid to rest and once I understood the basics of the start page I was well on the way to fast and responsive computing, something I haven’t seen on a windows OS ever. I did have a few initial problems installing games but this was also quickly overcome, the hard way, and I am happy to say every game I tried installed faster than on windows 7 and run without a problem. Its just a pity that most of the start page tiles are still “demo” only, it would have been great to have a fully working system like the windows phone. All in all the first Microsoft OS that can claim to be fast, Once you realize that the start page and desktop are separate entities that can be used separately of in conjunction with one another its fairly quick to get used to the set up and touch screen operations

  52. Peyman

    @saeb
    Dear saeb, let me help you solve Windows Store problem.
    Follow the instructions, then your problem may solve(worked for me at least);

    1. Connect to a VPN or a similar tunneling system.
    2. Go to windows store; Error message is shown again (sorry, windows store is not ….)
    3. Change the country to United States (if it is IRAN), if it is United States, then change it temporally to IRAN. It is not matter which country you choose, it is important to change the country to force the App Store check the region again by tracking you IP Address.
    4. Then end the “Store” Process from task manager.
    5. Go to App Store again, it gives you this error: “App store is not available, try again”.
    6. Now disconnect the VPN and check again, if problem continues, just restart the computer.
    Then check the App Store without VPN !!!

    It was the way I performed to bypass Microsoft Region Limitation against IRAN for Windows Store 2 times, on my computer and VMware.

    Regards,
    PK DEVELOPER

  53. Peyman

    In contrast of many others on this forum, to my concept, Microsoft Windows 8 is a generation change in Windows Product, which was boring a bit, in an awesome way. Can you imagine Windows 7 on a 10inch tablet? No it is the worst thing for a tablet and I think everybody knows the reasons because they are obvious. But some key features in W8 makes it awesome on tablets, ARM Support, Fast Startup, Metro Style and good Touch Support, Brilliant SDK for Windows Developers like me and HTML5 Support. The speed of windows is awesome in compare of previous versions. In a nutshell, I want to say Windows Product, which were forgetting, is becoming famous again and I am pretty sure that the Windows will successful in near feature as my opinion was and many articles I read. maybe the visual effects is not interesting for you, but the system performance is convincing now in compare of newly advanced operating systems like iOS and Google Android. I am a C#, C, C++ and Objective-C developer on iOS, Android and Windows. I consider windows 8 as a brilliant Windows, I hate Steven Ballmer :-) but I enjoy many Microsoft Products.

  54. Torch

    If I wanted my computer screen to look like a gadget, then I would buy a gadget.
    Windows 8 doesn’t empress me. Has anyone tried classic shell on Win 8 to see if
    the cow dung goes away? I like the way how classic shell works on Vista and Win 7.
    Windows Explorer (file manager) works a lot better in XP than Win 7 Win 8 file manager is no better.
    I can do more with XP file manager through the network connected to a Win 7 computer.
    Windows Explorer should be renamed File Manager. Internet explolrer should be renamed:
    This page can’t be displayed. All I want from Microsoft is a good operating system with a good
    file manager program and have the operating system be compatible with my software programs.
    Now how difficult is that?
    Torch

  55. Grump3

    Nope!
    I’ll continue using my familiar XP for now & when it’s end of life arrives, dual-boot it for off-line games while switching to Ubuntu or Mint.

  56. Rob

    Windows 8 is fine. I remember the same whining from supposed “IT Pros” when windows XP came out. It took me all of 5 minutes to figure out windows 8. From an administration POV windows 8 is easier to manage once you know where everything is. The start menu has spoiled everyone. Metro UI is really aimed at touch screens, but you get used to it works fine with a keyboard and mouse. Having said all that I still like windows 7 better. But Windows 8 runs pretty good on lower hardware than I have windows 7 installed on. Its a step in the right direction.

    Sorry folks but Linux will never be ready for prime time.

  57. Grump3

    Rob writes:
    Sorry folks but Linux will never be ready for prime time.

    Dunno what you base that on? I find the only thing Linux lacks is the variety of games available for Windows.
    In all other aspects I prefer Linux…can be run live from CD, or a fast install with no validation hassles, & is secure & free!

  58. skgangwon

    To the people complaining or asking about how to change users, it’s easy, just click on your name in the upper right corner of the metro screen and click log off. Just as simple if not easier than any other version of Windows. I’ve only been using 8 for a few days, but I’m pretty impressed with the speed of it based on new and old software.

  59. armin

    @peyman : your method does not work for me :( help please
    i can not access windows store

  60. Anon

    @saeb
    I had just ran across this, give this a shot, it was released March 12, 2012.

    https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/irunfilter/

    Gotta have any mozilla based browser.

  61. chris

    why the crap do i have to go back to the stupid start screen to do anything. i want a way to get to everything, and even shutdown the computer from the desktop. i hate cluttering the screen or task bar with icons. the point of a desk top is so you have a nice looking place to do everything from. this was the brilliance of the start button/orb. if they could add some of this stuff to the jump list, especially programs list and a shutdown/restart option.

  62. hmetal1973

    Just go to desktop and press Alt+F4.

    Another thing W8 is great, Why people calling it the new Vista??….W8 use memory better than Vista any day …. People just talk for the hell of it whithout know what they talking about…..

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