How-To Geek

How to Add Shutdown / Restart / Sleep to the Windows 8 Metro Start Screen


If you have installed the Developer Preview of Windows 8, you probably have discovered the rather obscure method of shutting down the system. There is an easier way of shutting down, restarting, sleeping, and hibernating your computer. You can add tiles to the Windows 8 Metro Start screen that allow you to perform these tasks with one click.

To begin, click the Desktop tile on the Start screen to access the Desktop.


Right-click on the Desktop and select New | Shortcut from the popup menu.


Enter the following command in the Type the location of the item edit box and click Next.

shutdown.exe -s -t 00


Enter a name for the shortcut in the Type a name for this shortcut edit box and click Finish.


The default icon is not very representative of what the shortcut does, so let’s change it. To do so, right-click on the shortcut and select Properties.


The Shortcut tab on the Properties dialog box displays. Click Change Icon.


Because the shutdown.exe program you specified has no icons associated with it, the following message displays. Click OK.


By default, the icons in the shell32.dll file display. You can use the Browse button to select another .exe, .dll, or .ico file, but the shell32.exe file has many icons available. We selected a power symbol icon. Click OK once you have selected your icon.


The selected icon displays on the Properties dialog box. Click OK on the dialog box to close it.


The shortcut has to be copied to another directory to be available on the Start screen, so, copy the shortcut on the desktop.


Paste the shortcut into the following directory:

C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs

You can either copy the path above and paste it into the address bar in Explorer or you can navigate to the directory. If you can see the ProgramData directory, see the note below.


NOTE: The ProgramData directory is a hidden directory. To gain access to it, click the Hidden items check box in the Show/hide group on the View tab.


Paste the shortcut into the specified directory. You will probably see the following dialog box when you try to paste the file. Click Continue to give permission to paste the file into the directory.


You should see a Shut down tile on the Start screen. One click on this tile will shut down your system.


If you don’t see the Shut down tile on the Start screen, you can search for it and pin it to the Start screen. To find the shortcut, move your mouse over the Start icon in the lower, left corner on the desktop to display the Start menu. Select Search.

NOTE: If you are using a touch screen, you can swipe from the right side of the screen to the left to access the Start menu.


NOTE: You can also access the Start menu in the same way on the Metro Start screen.


The Search panel displays on the right side of the screen. Scroll down and select Apps from the list. Enter “shut down” (or the name you gave your shortcut) in the Search Apps edit box. Press Enter or click the magnifying glass.


The Shut down shortcut displays on the left side of the screen. Right-click the shortcut. The options for the shortcut display in the lower, right corner of the desktop (instead of on a popup menu, like in Windows 7, and earlier). Click the Pin icon. You should now see the Shut down tile on the Start screen.

NOTE: Press Escape to exit the search and go back to the desktop.


To add tiles for Restart, Lock Workstation, Hibernate, and Sleep, enter the following commands create new shortcuts and enter the following commands on the first screen of the Shortcut wizard.

  • Restart Computer: shutdown.exe -r -t 00
  • Lock Workstation: rundll32.exe user32.dll,LockWorkStation
  • Hibernate Computer: rundll32.exe powrProf.dll,SetSuspendState
  • Sleep Computer: rundll32.exe powrprof.dll,SetSuspendState 0,1,0

The rundll32.exe file does have an icon available; however, you may want to change it. Use the Browse button to access a file with more icons. The shell32.dll file is located in C:\Windows\System32.

NOTE: For the Hibernate and Sleep options, make sure that the hardware in your computer support these options and that they are enabled.

Lori Kaufman is a writer who likes to write geeky how-to articles to help make people's lives easier through the use of technology. She loves watching and reading mysteries and is an avid Doctor Who fan.

  • Published 10/14/11

Comments (8)

  1. Black Knight Rebel

    Man, I better be able to have my own custom squares and not have stupid icons on solid colors. If I’m gonna have a “shutdown square” I want the whole damn thing to look like a shut down button, not just a small icon in the corner of a default-colored square.

    In fact, this whole OS looks backwards. Why are we skinning everything with solid colored squares? What is this, a webpage circa 1993?

    And can MS please, PLEASE get icon switching as easy as it is on the Mac? Here they are at the cusp of a break away from everything old, and instead of building a logical system they are still relying on these stupid .DLLs

    Microsoft needs a clean break like Apple had between OS9 and OSX and then a final severance like the PPC to Intel switch.

  2. Midnight

    I hope you guys plan on re releasing all these Win 8 tips once the O/S becomes Final, as not too many of us are playing around with the Developer’s release.

    So, next year, please post all these tricks and tips once again!


  3. rishan

    I dont know what and why will someone need these icons on the screen. Its just like making a shortcut to hearts game in windows XP. lol. You guys have a nice write up but I guess you have started using low quality free lancers to root down the credibility you have gained in the last 5 years.

    I am a regular reader and I must say the quality seems to be decreasing. I look forward to the same old quality content from the geeks here.

    Nothing personal. Peace ….

  4. Michael

    I’m running W8 Dev in an Oracle VM and nothing happens when I right click on The Desktop box except a check mark appears in the top right corner?

  5. harold

    Nice tip.It’s great to have a easier way to shutdown when your in the destop on windows8.Lookong forward to more windows8 tips.You should check out window 8 Blue Poison 2.1 for tweaks on windows 8.It even allows you to do away with the metro interface,although of your using this developer preview it seems that you would want to keep using the metro interface to try it out.Anyway good job.

  6. Peter

    You can also hibernate with “shutdown /h” and don’t need the obscure dll’s for that.

  7. Michael

    Very nice tip. I could never seem to find the shut down button.

  8. Greg

    Microsoft thinks it would be great if windows desk top look like I-pad or any of those other hand held
    computers. Win 8 doesn’t impress me. Why Microsoft think they have to reinvent the wheel is beyond
    my scope of common sense. I still like XP the best. Windows 7 File manager is lacking and Windows 8 file manager (in my opinion) is no better. If there is a way to incorporate XP File Manger into 7, I would do it. I use my XP machine to manipulate the files and folders in the Win 7 computer. I havn’t tried it on Win 8 machine yet.

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